Teachers enroll in a university course that contains anywhere from three to five content modules. Many modules are also suitable for use in undergraduate courses that have an Earth system science component. Course content can be delivered online, in the classroom, or by hybrid methods. Courses are offered by more than 40 ESSEA member institutions.
From 2009 through mid – 2011, IGES was tasked under NASA's Global Climate Change education (GCCE) program to develop 16 modules that addressed various aspects of climate change. The NASA GCCE ESSEA modules are designed for teachers who are taking an ESSEA course. Teachers can then use the modules with their students. The modules contain online resources, activities, references to national science education standards and quizzes. Some of the topics the GCCE modules address include urban heat islands, desertification, sun spots, and the arctic oscillation. The inquiry method can be altered for the students. The instructor can choose between inquiry strategies that include problem-based learning (PBL), group investigation, and jigsaw with inquiry strategies being tailored to the class's needs. Two of the last modules developed by IGES under this program include Carbon Monoxide: An Agent of Climate Change; and Sulfur Dioxide: Its Role in Climate Change. Carbon Monoxide is a problem-based learning module in which students are provided resources and sample investigations related to carbon monoxide. Students explore the fact that although, only a very weak greenhouse gas, carbon monoxide affects concentrations of other greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, tropospheric ozone and methane. Students are then asked to determine the impact of an increasing number of motor vehicles as their use increases in countries like China, India and Brazil. In the Sulfur Dioxide module, the role of sulfates in climate change is explored. Students are asked to explore the role of sulfates from volcanoes and whether sulfate injection into the stratosphere is a suitable geoengineering approach to mitigating climate change. In both these modules students are guided toward using NASA satellite-acquired data to compare concentrations of these substances over various times and locations. These modules were piloted with undergraduate students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide.