Climate Change and Transition Studies

An Interactive Online Teaching Initiative
Created for IvyMind Consulting, LLC
Young Scholars' Online Learning Initiative
Timothy C. Weiskel
Research Director, Cambridge Climate Research Associates
Copyright, ©, 2019, Timothy C. Weiskel



Earth's changing climate has become the foremost challenge for the survival of the human community. If we are going to learn to survive we need first to lean what is happening to our world and then to devise collective means of adapting to our changed circumstance in order to minimize human suffering and design a sustainable future as a human community.

To begin this collective effort we will need to learn how to investigate the kinds of change that are occurring in our climate and global environment. This will require developing skills of inquiry to locate and assess information from reliable sources online and in printed sources of documentation. This scientific evidence will need to be sourced and cited correctly and presented in a "research report" on specific topics to be selected by individual student participants.

It is expected that these individual research reports will be developed over the course of the whole program and that they will be presented to the group as an up-to-date guide to answer the question: "Where can we turn to learn...about...[selected topic]" Those of sufficient quality can be submitted for publication online in the "Where Can We Turn to Learn?" series on the Transition Studies weblog. Specific resources will be provided in the course lecture/presentations and in the online support material to support student reseach on climate issues.

The initial online "lecture/presentation" will give an overview of the topic and provide an introduction to the seminar procedures and best practices for conducting online research on climate and transition studies. In subsequent sessions attention will be given to specific features of our chaning climate, and then to the implications for human activity in the decades and centuries ahead. The sequence can be summarized as follows:

Session Topic
1 "Where Can We Turn To Learn?" An introduction to online learning about climate change and transition studies [Assignment] [Session Video] [Presentation Slides]
2 Research Techniques and Best Practices for Sourcing and Citing Climate Science [Class Session Video] [Presentation Slides] [Questions]
3 Earth's Changing Climate: Causes and Global Consequences [Class Session Video] [Presentation Slides] [Questions]
4 Climate Change, Soils, Agriculture and the Global Food System [Class Session Video] [Presentation Slides] [Additional Resources] [Questions]
5 International Negotiations on a Global Problem: Progress and the Major Remaining Challenges for Global Leadership [Class Session Video] [Presentation Slides] [Questions]
6 Class Session About The Essays You Will Write for the Course: Expectations & Requirements [Class Session Video] [Presentation Slides] [Assignment] [See "Necessary Components of Your Research Paper"]
7 Student Preliminary Presentations [Class Session - Part 1] [Class Session - Part 2] [Slides] [Some Footnote and Bibliography Formats]

Outline of Steps for Conducting Ongoing
Research on Climate Change Topics:
Getting Access to the Primary
Scientific Literature [Slides] [Class Session Video]

Syllabus & Schedule of Online Meetings
and Assigned Exercises

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