SEMESTER III: The Search for Solutions: Science in the Age of Consequences
CCC1100 Mon 3:30-4:50
SGC Website: http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/
Course Syllabus Website: http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/syllabi/CPSP218G1208.html
Course Policies Website: http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/syllabi/SGC1208policies.html
Course Schedule Website: http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/syllabi/CPSP218G1208sched.html
Course Videos Website: http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/syllabi/218Gvideos.html ELMS Blackboard Website: http://elms.umd.edu/ Course ID: 201208_CPSP218G_THOLTZ
Download an pdf file of this syllabus.
Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1216
Office Hours: Mon 8:30-11 am or by appointment
Dr. John W. Merck, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1218
Office Hours: Thurs 12-2 pm (GEO 1119) or by appointment
UG Teaching Assistant:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org [Please label Subject line: "CPSP 218G"]
Office Hours: Centreville 1217, Mon 2:15-3:15 pm
It is your responsibility as a student to completely read through and understand this syllabus. If you have questions about it, please contact Dr. Holtz or Dr. Merck. You will be held responsible for following all requirements of this syllabus.
COURSE ORGANIZATION: One meeting per week, five weekend field trips (one required).
REQUIRED READINGS: This semester there are two required texts:
- Craven, Greg. 2009. What's the Worst That Could Happen? A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate. Perigree. ISBN-13 978-0-399-53501-7
- MacKay, David J.C. 2009. Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air. UIT Cambridge. ISBN-13 978-0-9544529-3-3 (Available FOR FREE online in both html and pdf formats at http://www.withouthotair.com)
Additional required videos are listed on http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/syllabi/218Gvideos.html
Copyright: © 2012 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. and John W. Merck, Jr. as to this syllabus and all lectures. Students are prohibited from copying and selling course materials, from selling lecture notes, and from being paid to take lecture notes without the express written permission of the faculty teaching this course.
COURSE OBJECTIVES AND PHILOSOPHY: In reviewing the foreign policy and national security implications of global climate change, the Center for Strategic and International Studies referred to the current century as the "Age of Consequences". Having developed a scientific understanding of the issues, what can we as individual citizens and as members of our larger societies do? All of us will live in a human-dominated future, but our decisions and actions can help direct what changes may come and how we deal with them. It is better to make those decisions and actions based on accurate science than on criteria other than those which govern global change. In this semester students will address how scientists are acting to deal with the effects of natural and human-induced changes; what some of the options for changes in our own lives and technologies might be; and how we can contribute (through new scientific discoveries and own personal actions) to our future situation. Additionally, students will learn how to critically evaluate scientific claims in the media. Furthermore, each student will develop a plan for an individual research, internship, or service-learning project involving the discovery, application, or transmission of scientific information for their fourth-semester Sophomore Practicum.
LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the end of the semester, every student should be able to:
- Assess the scientific validity of proposed methods of mediating or adapting to current and future climate change.
- Present information about scientific and related issues by means of PowerPoint platform presentations and wiki pages.
- Create a digital graphics image for conveying relevant information.
GRADES: Course grades are calculated by the summed total of the ten items listed below. The relative percentage of the total grade represented by each is given. Overall course grade scale is:
- Weekly Online Participation (10%): To promote participation and reflection of the course, its topics, the readings and videos, and so forth, we will be using the Twitter social medium in order to gather thoughts, observations, and reflections. Every week there will be at least one Twitter-based comment required to a specified hashtag. Some weeks these comments will conducted and used during class; some weeks they will be done in small groups; but the majority will be individual and outside of class time. The nature of the required tweet and its hashtag will be noted on the "Announcements" page on the ELMS site. Unless otherwise noted, they must be done prior to the next colloquium class meeting.
- Quizzes (10%): Four quizzes will be taken, of which the lowest grade will automatically
be dropped. Quizzes will cover the readings, lectures, and other presented material.
- Group Projects (10%): Two small group projects are assigned during
the semester. These are generally completed during a single classtime, in small
randomly assigned groups of 2-3 students. Only a single project is handed in for
each group; all students in a group receive the same grade. Group projects
missed due to unexcused absences cannot be made up.
- Field Trip Report (10%): Each student is responsible for attending
and reporting on one of the field trips available during this semester. This
report is in the form of an online essay. Grades for the assignment are based
25% on the Style Rubric
(http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/resources/rubric.html/#Style) and 75% on the
(http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/resources/rubric.html/#Content) specific to that
assignment. Field trip reports are due online the second Monday after the
field trip itself.
The field trip opportunities this semester are:
- Sept. 30 (Sunday) Fossil hunting at Brownie Beach (Bayfront Park), Chesapeake Beach, MD
- Oct. 13(Saturday) Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD
- Oct. 27 (Saturday) Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD
- Nov. 18 (Sunday) National Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
- Dec. 2 (Sunday) Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
- "Search for Solutions" Team Projects (30%):
During the middle of the semester, each team of 4 students will report on some method of mediating or adapting to global change issues. Each team will
report on their analysis of the pros (benefits of, science behind, etc.) and criticisms (weaknesses of, costs
of, criticisms of criticism, etc.) of their issue. This project results in two different subprojects:
- a) PowerPoint Presentations (15%): Between October 15 and November 5, the individual teams will present their report as a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation.
- b) Wiki (15%): Additionally, each team is responsible for documenting their report in the form of a wiki on the ELMS Blackboard site for the course.
- Media Report (5%): How faithfully does the news media transmit scientific information? In this
project you will choose a news report based on a particular new scientific study, find the original paper on
which that report was based, and compare and contrast what is said in the original paper against what is said
in the news report. Your report will be a web-based project due by class on October 8.
- Mini-Poster Project (10%): In the mid-semester we will have a small workshop teaching the basics of
raster and vector graphics. You will be responsible for creating a small poster concerning your SGC
experiences using these software packages; successful completion of this project is worth 5% of the total. Due October 1.
- Practicum Proposal (5%): All SGC students must participate in a practicum in order to complete
their Citation. While the work for the practicum will be done after this semester, we use this semester to
help you organize your projects. By November 5 you will have to turn in a proposal for your practicum work,
giving a preliminary view of a) where you will be doing your work; b) what that work will likely entail;
and c) what you expect to get out of this project. Failure to provide a proposal will not only mean loss of
5% of your grade, but it will also prevent you from receiving any credit from the practicum!!
- Learning Contract (5%): The second practicum-related portion of your grade this semester is the
Learning Contract. This is a formal agreement between you, your site supervisor, and our office, making clear
the tasks and hours for which you will be responsible and the credit level to which your practicum course
will be given. The Learning Contract is due on the last colloquium day of the semester (December 10). Failure
to provide a proposal will not only mean loss of 5% of your grade, but it will also prevent you from
receiving any credit from the practicum!! You can download the Learning Contract from
- SGC 3-Semester Review (5%): Also due the last day of classes, you should write up a short report detailing your experiences with the Science & Global Change Program so far. This will be mounted as a unique webpage linked to your SGC site. Specifics about the review will be given later, but your target audience will be prospective incoming students. A template is available at http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/resources/threesemester.html.
LATE ITEMS: Hardcopy items must be turned in on the class meeting they are due: make sure you bring them to class with you! If they are turned in after this time but prior to the next colloquium, there will be a grade reduction of one step (i.e., a plus to a check plus, a check plus to a checke, etc.; this is a 10 point drop). If not turned in by the next colloquium the grade will be a 0.
Online items must be uploaded/tweeted by the date listed. We will typically check to see if they have been uploaded the week after they are due: if they are not present at this time, you will have a -15 point penalty off of the Style portion and be sent a warning to get it uploaded within the week. If not present by the second week (i.e., within 1 week of the warning email), you will bet a 0 on the project.
In either case if there are important extenuating circumstances, discuss this with the faculty & TA as early as possible so that we can make allowances, if we deem it appropriate.
EXTRA CREDIT: SGC offers several different means of earning extra credit this semester. You earn 5 points maximum extra credit per item, up to a total of two items (i.e., 10 points total). In general, the extra credit is gained by writing a reaction paper mounted as a separate page on your website. Topics could include:
- A second field trip report (rather than a reaction paper, use the formal assignment for that field trip) beyond the one required.
- A reaction paper to a non-classroom academic presentation on campus, such as a departmental seminar, related to the program topics
- A reaction paper to one of the supplementary readings (see http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/resources/readings.html) or videos (see http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/resources/climatevideos.html), or a comparable work.
- A reaction paper to an academic presentation off campus related to the program topics
- A reaction paper to some other academic event: check with the SGC faculty to make sure it qualifies.
Reports for field trips should follow the format assigned for that trip, including the specific questions required. Reaction papers are reports that would address both a summary of the material encountered as well as your thoughts and comments on this material and how it relates to related matter you may have encountered (in colloquium, other classes, etc.) Reaction papers require you to show insight into the matters concerned, not a simple retelling of what was there nor your "feelings" about it. See the Reaction Paper template at http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc/resources/reactionpaper.html.
Full extra credit will only be earned if all format issues are properly completed (sufficient length, proper html coding, no spelling or factual errors, etc.). Problems with these issues will result in a decrease in the extra credit grade received, as per field trip and other web-based reports. All Academic extra credit assignments must be online by the end of classes (i.e., before finals).