TEACHING ALL VOLUMES SUBMIT WORK SEARCH TIEE
VOLUME 12: Table of Contents TEACHING ISSUES AND EXPERIMENTS IN ECOLOGY
PRACTICE

The Anacostia River: A socio-environmental perspective

ABSTRACT

In two 4-6 week modules (case studies) students explore the influences of urban practices on the ecosystem health of the Chesapeake Bay. A field trip to the Anacostia River helps introduce the case study. In a jigsaw design, students first act as expert groups or stakeholders and then are assigned into different mixed groups. During each step of the process, students utilize social and natural science datasets and discuss their sources, intent, and purpose to create synthetic products aimed at achieving actionable science.

AUTHORS

Caroline M. Solomon1, 3 and Khadijat Rashid2

1Department of Science, Technology and Mathematics, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

2Department of Business, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

3Corresponding author: Caroline M. Solomon (caroline.solomon@gallaudet.edu)


CLASS TIME

The module utilizes four to six weeks (10 class sessions) of the course. Introduction to the topic leading up to the modules was six class sessions of which two were devoted to the concept of socio-environmental synthesis, two sessions served as an introduction to economic tools and concepts, and two sessions were an introduction to ecology.

OUTSIDE OF CLASS TIME

Students spent about 75 hours on classwork and related projects (including extra time spent on field trips).

STUDENT PRODUCTS

For each module students are expected to produce the following:

  1. What do you need to know (WDYNTK) list
  2. Pre-socio-ecological system map
  3. Expert or stakeholder group presentations which is scaffolded with two mini-assignments:
    1. Large datasets
    2. Normative thinking
  4. Synthesis group discussions
  5. Synthesis product (actionable science)
  6. Post-socio-ecological system map

SETTING

This module includes two field trips (one on the River and one to a sewage treatment plant), with the rest taking place in a standard classroom. Students will need access to on-line datasets during some of the class sessions, either via their own or provided computers.

COURSE CONTEXT

The modules are designed for a general studies or special topics course in socio-ecological synthesis for upper-classmen (juniors and seniors) including students with majors in both the social and natural sciences.

INSTITUTION

Private, small liberal arts university primarily offering undergraduate degrees.

TRANSFERABILITY

The modules were developed at Gallaudet University, the only bilingual liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. However, they are transferable to any setting in which class sizes are small and students have declared majors in either a science or a social science, business or humanities discipline and have already taken courses in their majors. Use of the modules in places that are distant from the Chesapeake Bay will need to substitute alternative sites for the field trips embedded in the modules, or provide virtual, on-line or text-based exposure to the sites and issues. These include sites with increasing population density in a six-state area that includes the political (Washington, DC) and economic (New York City) capitals of the United States as well as a sizeable fraction of its population.

DOWNLOADS

  • Full Article Text [doc], [pdf]

Description of other Resource Files:

  • Lecture 1 Powerpoint [pptx]
  • Lecture 2 Powerpoint [pptx]
  • Introduction to the Anacostia Powerpoint [pptx]
  • WDYNTK and Pre-System Map assignment [doc]
  • Mini-assignments for Expert Groups [doc]
  • Stakeholder Presentation Assignment [doc]
  • Synthesis product [docx]
  • Synthesis Group Presentation Assignment [doc]
  • Post-system Map Assignment [doc]
  • Pre-system Map Rubric [pdf]
  • Post-System Map Rubric [pdf]
  • Expert Group Presentation Rubric [pdf]
  • Synthesis Group Presentation Rubric [pdf]
  • Synthesis Product Rubric [pdf]
  • Rubric Descriptions [docx]
  • SES Student Survey - Pre-Survey [pdf]
  • SES Student Survey - Post-Survey [pdf]

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The modules utilized the case study jigsaw approach developed by NSF’s Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) Teaching Study team. A group of instructors from diverse institutions (HBCU, deaf and hard of hearing, commuter students, local and state college students) were interested in how a wide range of students could learn and gain proficiencies essential for doing socio-environmental synthesis. We thank all of our colleagues from the participating institutions: Coppin State University, Washington State University (Vancouver), University of Maryland College Park, Gallaudet University, Widener University and Alan Berkowitz of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. This work benefited from support from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) - NSF award DBI-1052875.

CITATION

Caroline M. Solomon and Khadijat Rashid. 3 March 2017, posting date. The Anacostia River: A socio-environmental perspective Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 12: Practice #3 [online]. http://tiee.esa.org/vol/v12/issues/urban/abstract.html



Students working on a system map related to the Anacostia River.

<top>