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Global Change--Physical Processes

Course URL: http://globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/
Course Type:

Earth Systems Science

Course Size:


University of Michigan Gloabl Change Course This is the first semester of an interdisciplinary three semester introductory course sequence that investigates the causes and potential impacts of global change using a combination of traditional lecture-based and modern web-based teaching methodologies. First semester deals with issues relating to the physical, chemical and biological cycles contributing to Global Change. Students apply learned knowledge by using systems modeling software to investigate the dynamics of natural systems.

Course Context:

This team taught course, offered in the Winter term of 2004 at the University of Michigan, has no prerequisites, but there are two other courses in this sequence (see below). It is a cooperative effort of several different departments (see below). The class includes 3 1-hour lecture sessions and 1 2-hour lab session per week.

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Course Goals:


Course Content:

Course lectures and labs are online, and embrace the Earth system concept in the context of global change. Content areas includes solar system formation, Earth energy balance, tectonics and geophysics of the solid Earth, ocean circulation, atmosphere and climate and climate models, the fossil record, evolution, population dynamics, the carbon cycle, ecosystem processes and human impacts as preparation for the second semester course.

Teaching Materials:

There is no textbook required for this class but this page lists web resources that will be used over the course of the term. -- http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange_links/links.html

The course web site contains:


All students are expected to participate in evaluation activities, which occur throughout the term and can be accessed from the web page. These consist of short, weekly questionnaires and 2 term assessments.

The class uses a point system for determining final grades:

  • Midterms (2): 100 points each
  • Final: 150 points
  • Lab/Discussion Sessions: 13 points each
  • Lecture Homework: 5 points each
  • Lecture Responder Activities: 5 points/lecture
  • Term Project: 175 points total
  • Term Assessments: 10 points each
  • GCweek: 2 points each

References and Notes:

The University of Michigan is a NASA/USRA ESSE school