syllabus - Earth Portal Community

ENV 794: Special Topics - Climate Change Education
Spring 2011
Online Course
Instructor: Tricia Mynster
Email: through webcampus email
Office: GUA 3204
Office Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday and 3 PM. During these office hours I will be available for live chat at
WebCampus. We can also schedule chats at any time and schedule appointments in my office if that is an option for
This course explores the science of climate change. We will investigate the history of Earth’s climate, the causes of
climate change, the effects of climate change, opportunities to mitigate (or reduce) climate change, and strategies for
adapting to a changing climate. Since this course is geared towards teachers, we will also model some climate
curriculum that can be used by students in their own classrooms.
Note: this syllabus is subject to change. Any changes will be posted on WebCampus.
Prerequisites: none
Required Texts:
 Bloom: Arnold J. Bloom (2009). Climate Change. Sinauer Associates, Inc.; 1st Edition. ISBN-13: 978-0878930272
 On-line resources that will be made available through WebCampus
Learning Outcomes:
Students will
 Define climate and climate change, and explain how climate changes over time
 Describe the role of human-generated greenhouse gases in changing Earth’s climate
 Summarize the past, present, and predicted effects of climate change and ocean acidification
 Describe options for mitigating climate change
 Describe options for adapting to a changed climate
 UNLV Science General Education Objective: Use the methodologies and models of natural science to define,
solve, and evaluate problems
Generally, I try to log on to WebCampus regularly, but you should expect email response within 3 days, and assignments
graded and returned within 10 days.
Every week there will be an assignment as well a discussion posting and response to a fellow student’s posting. There
will be a prompt each week for the discussion postings. Make sure you include any questions you have. Also make sure
you read all the postings, even if you already responded to someone else. These discussions take the place of classroom
conversations. A fellow classmate may well ask a question or need clarification that you will also benefit from. Any
information given in a discussion will be assumed available to all students and will be fair game for exams. Many posting
prompts will ask you to demonstrate your knowledge by designing a way to explain it to your own students since
teaching is the best way to learn. I expect that you will spend some time researching and drafting your comment before
you post it—postings will be graded for clarity and content. I will not grade your writing per se, but your grade will
depend on the extent to which your posting is understandable. If you find that you are confused about concepts,
include that in the posting. It is not excuse for not completing the assignment, but it will indicate to me that follow up
discussions are needed to clarify certain ideas. Postings should be no less than 150 words but no more than 300. Links
to references are appropriate. Postings should be in standard written English, and should develop a single, coherent
idea. The discussions and assignments will all be due by Sunday at noon after they are assigned, so you have all week to
do them. Use the time to read, discuss with your classmates and myself if they have ideas or questions to help with your
Rubric (+/- will be used for cases in between those described below).
A: (a) Clear, interesting and appropriate idea, (b) supported with logical argument and supporting materials. No
extraneous or irrelevant materials
B: Either (a) or (b) achieved, the other attempted but not compelling.
C: Both (a) and (b) attempted, but neither compelling.
D: Either (a) or (b) not addressed or inadequate.
F: Neither (a) nor (b) addressed.
The assignments, discussion, and responses will all be ten points each for 15 weeks with a final total of 450 points.
There will be a midterm for 25 points, and a final for 25 points, which brings the total points for the class to 500.
Final grades will be based on the following scale:
93% and above
465-500 points
90% - 92%
450-464 points
87% - 89%
435-449 points
83% - 86%
415-434 points
80% - 82%
400-415 points
77% - 79%
385-399 points
73% - 76%
365-384 points
70% - 72%
350-364 points
67% - 69%
335-349 points
63% - 66%
315-334 points
60% - 62%
300-314 points
59 percent and below
299 points or less
Academic Misconduct – Academic integrity is a legitimate concern for every member of the campus community; all
share in upholding the fundamental values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility and professionalism. By
choosing to join the UNLV community, students accept the expectations of the Academic Misconduct Policy and are
encouraged when faced with choices to always take the ethical path. Students enrolling in UNLV assume the obligation to
conduct themselves in a manner compatible with UNLV’s function as an educational institution.
An example of academic misconduct is plagiarism. Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another, from the Internet or
any source, without proper citation of the sources. See the Student Academic Misconduct Policy (approved December 9,
2005) located at:
Copyright – The University requires all members of the University Community to familiarize themselves and to follow
copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair
use laws. The university will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for employee or
student violations of fair use laws. Violations of copyright laws could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and
criminal liability, as well as disciplinary action under University policies. Additional information can be found at:
Disability Resource Center (DRC) – The Disability Resource Center (DRC) determines accommodations that are
“reasonable” in promoting the equal access of a student reporting a disability to the general UNLV learning experience.
In so doing, the DRC also balances instructor and departmental interests in maintaining curricular standards so as to best
achieve a fair evaluation standard amongst students being assisted. In order for the DRC to be effective it must be
considered in the dialog between the faculty and the student who is requesting accommodations. For this reason faculty
should only provide students course adjustment after having received this “Academic Accommodation Plan.” If faculty
members have any questions regarding the DRC, they should call a DRC counselor.
UNLV complies with the provisions set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990. The DRC is located in the Student Services Complex (SSC-A), Room 143, phone (702) 8950866, fax (702) 895-0651. For additional information, please visit:
Tutoring -- The Academic Success Center (ASC) provides tutoring and academic assistance for all UNLV students
taking UNLV courses. Students are encouraged to stop by the ASC to learn more about subjects offered, tutoring times
and other academic resources. The ASC is located across from the Student Services Complex, #22 on the current UNLV
map. Students may learn more about tutoring services by calling (702) 895-3177 or visiting the tutoring web site at:
UNLV Writing Center
One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to UNLV students at the Writing Center,
located in CDC-3-301. Although walk-in consultations are sometimes available, students with appointments will receive
priority assistance.
Appointments may be made in person or by calling 895-3908. The student’s Rebel ID Card, a copy of the assignment (if
possible), and two copies of any writing to be reviewed are requested for the consultation. More information can be found
Religious Holidays Policy -- Any student missing class quizzes, examinations, or any other class or lab work because of observance
of religious holidays shall be given an opportunity during that semester to make up missed work. The make-up will apply to the
religious holiday absence only. It shall be the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor no later than the last day of late
registration of his or her intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. This
policy shall not apply in the event that administering the test or examination at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship on
the instructor or the university which could have been avoided. For additional information, please visit:
Rebelmail – By policy, faculty and staff should e-mail students’ Rebelmail accounts only. Rebelmail is UNLV’s Official e-mail
system for students. It is one of the primary ways students receive official university communication such as information about
deadlines, major campus events, and announcements. All UNLV students receive a Rebelmail account after they have been admitted
to the university. Students’ e-mail prefixes are listed on class rosters. The suffix is always
Class Schedule:
This class has assignments every week; please do not fall behind, dates cannot be extended. Each week you will need to
comment on a discussion topic and complete as assignment.
The course content is divided into two sections: the science of climate change causes and consequences; and then the
application of that knowledge in the curriculum models and in mitigation, adaptation, and policy exercises.
ENV 794 Intro to
Climate Change for
General topic covered
get technology sorted
isotopes, feedbacks,
sunspots, milankovitch
Sign in with one expectation/question and
respond to question on sci method and
corroborating independent studies.
graphs, explains and respond on objective
graphs, explains and respond on objective
Week 1 Jan 18
ch 1: intro
Week 2 Jan 24
Week 3 Jan 31
ch 2: history
ch 3: external forcing
Week 4 Feb 7
ch 3: internal forcing
volcanoes, albedo
feedback, ocean current,
what makes a ghg a ghg
graph, explain a ghg on the electromagnetic
scale/ocean current/albedo feedback
ch 4: models
divide and conquer,
variables and scenarios
which scenario is likely? Why? How would yo
explain all the equations in the divide and
conquer to students
ch 5: biological impacts
carbon assimilation,
nutrients and fertilizer
issues, food
consequences, limits to
studies, sensitivity of
explain why plants grow, but why that is not
necessarily a positive. Explain how the
sensitivity of orangism organs means that sm
changes can have large impacts…measuring
things in ppm
Week 5 Feb 14
Week 6 Feb 21
Week 7 Feb 28
Week 8 Mar 7
Week 9 Mar 14
Week 10 Mar 21
Week 11 Mar 28
Week 12 Apr 4
ch 6: climate change
and the biosphere
curriculum model
spring break
ch 7: mitigation and
ch 8: mitigation and
ch 9: mitigation and
other sectors
Week 13 Apr 11
Ch 12: human response
Week 14 Apr 18
ch 10 & 11: policy
Week 15 Apr 25
Week 16 May 2
Week 17 May 9
solutions for students
study week
temp tolerance zones of
food chains, phenology,
humidity and heat, water
part one of climate change
Model and midterm
online game - Industry
urban and energy section of colorado river
colorado river - ag and last section
alternative frames - is
climate change and
environmental problem?
Kyoto is over, need for
national and international
explain connection to
other positive outcomes
outline for final
ideas for assignments in non-science courses
student engagement
BBC online exercise
cities of the future