From polyps to politics: using a coral reef living laboratory in a politics of sustainability course
- 123 Downloads
Teaching Global Environmental Politics faces several challenges to meet student learning objectives. For one, the interdisciplinary nature of global environmental politics requires significant knowledge of environmental issues, as well as political science, economics, business, and science. Often students feel uncomfortable with the science undergirding the environmental issues, especially since a majority of the students are not science majors. Two, students struggle with making the various connections between the environmental issues themselves, e.g., how deforestation contributes to global warming. Three, students encounter problems taking the concepts and theories learned in the readings and applying them to case studies. To address these challenges and improve student learning, a faculty-student team integrated a coral reef living laboratory into a Politics of Sustainability course which focuses on Global Environmental Politics. This article provides empirical evidence of improved student learning outcomes by using pre/post assessment tools, student surveys, and faculty journals.
KeywordsActive learning Teaching Coral reefs Sustainability
This research was partially supported by the SEPCHE/Teagle Building Faculty Capacity for 21st Century Initiative. We would like to thank Rosemont College for not only allowing us to design and implement this course, but also for their support along the way. We also would like to thank Aquarium Specialties and Research Center. Finally, we are grateful for our students who participated in this project.
- Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. 2010. “Sustainability curriculum in higher education: a call to action.” Denver, CO: Association for the Advancement of Sustainabilty in Higher Education. http://www.aashe.org/files/A_Call_to_Action_final%282%29.pdf.
- Bacon CM, Mulvaney D, Ball TB, DuPuis EM, Gliessman SR, Lipschutz RD, Shakouri A (2011) The creation of an integrated sustainability curriculum and student praxis projects. Int J Sustain High Educ 12(2):193–208. doi: 10.1108/14676371111118237
- Bligh DA (2000) What’s the use of lectures? 1st edn. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- Bonwell CC, Eison JA (1991) Active learning: creating excitement in the classroom, 1st edn. Jossey-Bass, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- “Environmental Studies Colleges”. 2015. My College Options. Accessed May 15. https://www.mycollegeoptions.org/search-results-college-search-by-major/36/0/Environmental-Studies.aspx.
- Maniates M (2003a) Encountering global environmental politics: teaching, learning, and empowering knowledge. Rowman & Littlefield, LanhamGoogle Scholar
- Maniates M (2003b) Of knowledge and power. In: Encountering global environmental politics: teaching, learning, and empowering knowledge. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Md, pp. 1–14Google Scholar
- McKeachie W, Svinicki M (2013) McKeachie’s teaching tips, 14th edn. Wadsworth Publishing, BelmontGoogle Scholar
- Miles MB, Huberman AM, Saldaña J (2013) Qualitative data analysis: a methods sourcebook, 3rd edn. SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
- Mills JE, Treagust DF (2003) Engineering education—is problem-based or project-based learning the answer? Australas J Eng Educ 3(2):2–16Google Scholar
- Nilson LB (2010) Teaching at its best: a research-based resource for college instructors, 3rd edn. Jossey-Bass, San FrancisoGoogle Scholar