Implementation of InTeGrate Modules into Introductory Courses in the El Paso Higher Education Community
Thursday, 18 December 2014
InTeGrate (Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future) has developed teaching modules that focus on Earth sustainability and Earth-centered societal issues. We have begun to implement modules on climate change, earth materials and freshwater into introductory geology and environmental science courses taught at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), El Paso Community College (EPCC) and local early college high schools (ECHS) for classes of 20 to 220 students. Our eventual goal is to insure students taking introductory classes at any institution will be exposed to comparable content and be similarly prepared for advanced courses. Our initial results suggest that the modules’ use of case studies and analysis of authentic data sets are very appealing to our student body (over 70% Hispanic). Since many students do not speak English at home, they were challenged by vocabulary presented in some modules. Modules containing glossaries and extensive background material (such as concept maps and annotated figures) proved very helpful to these students. The use of pre-activity quizzes insured that the students had mastered basic concepts needed for in-class activities. Modifications required to teach these modules in larger classes included condensing materials and reducing the amount of color figures to save paper and printer costs, streamlining dissemination/collection of in-class group assignments, and adapting assignments such as jigsaws and gallery walks to the confines of a large lecture hall with fixed seating. Student reflections indicated students were able to make connections to societal issues and retain these ideas through the end of the courses.