Initial Publication Date: February 23, 2017

Make Your Course More Effective and Societally Relevant

For Workshop Leaders »

Workshop Description

In this workshop, you will infuse societal relevance to (re)design and strengthen your course materials. Each workshop is customizable with themes depending on the interest of participants. The workshop can be designed for courses taught at any level and for instructors in a variety of disciplines including STEM, the social sciences, the humanities, and interdisciplinary fields.

Perhaps you have been teaching the same course for years and want to modify it to incorporate more of what we know about how people learn. It could be that you are about to teach a new course for the first time. Or maybe you want to incorporate societally relevant material into your science courses or bring geoscience and environmental issues into your non-science course. Evidence shows incorporating societal issues, such as sustainability and environmental justice, enhances student learning and success throughout the curriculum and can serve as a potential entry point into the sciences.

Over the course of the workshop, we will engage in a series of activities that will help you think about your course from the student learning perspective. You will learn about pedagogical techniques by engaging in them, not just by hearing about them. You will leave the workshop having begun to (re)design your course and with an action plan and resources for continuing the process.

See Example Programs »

Topics and Sessions

The core workshop is designed to help you build strong courses that link learning about the Earth and societal issues and support all students to be successful in your classroom. Groups may also choose one or more from the list of sessions below. Sessions can be explored over the course of a day and can be mixed and matched.

  • Sustainability
  • Environmental justice
  • Community engagement: local, regional, national, global
  • Hazards


By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to

  • use what's known about how people learn to build strong courses
  • link learning about the Earth and societal issues
  • incorporate strategies that support all students to be successful
  • implement effective teaching activities with focus on societal issues


Why Should Undergraduate Education include a Focus on Sustainability and Earth-centered Societal Issues?

Environmental Justice in the Context of Sustainability

Connect to the World We Live in