Penn State NASA

Capstone: Communities in Crisis: Student Voices on Climate Change


Capstone: Communities in Crisis: Student Voices on Climate Change

The goal of the capstone is for you to focus on the impact of climate change on communities. We center this assignment on communities because while the impacts of climate change are global, certain communities will be hit harder, as we will learn all semester. By community, we mean a village, a town, or, at largest, a city. A state or country is not considered a community. Likewise, the topic must be related to this course, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunami are NOT eligible topics.

The capstone will require six entries, an entry every two weeks/modules and we suggest that you think about a topic that is related to the material being discussed in those modules. For example for Capstone Entry 1 (Module 2), you might choose hurricanes as your topic and find a community that is profoundly impacted by them. While it is not mandatory to focus on the topic of the week, you must choose six different topics and six different communities.

You will be responsible for doing the research, choosing the topic, and finding the community. We suggest that you use sources like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wikipedia, or Google Scholar to do your research. 

You must write this in your own words. Paraphrase everything. This means absolutely no direct copying will be tolerated and you will also lose credit even for copying with quotation marks. TurnItIn is remarkably clever at detecting plagiarism from a wide variety of sources including old student papers! Please see more information in the Orientation.

The length of each entry must be a maximum of 300 words. You must address the following questions which are part of the grading rubric.

  1. What is the threat?
  2. Why is that community vulnerable?
  3. What are the forecasted impacts on the community?
  4. What are the solutions to the threat?

It is imperative that you keep up with this assignment.

You will be required to turn in your entries at three stages: Entries 1 and 2 (during Module 5); Entries 3 and 4 during Module 9; and Entries 5 and 6 (Midterm 2 week). You will also get to resubmit Entries 1 and 2 after you get feedback and have them regraded (during the first Midterm week).

So here is a summary of this assignment:

  1. Write 300-500 words of text in Microsoft Word that summarizes the questions (1-4) above for your community on your topic of interest.
  2. Turn in the Word file via Canvas at the relevant times and your entry will be automatically processed through TurnItIn. You do not need to turn it in via TurnItIn.
  3. You can resubmit Entries 1 and 2 to be regraded but all other entries are final.
Capstone Assignments
Assignment Points
Capstone Assignment 1: Script for the first vignette 5
Capstone Assignment 2: Script for the second vignette 5
After receiving feedback on assignments 1 and 2, you will have the opportunity to resubmit them for improved grades
Capstone Assignment 3: Script for the third vignette 5
Capstone Assignment 4: Script for the fourth vignette 5
Capstone Assignment 5: Script for the fifth vignette 5
Capstone Assignment 6: Script for the sixth vignette 5
TOTAL 30 points

Grading Rubric

Grading Rubric
Each script is worth up to 5 points as outlined below.
Assessment Criteria Acceptable Partially Acceptable Unacceptable
Script discusses an original environmental threat without any ambiguity 1 .5 0
Concepts are explored in a detailed but in the most succinct manner possible 1 .5 0
Script focuses on a specific community 1 .5 0
Script is well-written, free of grammatical errors and typos, and does not overuse quotations 1 .5 0
Script contains references .5 0 0
Script is less than 325 words in length, not including references .5 0 0