Online course to teach science of Climate Change

Network News Spring 2009, Vol. 22 No. 1

The LTER Education Committee is pleased to announce a completely online graduate-level course this summer on the science of climate change. Partial scholarships are available. Please share this announcement broadly.

Earth Sciences 580Y is a three quarter credit (not semester) grad level course that will run from June 15 to July 24, 2009. The course is offered under a contract between The Ohio State University (OSU)'s School of Earth Sciences, in the College of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, and the OSU Office of Continuing Education. As a result, the fees are the same for everyone, including non-residents.

DVD entitled "Understanding Global Climate Change", produced by teachers in collaboration with the National Science Foundation's Science & Technology Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), will serve as the primary basis for content. The disc will be mailed to participants who are selected to take this course. Additional online readings will be selected based on news releases and other timely events. This course is an online grad-level course only, requiring full participation in the chat sessions and completing a lesson or communication strategy about the content. Note also that no face-to-face session will be required, reducing our carbon footprint for this course.

Also, this summer only, 10 applicants will receive a partial scholarship to participate in the course. The scholarship recipients will pay only the $40 application fee to the Office of Continuing Education, plus $25 per credit, for a total of $115 for the 3-credit course. Their participation will enable us to receive critical feedback to help us refine the content and delivery, if necessary. Other participants (including non-residents of Ohio) will pay the full cost of the course: $575. Course costs may be adjusted slightly in future course offerings.

Please share this information with your colleagues and friends everywhere. We hope to draw a diverse participant pool from the United States and around the world. We are capping the course at 20 participants this summer, but plan to offer multiple sections of the course throughout the 2009-2010 academic year. We also plan to offer a modification of the course for Continuing Education (or Professional Development) Units beginning in autumn quarter, 2009.

Three important notes

  1. We plan to run the course every quarter for awhile, but this is the only quarter for which we will have scholarship support. The cost will remain as low as possible to encourage participation.
  2. It is important for graduate students at other institutions to discuss the course content with their advisers, to learn in advance whether or not credit for the course can be applied at their institution. 
  3. We hope the course will be valued by librarians, park naturalists, soldiers, economists, lawyers, youth groups, homeschoolers, environmental groups, and other citizens who want to speak knowledgeably about the scientific aspects of climate change.

Please go to the BPRC website ( to download the course description and application materials (remember to check the box for the scholarship application).

Carol Landis is McMurdo Dry Valley's Education Outreach Specialist, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University