|<Earth Summit Framework><UCSB Oceanography Home>|
|What is it?||The Earth Summit framework is a working outline that we will use to implement relevant, data driven critical thinking activities in a large introductory oceanography class|
|Goals:||The goals are to make the science of oceanography relevant to our students, and to provide them with scientific critical thinking skills.|
|Methods:||The approach is to engage learners in realistic scientific investigations that include data selection, acquisition, and interpretation. This also includes presentations of findings to their peers and science writing. At the beginning of the course, students each join a group of 3 students who choose a country. It is then the task for each team to relate all of the course themes to their country and represent that country's perspective in an Earth Summit. Activities employ class presentations and writing assignments of varying length.|
|Course themes:||Three major themes consist of: 1) Ocean Basins and Plate Tectonics, 2) Atmosphere/Ocean/Climate, and 3)World Fisheries. A short theme on beaches is included because UCSB is on the beach and students love it.|
|The Framework:||The framework is organized by issues or questions that can be answered with the use of data, which is mostly earth data, but economic and demographic data are also included. Each issue is linked to a mini-study that serves as a tutorial in the use of the relevant data. Learners are then expected to generalize the mini-study to their own country. The importance of any given issue will vary, depending on the country.|
|Assignments:||Major assignments are two science-based position papers, done individually. Smaller assignments are 3 group presentations in preparation for the writing assignments, weekly online homeworks, quizzes, and thought problems. When the Earth Summit framework is fully implemented, a third major activity will be the negotiation of global issues (carbon emissions, natural disaster relief fund, etc) with an analysis of the global impact of the negotiations.|
|What are the challenges?||
An important challenge is to design a tool where students can see the global impact of the collective decisions of all nations in the Earth Summit. This tool, at its simplest, could simply add up the carbon budgets of all countries and make some guesses about possible global warming scenarios based on various models and predictions. A more ambitious tool would include predictions of the effects of population increase, increased economic development, increased individual wealth, natural resource depletion, quality of life, etc. This touches on important issues of sustainability over the long term.
In order to allow realistic negotiations among a large number of students, online software that allows communication between groups, online presentations, and modeling of cumulative impacts. Some of this software has been completed.
In order to support realistic negotiations, each country will have negotiating power based on economic strength, natural resources, and the quality of their scientific analyses (grades on groups' position papers). The selection of incentives, consequences, and bargaining chips will require careful design so that the framework captures the most important factors, yet simple enough to be practical and understandable by students with a reasonable amount of effort.
We hope we can interest colleagues with other areas of expertise in this project. We feel that it has possible wide application and, most importantly, could help students become better world citizens.
|We ask for your feedback:||
It would be most helpful to us if you would look at the Earth Summit Framework outline that is linked here. Holly Dodson is adding links to data sources. If you would be interested in collaborating on this project, please let me know. I (Prothero) am very enthusiastic about its potential and would love to see it used widely and in various kinds of courses.
Please send comments to W. Prothero (email@example.com) with cc to Holly Dodson (firstname.lastname@example.org). If interest is high enough, I'll set up a listserve.