From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming

Course Structure


The learning environment

This course will be conducted entirely online. There are no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments. Registered students in this course will need to navigate between several environments. These include:

This site

The instructional materials in this site include lessons, plus the Orientation. Each lesson contains an introduction, reading assignments, links, assessments, etc.


Canvas is the learning management system currently being used by Penn State University. In Canvas, registered students may consult course calendars; communicate with instructors, teaching assistants, and fellow students; submit assignments; receive feedback from the instructor and teaching assistant; take online quizzes and surveys; and check assignment scores and course grades. A link to Canvas appears on every page.

Penn State mark - Contact your instructor if you are unable to see or interpret this graphic.

NOTE: Only students who are registered for this course will have access to the Canvas space for this course. Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback and earn academic credit.

Topics of study

Here is the course author, Michael Mann, discussing topics covered in this course:

The content of this course is divided into 12 lessons. Each lesson will be completed in approximately 1 week. Lesson learning activities take the form of discussions, quizzes, and online climate simulations.

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Climate and Climate Change
  • Lesson 2: Climate Observations, Part 1
  • Lesson 3: Climate Observations, Part 2
  • Lesson 4: Modeling of the Climate System
  • Lesson 5: Modeling of the Climate System (cont.); Comparing Models and Observations
  • Lesson 6: Carbon Emission Scenarios
  • Lesson 7: Projected Climate Changes, Part 1
  • Lesson 8: Projected Climate Changes, Part 2
  • Lesson 9: Climate Change Impacts
  • Lesson 10: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change
  • Lesson 11: Geoengineering
  • Lesson 12: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

What is special about this course?

Course assignments

This course will rely upon a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning, including:

  • Automated online quizzes to keep track of student performance in individual lessons and to help the instructor to ensure that students complete required assignments on schedule. Quizzes will include multiple-choice, matching, and short answer questions. They represent "low-stakes" evaluations of student progress, and are meant to encourage keeping up with the course material.
  • Problem Sets to gauge students' ability to apply quantitative concepts developed in class.
  • Required participation in online discussion forums to provide opportunities for the students to freely exchange thoughts and ideas and for the instructor to gauge students' progress and understanding of the material. The students will be asked to debate a variety of topics broadly outlined by the instructor and the discussions will reveal students' abilities to effectively articulate key concepts.
  • Unit projects that require students to apply the principles they have learned to outstanding questions in climate change science.
  • A final exam will be used to evaluate students' cumulative knowledge of the course material. This represents a "high-stakes" assessment of students' overall mastery of the course material.

Refer to the course syllabus for assignment weighting and final grade calculation.