Assignments (1000 points)

  • Reflection paper (40 points)
  • Climate Change Outline (25 points)
  • Elements of Style Quizzes (40 points)
  • Journalism Analysis (50 points)
  • Twitter Analysis (50 points)
  • Semiotic Analysis (100 points)
  • Film Treatment (50 points)
  • Film Analysis (100 points)
  • Film (200 points)
  • Commentary on “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene” (150 points)
  • Commentary about Fisher-Sponsored Conferences (25 points)
  • Class Discussion and Reading Preparation (150 points)

Reflection paper

In 250-350 words, each student will reflect upon their own current views of climate change.  No research is required, and students should feel free to speak honestly about their understanding and attitudes about the subject.  The form of this essay is open-ended, and students may write about experiences, attitudes, family attitudes, experiences with peers, news stories, etc..  The paper will be graded primarily on clarity of ideas/explanations and writing style (including grammar).

Climate Change Outline

Each student is asked to outline the chapter “Climate Change: A Primer”  The facts included should include those facts that seem the most significant to the student and are the most likely to prove useful to make written arguments later in the semester.  The entire outline should not exceed two sides of one piece of paper.  It must be at least one full page.

Elements of Style Quizzes

You will take four quizzes on the contents of the book, “The Elements of Style”.

Journalism Analysis
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Assessment

Students will complete a close reading of three (journalistic) articles related to climate change and its effects on either developing countries or poorer communities in the United States; gender; or environmental racism.   The articles should be thematically similar.  The paper should begin with an analysis of each article that includes a summary of the article, along with a consideration of accuracy, bias, and persuasiveness.  Each of the three distinct analyses should be clearly marked with a heading. To conclude, each student will summarize the findings based on a comprehensive consideration of the three articles.  The total paper should be 900-1200 words.  You may paraphrase or quote each article—use a journalistic style to make the citation: (In the August 23, 2019 issue of the New York Times, the reporter states that, “…”.)  In the conclusion, if you refer to an article again, place the name of the publication in parentheses (e.g., “(New York Times)”).

None of the previously assigned articles may be used. 

Twitter Analysis

This assignment will address the range of opinions that one must sort through when using social media.  Students will examine tweets about climate change using various hastags (#climatechange, #climatechangehoax, #climatecrisis) to discuss three Twitter accounts that often use a particular hashtag, giving an explanation of the Tweeters perspective and authority. The findings will be presented orally. Students will hand in a brief written summary of their findings.

Semiotic Analysis

After reading the graphic novel, Climate Changed by Philippe Squarzoni, students will write a 750 word paper using semiotic analysis: considering what messages can be conveyed through an image (or sequence) within the graphic novel.  Students will be asked to consider three aspects of climate change (e.g., economic, human health, biodiversity, climate change denial, politics, psychology) and explore how each of these are conveyed visually in the text.

Film Analysis

Students will choose one of the four films we watched in/for class and will focus on one particular sequence to discuss how the scene is persuasive by using techniques of filmmaking and editing.

Film, including Treatment
Collaboration and Leadership Assessment

Groups of 2-3 students will develop a short 60-90 second film in which they make an argument about climate change action.  The film will be storyboarded (using concepts learned from the visual analysis paper and the graphic novel read) with narration added to the filmed images.  Students must create a script using 4-5 reliable sources, creating a visual message of what could happen over the next 15-50 years (students choose the time frame) and what action the viewers should take.  The treatment (handed in first) will include a discussion of the sources, the completed storyboard, and the narrator’s script.  

Commentary on “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene”
Written, Oral, and Visual Communication; Integrative and Applied Learning; Citizenship & Civic Engagement Assessments

After completing the text, Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of Civilization, by Roy Scranton, students will critique the book (600-800 words), considering all the knowledge and insight gained during the semester.  Consider the following questions:

    1. Is the personal style of the text effective in holding and persuading the audience?
    2. Is a sufficient amount of factual material included?
    3. How does the use of stories and metaphors affect your reading of the book?

      We will read other book reviews in class in preparation for this assignment.

Commentary about Fisher-Sponsored Conferences

Students will be asked to attend two talks at the three academic conferences listed in the syllabus: NAAS’s Regional Conference on October 3-5; the Teach-In on October 23, and the Feminist-Pragmatist Colloquium on November 14-17.  The two panels may be from the same conference.  You will provide a short paragraph summarizing the talk (and more significantly) providing your view of what you saw/heard.

Class Discussion and Reading Preparation

Students will be expected to be prepared to participate in all class discussions by completing all readings for each class.  The professor will call on students randomly, whether or not a student volunteers.  Preparation at such moments will heavily contribute to this grade.

Grade Chart

A 930-1000 C 730-769
A- 900-929 C- 700-729
B+ 870-899 D+ 670-699
B 830-869 D 630-669
B- 800-829 D- 600-629
C+ 770-799 F 0-599