ENVS 7 – Ecopsychology

Course: ENVS 7 – Ecopsychology
Instructor: Terry Osborne
Assignment: Media project in collaboration with a local community organization

The Ecopsychology class is a first-year seminar that looks at human psychology as a variable in environmental issues. As the course syllabus describes: “Ecopsychology posits a fundamental connection between the human psyche and the more-than-human world, and examines both the role our psyche plays in affecting the health of the planet, and the effect the degradation of natural world has in return on our psyche.”

The final project in the course is a community-based learning experience. It is a group video project in collaboration with a local community organization. The stated goal of the assignment is to do a video project that explores the ecopsychological components and/or effects of the work the organization does. I spend time before the course meeting with the organizations to discuss possible projects that would meet their needs and desires and fulfill the goals of the course. Once we have a general sense of that, I let the students take over and determine the exact projects with the organization. The target length of the video projects was 2-3 minutes, but this could be adjusted based on the organizations’ needs and desires. This year the organizations the students worked with were the Upper Valley Land Trust, The Upper Valley Transportation Management Association, and Thetford Elementary School.

The UVTMA video you see below initially was to explore the obstacles that get in the way of Upper Valley residents carpooling or using public transportation, by interviewing people who overcame those obstacles. But for various, unexpected reasons, the original interviews could not take place (this is why I like community-based projects: it’s real life; you never know what’s going to happen, so you adjust on the fly). So the students and the community partner (Aaron) reconceived the methodology and the interviews, and that aspect of the process—and the first minute of the video, especially—are what I admire most about this group’s project: the way they worked with the community partner and improvised and shifted the project.

Example of Student Final Project
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BIO 148-ENVS 80: Polar Science, Policy and Ethics

BIO148-ENVS80Course: BIO 148-ENVS 80: Polar Science, Policy and Ethics
Instructor: Ross Virginia
Assignment: Science Communication on Polar Change: A Video Project

Science has provided overwhelming evidence of human-influenced Arctic climate change and the likelihood that the pace of change is accelerating. The effects are and will be felt around the world in the environment, weather and oceanographic conditions, commercial shipping and fishing, exploitation of natural resources and energy, agriculture, and wildlife. Indigenous peoples’ way of life is changing, and new health and disease concerns are arising as climate changes in the North. Arctic residents see these environmental changes first-hand, but public awareness of these changes is low and the educational experience for young students in many northern locations does not provide an understanding of the drivers of change and the feedbacks that accelerate or decrease rates of change in biological and physical processes.

Video and multimedia presentations are being used more and more by researchers and teachers to communicate scientific concepts with diverse audiences. This assignment is designed to give you practical skills in producing a video product and in designing science- centered content suited for a target audience. You will work with one or two other students. The target audience for the project will be either: 1) the general US public, think of a Super Bowl infomercial to communicate information about climate change, or 2) high school students living in Greenland.

Susan Simon, media learning technologist with the Jones Media Center, will guide our project. She will lead a media workshop to introduce the basics on project design and will go through the technology and tools available to us on line and at the Jones Media Center. Class time will be devoted to working as a group and in smaller teams on forming the project and intermediate goals and short assignments will keep us on schedule. Three “check-in” sessions have been scheduled at the Jones Media Center during class time so we can work directly with their staff. More information will be distributed in class. My hope for this project is that it will be interesting, challenging, and I dare say fun.

Example of Student Final Project
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