Climate Change Science, Communication, and Action


Climate Change Science, Communication, and Action

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Description:  Interested in working toward climate solutions? Want to learn more about how to talk to people about climate change? This course covers the basics of climate change, from science to action, and will assist you in developing a consistent climate message.

In this 4-week online course, you will start by getting to know each other and the basics of climate science and climate change impacts on our food and water supply, and human health (week 1). You will then learn about climate change communication and environmental psychology research and consider how this can inform your educational and environmental practices (week 2). Finally, you will hear about climate change adaptation and mitigation community solutions as well as examples of climate change communication in action (week 3-4). Each week will feature a discussion question and short quizzes. For your final assignment, you will complete a project plan that details how you will apply course material to your practices. Alternately, you can apply course material during the course and submit a report about your experience. You will have two extra weeks after the course ends to submit your final assignment.

Participants: Cooperative Extension Educators, Master Volunteers, state and local government, land-trusts and other non-profits, and others interested in an introduction to climate change science and in how to communicate effectively about this important topic. Available to students in any country. Lectures and readings are in English.

Cost: $20 fee. Options available to pay a higher fee to sponsor another student. If you have limited ability to pay or live in a country without a credit card system, you may apply for a scholarship.

Certificates: Participants who complete the course are awarded a Cornell University certificate. Students who complete weekly assignments along with a course project will earn a Certificate of Professional Development. Weekly assignments include watching lectures, readings, discussion questions, and short quizzes. The course project is creating a climate change action plan.

Educational approach: The course is based in three principles: (1) Learning is social: we learn effectively within a social context, thus networking and exchange of ideas among participants is crucial; (2) Learning can lead to innovation: course participants can work together building on the course materials to develop new ideas for environmental education; and (3) Learning can foster practice change: we will discuss how course ideas and new ideas emerging in this course can transfer to collective and individual climate change action. The course uses the edX edge learning management system and optional closed groups on Facebook to facilitate idea and resource exchange.

Learning Outcomes:

Through this course, you will:

  • Increase your understanding of the basics of climate change science and communication and action strategies.
  • Make new connections and share resources as part of an online network of Extension educators, master volunteers, university students and employees, and other professionals, volunteers, and interested individuals.
  • Enhance climate-related education and actions with youth, students, private land-owners, gardeners, master volunteers, municipal officials, colleagues, and others.

Format. You will learn about basic climate change science, impacts, communication strategies, and actions. You will participate in weekly online discussions and complete short quizzes and compete a final project in which you apply what you have learned to your work (e.g., develop a short plan for an educational program). Plan on an average of 3-4 hours a week of work during the course. We encourage you to form a team of colleagues or friends to take the course together. Lectures are pre-recorded and subtitles are in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Benefits to the Learner. You will learn about climate change science, communication, and action from experts and apply this knowledge to local climate action projects. You will also have the opportunity to share your ideas and projects with other participants and learn from each other. You can use the materials for proposal writing, program development, and to enhance your career.

Course Participation. One of the most important benefits of online learning is the opportunity to meet and support colleagues. Please share your thoughts about course materials, your practices, your successes, and challenges you have faced when dealing with climate change issues. Visit the edX Edge discussion boards (required) and course Facebook group (optional) often and comment on your fellow participants’ posts.