The Earth system science education alliance and global climate change education

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Michael R. Witiw, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide, Everett, WA; and R. J. Myers and J. Botti

Handout (31.0 kB)

Since 1998, the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) has offered courses for teachers. ESSEA is administered by the Institute for Global Environmental strategies through a grant from the National Science Foundation and is also supported by NASA. ESSEA courses are problem-based, modular, and incorporate group learning. Each module is designed to take three weeks in a normal university semester. A course may consist of as many as five modules, with academic credit awarded accordingly. Normally a course will begin with an introductory module that introduces the concepts of Earth system science analysis and problem-based learning (PBL). Several content-based modules will follow. Over 50 modules are currently available. This is an increase of over 30 modules in the past year. Courses can be built around a class's particular needs. Brazilian deforestation, coral reefs, and global climate change are among some of the modules available. New modules under development emphasize climate change with topics that include, among others, the role of methane, the Little Ice Age, abrupt climate change, and the Arctic Oscillation. In the course of completing a module, teachers examine their prior knowledge of the subject, research the subject and finally complete a lesson plan. Currently, over 40 universities and educational institutions offer ESSEA courses.