EM SC 240N
Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture

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Welcome to EM SC 240N!


Dan Kasper


In this course, after an overview of key energy and sustainability topics, you will engage in critical evaluation of a few artifacts including one book, one film, and various other artifacts (podcast, articles, etc.), all of which are contemporary works and were created for a general audience. These media selections relate specifically to earth, material, and energy processes and how humans interact with them. You will evaluate the energy and sustainability subject matter from both science and cultural perspectives, with special emphasis on the need to sustain a viable planetary life support system and the role of humanistic values in doing so.

EM SC 240N can be used to fulfill B.A. Fields requirements.

Topics of Study and Organization

The content of this course is divided into an orientation week, and four modules of study. The first module is five weeks long and will cover the foundational science of energy and sustainability, with a global perspective. The three subsequent modules, each 2-4 weeks in length, will delve into the individual media selections. For a detailed course schedule for this semester, please see the course syllabus.

The layout is pretty straightforward:

  • In Module 1, you will have a number of readings/videos/website content to go through. A quiz based on this content must be completed each week (see the Course Calendar for due dates). You can take as long as you want on these quizzes, but they must be completed by the due date/time. You will also engage in an ongoing discussion board throughout the lesson.
  • In Module 2, you will read, view, and/or listen to one or more media selections. You will engage in discussion boards in which you will analyze the content of the artifacts. You will also choose which one out of the two book selections you will read in Module 3.
  • In Module 3, you will read approximately half of your chosen book each week for the first two weeks. You will take a quiz based on the content, designed to make sure that you are reading the book. This quiz will be timed. You will also have short reflections and/or discussion board for these weeks. You will also engage in a discussion about the material with other members of the class. You also have a self-reflection paper due at the end of the module. Your initial proposal for your final project is due at the end of this lesson.
  • In Module 4, you will watch the movie and write a journal entry and/or discussion board. Your final project is due at the end of Module 4.
  • There is approximately one week after Module 4, in which you will critique each other's final project and respond to the critiques.

I hope you enjoy the content!