Global Climate Change, International Food Security, and Local Sustainability: Collaborative Course Development and Sharing Among Institutions Serving Diverse and Underserved Learners

Rebecca Boger

City University of New York (CUNY) - Brooklyn College Research Foundation

This project leverages GCCE-funded climate change educational learning resources, the infrastructure and capabilities of University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in virtual coursework and on-line learning, and supplies global climate change education and locally-based research experiences to the highly diverse undergraduate students of Brooklyn College and Lehman College and to middle and high school teachers who teach underserved students in New York City (NYC). Through the Brooklyn College, Lehman College, and UNL partnership, UNL materials will be adapted and augmented by including authentic research experiences for undergraduates and teachers using NASA satellite data, geographic information system (GIS) tools, and/or locally collected microclimate data from urban gardens. Learners will download remotely sensed NASA data, apply an Earth system approach, and employ GIS in the analysis of changing food production landscapes in a dynamically changing climate system. The resulting course, Global Climate Change, Food Security, and Local Sustainability will be offered via Blackboard courseware, supported by Web 2.0 technologies designed specifically to support dialogue, data, and web publication sharing between partners, teachers and middle school, high school and undergraduate student researchers.

NYC is in the center of the urban farming movement. By exploring water and food topics of direct relevance to students' lives and community, students will be motivated and more empowered to make connections between climate change and potential impacts on the health and happiness of people in their community, in the United States and around the world. Proposed outcomes include: 1. Engagement of 30 NYC teachers, many of which are involved in the Brooklyn Urban Garden school programs, in an on-line climate change professional development experience; as well as scientist support for teachers engaging their students in classroom explorations of microclimate, climate change and urban community gardens; 2. Pilot offering of a laboratory undergraduate level course in climate change through the department of Earth and Environmental Science at Brooklyn College to 30 undergraduate students at Brooklyn and Lehman Colleges during the grant period; 3. Establishment of a new course involving Climate Change, Food Security and Sustainability as an on-line and conventional face to face Earth system science lab course for undergraduates fulfilling general education requirements of Brooklyn College and other City University of New York (CUNY) undergraduate institutions; 4. In conjunction with Brooklyn College, collaboratively offer course products to students and 30 rural teacher participants served by UNL; 5. Leverage strong local interest and K-12 school programs working with urban gardens by creating cognitive crosswalks for learners by building bridges between urban gardening activities and climate change science.

This project greatly supports NASA objectives to increase the number of underrepresented students prepared to teach climate change content within STEM subjects and to increase the number of underrepresented/underserved undergraduate students prepared for employment and/or to enter graduate school in technical fields relevant to climate change. Climate literacy of student and teacher participation in these courses will increase dramatically as will the K-12 students the teachers' reach. After the completion of this project, the three partner institutions will sustain a strong collaboration through the on-line courses offered through UNL and Brooklyn College and made available throughout the CUNY system.

Funding agency NASA

Award Numbers NNX11AN87A

Selection Year:

Award Period:
9/1/2011 - 3/1/2015