SCCSC offers online class on climate change management

AUG 1, 2016    by TONI KLEMM

Earlier this year, I wrote an ECCF blog about a fall semester undergraduate class at the University of Oklahoma (OU) that taught students about climate science, the impacts of climate change, and that gave them a look behind the scenes of the climate negotiations at the Paris COP21 meeting last December. Well, I’m happy to report that this fall this class is back — and it’s gotten even better.

Starting August 17th, the South Central Climate Science Center (SCCSC) will be offering “Managing for a Changing Climate”, an interactive class based on the experiences and feedback from last fall. “Participants will hear from a wide variety of experts from both the research and management worlds”, says Aparna Bamzai, University Assistant Director at the SCCSC and coordinator of the course. They will teach lessons about the components of the climate system, including the range of natural climate variability and external drivers of climate change, in addition to impacts of a changing climate on sectors such as the economy, policy, ecosystems, and indigenous populations.

The class features a variety of experts, like Dr. Lara Souza, plant ecologist at the University of Oklahoma. Photo: Toni Klemm

The best part: this year almost everything will take place online, on OU’s interactive learning platform Janux, and the class will be available not just to OU students but also — for free, thanks to funding from USGS and NASA — to natural resource managers, tribal environmental professionals, and anyone else who is interested in the science and impacts of climate change.

Professionally produced videos will feature experts from across the south-central U.S., and participants will conduct readings and discussions on the online course page. All participants will be evaluated through online quizzes, while university students enrolled for credit will also produce individual term papers and — similar to the class last fall — a group project culminating in a mock negotiation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

To produce the class videos, the SCCSC teamed up with Next Thought, an Oklahoma-based company that specializes in online education and produces all online classes offered by OU. On the course website, videos and other online content will be released successively as the semester progresses. The reason for this is to avoid binge-watching and to engage class and online participants in discussions about the same course material.

The class is open to enroll at I’m very excited about this class as it will bridge the gap between science, management, and policy-making. I will be participating as one of the online students, and instead of watching from the sidelines, like last fall, I get to be in the middle of the action.

If you plan to enroll in the class and what to share your experience in a guest blog post during or after the semester, please let us know via email at or through Facebook or Twitter.

Development of this course was funded by the USGS through the South Central Climate Science Center on Grant #G15AP00136, NASA through the Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium on Grant #NNX11AB54H, and the University of Oklahoma College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences. The contents of this course are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the funding agencies.

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