7.2 Climate Literacy through a Partnership with Public Libraries

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 8:45 AM
Room 353 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Steve Ackerman, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and M. Mooney, J. Morrill, Z. Handlos, and S. Morrill

A massive open online course, or MOOC, is a noncredit education activity that delivers learning content to anyone with access to the Internet. Individual courses are generally free of charge, while a certificate can have small costs. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been exploring the use of MOOCs as part of its Wisconsin Idea, summarized as “the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state.” In the 2015, a series of MOOCs focusing on the environment was offered via Coursera. One of those MOOCS was “Changing Weather and Climate of the Great Lakes Region.”

This 4-week course featured a new season each week through short lectures and activities covering Great Lakes weather, observed changes in the climate, and societal impacts of climate change. The MOOC conveyed information from NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) Weather-Ready Nation initiative as well as findings from the recent National Climate Assessment and the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI). The course was organized by members of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies; material included discussion, videos for lectures as well as guest lecturers. There were also weekly visits by the course team to 21 public libraries throughout the state of WI. The library collaboration as facilitated by WiLS (Wisconsin Library Services – wils.org), who organized the application and selection process and provided a centralized way to interact with the libraries. The public libraries hosted local residents and course instructors in discussions of course content in the context of their communities as well as strategies to mitigate the climate change impacts.

This presentation will discuss library experience and the impact of including a face-to-face component in the MOOC activity on engagement and learning.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner