G. Ozbay1, S. Sriharan2, C. Fan3

1Delaware State University (UNITED STATES)
2Virginia State University (UNITED STATES)
3Morgan State University (UNITED STATES)
To enhance the teaching effectiveness of Environmental Science at Virginia State University (VSU) and its partner institutions (Delaware State University-DSU and Morgan State University-MSU) in Mid-Atlantic Region, the course on climate change and adaptation studies was developed and offered in 2013.This course was designed to include physical basis for the earth's climate system and current climate change instruction modules by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and Climate historic information (NOAA Climate Services, U.S. and World Weather Data, 2007 IPCC Report Summary, NCAR Climate Model Predictions, NASA, Climate Model Predictions, and NCAR Community Earth System Model). By using Global Seminar as a Model, the faculty members (Dr. Shobha Sriharan, VSU, Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, DSU, and Dr. Chunlei Fan, MSU) at the collaborating institutions worked in teams to engage students in communications via videoconferencing on climate change through the courses, Contemporary Global Studies-AGRI 295 and Climate Change and Adaptation Response Science AGRI 350 (VSU), Sustainable Agriculture/Introduction to Environmental Sciences 29-404 (DSU), Ecology and AdaptationBIOL205 (MSU). This interactive and innovative instruction is an outcome of joint efforts of educators (S. Sriharan, G. Ozbay, and C. Fan) in engaging Minority (African American) students of VSU, DSU, and MSU in the Study Abroad Program by their participation in the course, Climate Change and Course (ENS 310) taught by Professor Richard Warrick at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC), Australia. The students examined the extreme case scenarios due to the climate change between 1990 and 2100 by using two modeling programs (SimCLIM and TrainCLIM) from CLIMSystems, Ltd, New Zealand. The students earned three credits for their successful completion of this course. In addition, the above-mentioned educators participated in learning the use of SimCLIM software in teaching the impact of weather changes on soils, water, and plants across different global regions, at USC.

The partnership between VSU, DSU, and MSU has enriched the environmental science education by preparing students to:
(1) know how to gather information about climate and weather, and how to distinguish credible from non-credible scientific sources on the subject,
(2) communicate about climate and climate change in a meaningful way, and
(3) make scientifically informed and responsible decisions regarding actions that may affect climate.

The instructional delivery system via E-learning community is planned to promote effective and learning of climate related science through the Blackboard system integrated into the National Climate Adaptation and Mitigation E-Learning (CAMEL) community that has been created by NCSE through climate change education grants from NASA and NSF. The offering of the newly-developed climate courses has increased faculty capacity to teach team building and critical thinking skills and prepare students to fully capitalize on the power of teamwork for meeting the needs of environmental and agricultural professionals/employers. This presentation is a result of funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Teaching Grant (2011-38821-30892).