This assignment titled “My Interdisciplinary Perspective on Climate Change” was developed in Fall 2020 as the signature assignment of the STEM Learning Community LC50 for students enrolled in the Biology program of the Natural Sciences department, at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. The assignment targets Integrative Learning and Global Learning Core Competencies, and Digital/Oral Communication Abilities.
For this STEM Cluster, “Climate Change” is the shared theme that connects learning from the different disciplines and helps build students’ overall knowledge on an imperative issue that our planet currently faces. Work on this assignment entails a narrated digital student presentation on the various aspects of Climate Change such as causes, global effects and manifestations, and possible remedial solutions or suggested actions. Students also practice summarizing the research and learning on this theme from the various courses undertaken in the first semester.
The main goal of this signature assignment is to make connections among the ideas, experiences and learning acquired among the different courses, assignments and co-curricular activities of this semester that contributed to the students’ understanding of this global phenomenon. This high-stakes assignment is worth 20% of the final grade in NSF 101: First Year Seminar for Natural Sciences (program-core course). Students are guided by all four instructors of the Learning Community, which comprises of the courses- NSF 101, MAT 115: College Algebra and Trigonometry, ENG 101: Composition I, and HUC 106: Public Speaking, through a 12-week scaffolded process to complete work and showcase their findings as a well-informed Biology major and responsible citizen of society. This assignment meets the NSF101 learning objectives and helps the students to hone their skills on the targeted Core Competencies (Global/Integrative Learning) and Communication Abilities (Digital/Oral), thereby increasing their chances of being successful in the subsequent 200-level classes of their major.
Student artifacts were deposited for this assignment at the end of the semester for college-wide Benchmark Readings 2021, and the Fall 2020 Learning Communities Seminar (as the LC assignment). Due to the serious COVID-related situation in New York state in Fall 2020, including high incidence of the disease and the associated challenging and technical issues at some students’ end, more emphasis was placed on helping the students learn how to prepare a digital presentation embodying their work on science, data analysis, writing and communication skills, while incorporating elements of integrative and global learning from all four classes on Climate Change. However, when the assignment is implemented again in the future, both Digital and Oral Communication Abilities will be fostered in all student work. It is noteworthy that some students managed to cover both these abilities in their work in Fall 2020 also.
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