GEO 3002 -- Changes

Mon Apr 20 12:27:15 2009

Effective Term: New:  1113 - Spring 2011
Old:  1089 - Fall 2008
Grading Basis: New:   A-F only
Old:   Stdnt Opt
Component 1: New:  LEC (no final exam)
Old:  DIS (no final exam)
Component 2: New:  
Old:  LEC (with final exam)
Auto-Enroll
Course:
New:  No
Old:  Yes
Graded
Component:
New:  LEC
Old:  DIS
Proposal Changes: New:  CLE recertification
Old:  <no text provided>
Faculty
Sponsor E-mail Address:
New:  eito@umn.edu
Old:  
Student Learning Outcomes: * Student in the course:

- Can identify, define, and solve problems

New:

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

• Identify the types of information that must be gathered to team-produce a poster and write a term paper (on a specific topic of their own choosing) and develop effective strategies to obtain the information. • Identify for each “case study” of a past society what may have been the most important steps a society took to deal with environmental problems.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Assessment will be based on the poster and the term paper: • Appropriateness of the references the students were able to find and used. • How the reference materials from diverse sources (climate change, environmental change, archaeological studies and/or historical documents) have been integrated to arrive at a coherent story

Old: unselected


- Can locate and critically evaluate information

New:

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

• Locate and evaluate relevant scholarly sources on a research topic using library resources for the team poster project (and the accompanying individual term paper)

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Assessment will be based on the poster and the term paper: • Appropriateness of the references the students were able to find and used. • There are many web sources put up by amateur archaeologists as well by academic researchers. How the students choose from these easily available sources and whether they follow through with academic publications that have been vetted by a review process. (Class will have been told about various degrees of reliability of different sources so the students will not go into this blind)

Old: unselected


- Have mastered a body of knowledge and a mode of inquiry

New:

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

• Know the basic terms, concepts, principles, and methods concerning paleoclimate research and climate change mechanisms. • Build a framework of knowledge concerning the interactions among humans, climate and environment.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Assessment will be based on the performance of the midterm examination which through multiple choice and short essay questions. The first half of the semester (see the syllabus) focus on the mechanisms of climate change (what we know and don’t know) as well as various indirect methods for reconstructing paleoclimate and what uncertainties are associated with each indirect method.

Old: unselected


- Understand diverse philosophies and cultures within and across societies

New:

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

• Engage in critical considerations of differing views of different past societies about the Earth and the natural phenomena and how they might have affected their views regarding people and the environment

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Assessment will be based on the poster and the term paper. The differences in the belief systems of Old Kingdom of Egypt, the Maya, etc., and the possible relation of the belief system to how each group reacted to climate change (and accompanying environmental change), will have been discussed in class. Some discussion of such relationship for the “case study” will be expected (and will be articulated to the class).

Old: unselected


- Can communicate effectively

New:

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

• Improve presentation skills (visual and oral) through tem poster project. • Write a term paper based on the poster project topic that discusses the relative roles played by climate, environment, and humans in the abandonment of certain city-states or collapse of a civilization.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Assessment will be based on the poster and the term paper. • Posters are evaluated by the instructor and the classmates for the effectiveness of presentation – easy to follow, attractive and informative visuals, text and the layout. • Term paper is evaluated by the instructor for structure, content, and style.

Old: unselected


- Have acquired skills for effective citizenship and life-long learning

New:

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

• Based upon the understanding of how different societies of the past conducted themselves and how these various societies coped (or did not cope) with climate and environmental change, be able to reflect upon the possible consequences of today’s public attitudes (about the environment and climate) and policies on future society.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Assessment of this is not so easy in the framework of one semester. The last lecture meeting of the class will be devoted to the class discussion of what we learned from the examples or “case studies” that were covered in class. The past classes all identified the connection between more complex polities facing bigger problems and that they seem unable to respond quickly and appropriately. The problems associated with high population density are well illustrated in the examples we cover. The discussion touches upon the merits and demerits of democracy, theocracy, feudal and tribal systems. There is not a test or other written product that will be graded to assess this.

Old: unselected


Requirement
this course fulfills:
New:  ENV - ENV The Environment
Old:  ENVT - ENVT Environment Theme
Criteria for
Core Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed core requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.

Core courses must meet the following requirements:

  • They explicitly help students understand what liberal education is, how the content and the substance of this course enhance a liberal education, and what this means for them as students and as citizens
  • They employ teaching and learning strategies that engage students with doing the work of the field, not just reading about it.
  • They include small group experiences (such as discussion sections or labs) and use writing as appropriate to the discipline to help students learn and reflect on their learning.
  • They do not (except in rare and clearly justified cases) have prerequisites beyond the University´┐Żs entrance requirements.
  • They are offered on a regular schedule.
  • They are taught by regular faculty or under exceptional circumstances by instructors on continuing appointments. Departments proposing instructors other than regular faculty must provide documentation of how such instructors will be trained and supervised to ensure consistency and continuity in courses.

New:
<no text provided>
Old:
Specific Objectives:  
Environment theme.  GEO 2002 deals with the subject of physical and biological environment and how it affects humans, especially when the physical environment changes at a rate much faster than the biological environment can adapt.  The physical environment surrounding us includes the climate, landforms, soil development, and availability of water.  Climate plays a key role in modifying the landforms and rates of soil development.  Past climate changes can be reconstructed because climate-changes leave either direct (polar ice cores, glacial deposits) or indirect (erosion, weathering, lake- and sea-levels, and eolian activity) records that can be read in ice and sediments.

Humans intentionally and unintentionally modify the natural environment.  The response of societies to climatic changes and accompanying environmental stresses may differ from one culture to another.  The difficult and often problematic task of distinguishing natural (e.g., climatic) and anthropogenic (e.g., soil erosion due to cultivation) impacts on environmental changes will be explored using specific climate change events throughout the course.  

International Perspectives theme.  
From earliest human history, natural climate changes have played a significant role in the economic and cultural development of societies.  Climate can dictate the ability to grow food as well as aspects of the economy, social structure, the landscape, and the development of tools and technology.  Changes in the climate of a region bring changes in the cultural and economic conditions of that region.  Because of the interdependencies between communities, changes in conditions in one region affect the conditions of neighboring regions.  These interdependencies will be examined throughout the course as the ramifications of climate change for communities at a regional to international scale are emphasized.  The migration of humans and animals (weeks 3, 12, 13 ), the development and diffusion of agricultural technology (weeks 4, 10, 11), the increase or decrease in trade and cultural exchange due to changes in ease of travel (week 3, 4, 8), and the rise and fall of city-states and kingdoms (weeks 5-9) are among the ramifications of past climate change that will be discussed.  Through lecture and class discussion, students will be continuously reminded of the complex environmental, cultural, and political interdependencies in today's world and the world of the past.
Criteria for
Theme Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed theme requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or methods.

Theme courses have the common goal of cultivating in students a number of habits of mind:
  • thinking ethically about important challenges facing our society and world;
  • reflecting on the shared sense of responsibility required to build and maintain community;
  • connecting knowledge and practice;
  • fostering a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents.


New:  1.        The course raises environmental issues of major significance.
Topics discussed in class includes climate change, drought and flood, erosion, and land cover change
2.        The course gives explicit attention to interrelationships between the natural environment and human society.
The diagram from Brenner et al (2002) describes the topics in the second half of the course.  Various past civilizations or notable events such as the origin of agriculture are examined in the context of climate and environmental change that were occurring at the same time, and how humans responded to the change or even contributed to the change.
For example, the severity of the effect of a drought depends much on the agricultural practice of the time and place.  
Some cultures practiced tree planting as a way to control floods while others built levies but did not associate that land cover composition had anything to do with flooding.
Various feedbacks among climate, environment and human actions are considered through examination of specific “case studies”.
3.        The course introduces the underlying scientific principles behind the environmental issues being examined
First half of the course is split between (1) learning about the patterns and causes of climate change, relevant to this question, and (2) a survey proxy records of past climate and environmental changes and the limitations of these proxy records, which is a topic relevant to the next question.  In (1) we look at what we know about the patterns of past climate changes and what were their causes.  Very long term pattern of climate change (the entire Cenozoic or the last 65 million years) to decadal or semi-periodic very short term climate changes (drought cycles in the Great Plains, El-Nino) are introduced and what we know or don’t know about the causes of these observed climate changes are explained.  
4.        Students explore the limitations of technologies and the constraints of science on the public policy issues being considered.
Current public policy debates are not a large part of the syllabus because the focus is on the past.  However, the topics covered during the weeks 12, 13 and 14 with a focus on the last 800 years (Norse Colony in Greenland, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, The Dust Bowl period, and the ongoing drought in the Sahels) have relevance to today’s policy debates.  The students will, through their readings, lecture material, and scheduled class debates, what we know or can know very well and the limitations in our current understanding of the how the Earth system functions.  
5.        Students learn how to identify and evaluate credible information concerning the environment.
The reading material for climate and environmental reconstruction (second half of the course) are all from peer-reviewed scientific journals.  Conclusions reached in different papers (for the same time period) will not necessarily agree with each other.  In the first half of the course, we discuss the problem of equifinality.  Because what we can observe today is an incomplete record of what happened in the past, it is not always possible to choose one process as the most likely from among all possible processes that are consistent with the records we have on hand.  The concept of equifinality will be brought back over and over again as we read these papers.  
The students find their own resources from published material for the team poster project.  As the team (usually 3 students per team) discusses what they are finding from their research, they evaluate the reliability and consistency of information.  The posters and accompanying oral presentations are evaluated by their peers and by the instructor.  
6.        Students demonstrate an understanding that solutions to environmental problems will only be sustained if they are consistent with the ethics and values of society.
This statement does not relate directly to this course.  Climate Change and Human History, as the name implies, examines through case studies how humans altered the environment and how they responded to climate-induced and human-induced environmental problems.  The outcomes of these interactions will allow each student to form his or her own conclusions about appropriate policies to address environmental problems facing us today.

Note:  The specific “cases” used in the course will change from time to time as new papers are published and make it possible to include certain events in the syllabus.  For example, until about 2005 there had been too much disagreement about the timing and the location of the domestication of rice (Oryza sativa) and corn (Zea mays) to include them as topics of class discussion.  The research on the climatic or environmental aspect of the disintegration of the Mongol Empire or of various Chinese dynasties seem to be just starting, making them inappropriate case studies to use in class.  However, they make good topics for poster projects.


Old:  <no text provided>
Provisional
Syllabus:
Please provide a provisional syllabus for new courses and courses in which changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed that include the following information: course goals and description; format/structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (texts, authors, frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any student projects; and how students will be evaluated.

The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" at http://www.fpd.finop.umn.edu/groups/senate/documents/policy/semestercon.html . Provisional course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification, This provisional course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.

New:     Geo 3002/5102 Climate Change and Human History

Spring 2011
Course Description
The first half of the course is split between (1) learning about the patterns and causes of climate change, and (2) a survey proxy records of past climate and environmental changes and the limitations of these proxy records.  In (1) we look at what we know about the patterns of past climate changes and what were their causes.  In order top better appreciate how different processes can alter climate, we will also devote some time to learn how the modern climate system operates.  Very long term pattern of climate change (the entire Cenozoic or the last 65 million years) to decadal or semi-periodic very short term climate changes (drought cycles in the Great Plains, El-Nino) are introduced and what we know or don’t know about the causes of these observed climate changes are explained.

The second half of the course examines the interrelationship between the natural environment and human society.  Various past civilizations or notable events such as the origin of agriculture are examined in the context of climate and environmental change that were occurring at the same time, and how humans responded to the change or even contributed to the change.  The emphases of the first and second halves of the course together fulfill the CLE Environment Theme.

This course will measure Student Learning Outcomes primarily using the team poster project and individual term paper.  The term paper topic and the tem poster project topic will be the same and will be chosen by discussion amongst the team members.  The poster project will culminate in a group presentation (oral and visual) of your findings.  Team members will collaboratively decide what types of information to seek, coordinate the library search, share the notes, critically evaluate the information and organize the information into a coherent and visually attractive poster and give a 10-minutes presentation describing key findings.  Individuals will take the same set of information and write a term paper organized like published scientific (Earth Science) papers.  Likely Student Learning Outcomes are: (1) Can identify, define, and solve problems, (2) Can locate and critically evaluate information, (3) Have mastered a body of knowledge and mode of inquiry, (5) Can communicate effectively, and (7) Have acquired skills for effective citizenship and life-long learning.

Class Schedule:  Lectures:  MWF  10:10-11:00, 110 Pillsbury Hall

Instructor:
Emi Ito
208B Pillsbury Hall
612 624 7881
eito@umn.edu

Office Hours:  
No fixed time. Walk-ins OK but may be asked to come back at a different time.  Best to email or call first.

Required textbook:
Bell, M. and Walker, M.J.C. (2005) Late Quaternary Environmental Change:  Physical and Human Perspectives.  2nd Edition.  Pearson Education, Ltd.

Class Webpage on WebVista

Grading:
25%  Mid-term examination        Friday, March 13; short essays will dominate, some sketches and definitions
25%  Written reports/papers        For 3002 students, just the term paper. For 5102 students, there will be one additional assignment.
25%  Quizzes                Unannounced.  6 quizzes. One quiz with the lowest score will be dropped.
25%  Poster presentation                                       

Term Paper and poster presentation:  Each student will write an individual term paper based on the team topic chosen for the poster presentation.  The team should select its topic by Monday, March 7.   After each topic is approved, the team will divide the responsibility for research by subtopics.  Each student will turn in a detailed outline (2 pages) and the list of source material for the term paper on Friday, April 4.  The poster presentations will be judged by classmates and the instructor.  The term paper is due at the last class meeting (Friday, May 6)

The poster presentation is a team effort.  Poster should include the list of who did what.  The term paper is an individual effort, but includes information gathered by team-mates.  Paper should include the names of team-mates and what role they played in research.  The paper should consist of: a cover page; abstract; double-spaced main text (8 - 10 pages in length or 2000 – 2500 words total) including introduction, evidence, and conclusion; reference list; and tables and figures as necessary.  Reference list, tables and figures are outside the page limit.  A more detailed instruction on the format will be given separately.

Content-wise, the term paper must include a research-based narrative of the possible roles played by climate, environment and humans in bringing about a certain event (e.g. abandonment or the collapse of a city-state, domestication of animal or plant), and a discussion of whose role may have been the dominant one and why.  The poster must present in a limited space, the key pieces of information in easy to follow visually attractive format (short introduction, key data, very short discussion, and conclusion.)

Geo 3002/5102 Class Topic Schedule

Wk        Date        Topic        Readings (from the textbook unless otherwise specified)
1        1/19        Course logistics; weather and climate; questionnaire       
        1/21        Environmental change and human activity        Chap. 1
2        1/24        Uncertainties in science; proof and falsification; coincidence and causality        pp17-22; Pollack Ch. 9
        1/26        Fossil evidence        pp 22-31
        1/28        Fossil evidence        pp 22-31
3        1/31        Sedimentary evidence        pp 31-42
        2/02        Isotopic evidence        pp 42-46
        2/04        Isotopic evidence        pp 42-46
4        2/07        Historical evidence and instrumental records        pp 46-49
        2/09        Assessment of proxy data sources        pp 49-52
        2/11        Fieldtrip to the LRC Core lLab        pp 52-57
5        2/14        Dating of proxy records - radiometric dating        pp 57-60
        2/16        Dating of proxy records - incremental dating        pp 60-62
        2/18        Dating of proxy records - age equivalence       
6        2/21        Primer on Climate System       
        2/23        Natural environmental change        pp 64-75
        2/25        Natural environmental change
Assignment of project teams        pp 64-75
7        2/28        Causes of long-term climatic change - astronomical theory        pp 75-82
        3/02        Causes of long-term climatic change - effect of global tectonics        pp 82-84
        3/04        Patterns of short-term climatic change        pp 85-95
8        3/07        Causes of short-term climatic change
Poster project topic due        pp 95-107
        3/09        Pre-Midterm review - come with at least 2 questions       
        3/11        Mid-term Examination       
        3/14-3/18        Spring break       

Wk
Date        Topic        Readings (from the textbook unless otherwise specified)
9        3/21        How to write a scientific term paper       
        3/23        Out of Africa        pp 144-147; suggested readings on WebVista
        3/25        Paleolithic and Late glacial        pp 147-150
10        3/28        Origin of agriculture        pp 150-159; pp 194-212; Zeder (2006); Bar-Yosef (1998); Driscoll et al (2007); Kareiva et al (2007); Evershed et alo (2008); Dillehey et al (2007); Dubcovsky et al (2007)
        3/30        Origin of agriculture       
        4/01        Origin of agriculture
Poster project bibliography due       
11        4/04        Ancient Egypt: Predynastic Period to Old Kingdom to Early Middle Kingdom        Kropelin et al (2008); Eggermont et al (2008); Sereno et al (2008); Wilford (2008)
        4/07        Ancient Egypt: Predynastic Period to Old Kingdom to Early Middle Kingdom       
        4/08        Indus Valley        Wright et al (2007); Enzel et al (1999)
12        4/11        The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age -
   Norse Colony in Greenland        DVD
        4/13        The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age -
   Norse Colony in Greenland        pp 174-181; Sveinbj÷rnsdˇttir et al (2004)
        4/15        The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age - Maya        Rosenmeier (2002 a, b); Hodell et al (2004); Hodell et al (2005); Vail (2006)
13        4/18        The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age - Maya       
        4/20        The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age -
   Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde        pp 230-232; Benson et al (2006a); Benson et al (2006b; 2007)
        4/22        The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age -
   Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde       
14        4/25        Recent droughts - The Dust Bowl        pp 239-240
        4/27        Recent droughts - The Sahels        Dai et al (2004); Foley et al (2003); Taylor et al (2002); Baro & Duebel (2006); Hui et al (2008)
        4/29        Course summary - what have we learned?        Johnson (2007)
15        5/02        Organize poster sessions;
Poster abstract and 3 questions due       
        5/04        Poster presentations       
        5/06        Poster presentations       


Old:  <no text provided>