Kyoto Redoux: Assessment of an Environmental Science Collaborative Learning Project for Undergraduate, Non-Science Majors

Anastasia P. Samaras, Barbara J. Howard, Carolee M. Wende

Abstract


How can we present science in a format that will allow college-level undergraduates not majoring in the sciences, including elementary education preservice teachers, to grasp an understanding of, and to gain, an appreciation for science in terms of everyday life and in the context that science is important in their own fields of interest? It is with these assumptions that “Kyoto Redoux,” the major project for the course “Global Change,” was chosen to be a simulation of the Conference of the Parties-3 (COP-3), sponsored by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Kyoto, Japan. The purpose of this study was to examine students’ perceptions of this collaborative course project as a component of a process evaluation of “Adventures in Science,” a pilot program of a newly designed, interdisciplinary environmental science program for undergraduate, non-science majors. Nontraditional evaluation tools, including portfolios, focus groups, and team and self-assessments were employed. The research led us to a better understanding of practical, pedagogical applications in applying science content to non-science majors’ career goals, promoting problemsolving skills in collaborative contexts, and structuring and assessing students’ environmental course experiences.

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