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Viewing: ES 113 : Earth from Space

Last approved: Thu, 05 Apr 2018 08:00:29 GMT

Last edit: Wed, 04 Apr 2018 17:01:51 GMT

Change Type
ES (Environmental Science)
113
032596
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
No
Earth from Space
Earth from Space
College of Natural Resources
Forestry (15FOR)
Term Offering
Fall Only
Offered Every Year
Fall 2018
Previously taught as Special Topics?
No
 
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Graded with S/U option
3
16
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Lecture3
Course Attribute(s)
GEP (Gen Ed)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
No
 
 
Josh Gray
Assistant Professor

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture150150NoBased on enrollment in other ES courses, and because this course will satisfy GEP, there is the potential for high enrollment. I would welcome even larger class sizes providing there is adequate support (GTAs).
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote


Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
No
This course takes an orbital perspective on Earth and its natural resources. Particular attention is paid to how humans are changing Earth, challenges to sustainably managing natural resources, and how satellite Earth observation has enabled these discoveries. Students will gain a fundamental understanding of how satellite sensor systems work, how they enable us to understand the dynamic Earth, and the role that remote sensing plays in natural resource challenges.

Remote sensing science is an increasingly important discipline that is changing how we understand Earth. However, there are currently no broad, introductory remote sensing courses offered at NCSU. The only undergraduate-level remote sensing currently offered (FOR353) focuses on air photo interpretation in the context of forestry, and does therefore not serve the broader NCSU undergraduate community.


This course will introduce early career students to remote sensing science by surveying Earth's major systems from an orbital perspective. As such, it will provide valuable introductory-level environmental science information in addition to an introduction to the science of remote sensing. Students pursuing further environmental or earth science education will benefit from this introduction and the unique perspective offered from orbital platforms. Students pursuing other studies will gain critical knowledge about how Earth's major systems work, and how remote sensing science enables that perspective. It is anticipated that this course will create interest in remote sensing science and related geospatial sciences, and will complement other courses in environmental and Earth sciences.


No

Is this a GEP Course?
Yes
GEP Categories
Global Knowledge
Natural Sciences
Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 
Related Learning Objective:
* Explain major challenges to sustainably managing Earth’s natural resources and how Earth observation can help address these challenges. Explore specific examples of human and natural impacts to Earth and their consequences: deforestation, cultivation, greenhouse gases, wildfires, El Nino, and hurricanes.

Detail:
Students will explore examples where scientists have used remote sensing science to test existing hypotheses, instances where Earth observation has revealed new scientific questions, and how satellite remote sensing is enabling better decision making. Students will also be able to articulate how remote sensing would enable hypothesis testing, problem solving, and decision making in novel scenarios.
 
 
Exams and quizzes will assess comprehension of important examples of remote sensing-based scientific hypothesis testing, problem solving, and decision making. Homework assignments will require students to apply these lessons to novel Earth science problems.

For example, exam/quiz questions would ask students to articulate how images from the OCO-2 instrument are being used to test hypotheses about urban ecosystem carbon exchange.

An example homework assignment would ask students to design a theoretical remote sensing-based approach that would enable the verification of carbon sequestration credits.
 
 
Related Learning Objectives:
* Describe the Earth as a dynamic, interconnected system and how remote sensing has enabled this perspective. In particular: gain basic theoretical and practical knowledge of the global hydrologic, carbon, and atmospheric cycles.

* Explain major challenges to sustainably managing Earth’s natural resources and how Earth observation can help address these challenges. Explore specific examples of human and natural impacts to Earth and their consequences: deforestation, cultivation, greenhouse gases, wildfires, El Nino, and hurricanes.

Detail:
Students will explore the myriad ways in which satellite Earth observations have improved or changed our understanding of important Earth science concepts and theories. For example, students will learn how observations of ice sheet dynamics inform our climate models and therefore our understanding of the function of the climate systems. Students will learn how these observations are being used to solve problems related to carbon emissions/sequestration, deforestation, and water sustainability. Further, students will combine their knowledge of Earth system and satellite systems to articulate how Earth observations will help to solve future problems of fundamental importance to society.
 
 
Exams and quizzes will test a student's ability to articulate important scientific concepts such as how Earth's water, carbon, and energy cycles work, and a student's ability to draw upon this information to solve novel problems. Homework assignments will also give students an opportunity to apply their understanding of scientific principles and theory to real problems facing human society.

For example, an exam/quiz question would ask students to explain why the withdrawal of groundwater has become unsustainable in places like California's Central Valley and the Indogangetic Plain, and how remote sensing helps us to quantify and characterize this phenomenon. An example homework assignment would ask students to combine their knowledge of what can and cannot be revealed by Landsat images of Earth surface with their knowledge of how Earth's carbon cycle works to determine the possibilities and constraints for verifying carbon credits with those images.
Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
&
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:
 
 
Related Learning Objectives:
* Discover how humans are changing the Earth in the Anthropocene, including variation across different societies and cultures
* Explain major challenges to sustainably managing Earth’s natural resources, how those vary across regions of the globe, and how Earth observation can help address these challenges. Explore specific examples of human and natural impacts to Earth and their consequences: deforestation, cultivation, greenhouse gases, wildfires, El Nino, and hurricanes.

Detail:
The patterns of anthropogenic change are variable across Earth's surface and reflect different cultural values, environmental attitudes, and economic and governmental systems and conditions. So too have been the responses with respect to sustainability. For instance, differing policies and national-scale interests have created dramatic differences in patterns of urban expansion, and cultivation. Two examples I will draw upon are the border of China and Mongolia which shows a stark difference in irrigation investment, and the remarkable differences in patterns of agricultural land-use in Europe as compared to Brazil and Argentina. Likewise, differing cultural values and institutional objectives are evidenced in how different countries are responding to the challenges of sustainability. As an example, we will explore how policies for forest conservation have resulted in different change patterns in Europe versus Brazil and Indonesia.
 
 
Exams and quiz questions will ask students to draw upon examples from lectures, readings, and multimedia that illustrate how differing cultural values/attitudes, and economic/institutional norms and policies have created different patterns of human-induced changes to Earth. For instance, an exam question would ask students to explain why different national objectives, resources, and policies have resulted in China having an abundance of irrigated fields in land that is otherwise desert, but Mongolia does not.
 
Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.
 
Related Learning Objectives:
* Discover how humans are changing the Earth in the Anthropocene, including variation across different societies and cultures
* Explain major challenges to sustainably managing Earth’s natural resources, how those vary across regions of the globe, and how Earth observation can help address these challenges. Explore specific examples of human and natural impacts to Earth and their consequences: deforestation, cultivation, greenhouse gases, wildfires, El Nino, and hurricanes.

Detail:
We will compare how different environmental contexts and imperatives, mediated through differences in resources, cultural values/attitudes, and governmental/economics systems, have resulted in different patterns of change across the Earth's surface. Much of this understanding will be articulated through comparing specific examples of different change patterns, and exploring the contrasting societal/environmental contexts and attitudes that account for the difference. Examples that will draw upon include how historically-formed attitudes about forests, and geographic realities, contribute to different spatiotemporal patterns of deforestation in the countries of Europe and Brazil, and how local- to global-scale economic pressures have created different patterns of agricultural land-use in the former Soviet Union as compared to China.
 
 
Students' ability to attribute the observed differences between particular patterns of change in various countries will be assessed through exam and quiz questions, as well as through homework assignments. For example, on an exam, students may be asked to explain how global-scale economic forces resulted in the remarkable differences in cultivation observed in the former Soviet Union vs. what we see today in China. Another question might ask students to articulate how geographic realities and resource limitations have structured conservation attitudes in Germany vs. Brazil, and in what ways those attitudes are responsible for observed patterns of deforestation and conservation. An example homework assignment would require students to use satellite image evidence to reveal a difference in change patterns between two countries of their choosing, and then to identify and explain the cultural, economic, and governmental differences responsible for the observed patterns.
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Requisites and Scheduling
100
 
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.
 
none
 
b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?
 
N/A
 
List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.
 
none
 
List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)
 
none
Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
 
Title and author of any required text or publications.
 
see attached syllabus
 
Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.
 
see attached syllabus
 
List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.
 
see attached syllabus
This course will be taught by Dr. Josh Gray. Teaching this course will fulfill Dr. Gray's obligation to teach an introductory geospatial course for undergraduate students. Dr. Gray teaches other graduate-level courses in geospatial data mining and remote sensing. Teaching Earth from Space will not alter Dr. Gray's SME and is supported by the Department Head and Director of Undergraduate Programs.

No additional resources will be required to teach this course.

This course takes an orbital perspective on Earth and its natural resources. Particular attention is paid to how humans are changing Earth, challenges to sustainably managing natural resources, and how satellite Earth observation has enabled these discoveries. Students will gain a fundamental understanding of how satellite sensor systems work, how they enable us to understand the dynamic Earth, and the role that remote sensing plays in natural resource challenges.


Student Learning Outcomes

• Describe the Earth as a dynamic, interconnected system and how remote sensing has enabled this perspective

• Discover how humans are changing the Earth in the Anthropocene

• Explain major challenges to sustainably managing Earth’s natural resources and how Earth observation can help address these challenges

• Demonstrate basic fluency in the history and operation of satellite sensor systems

Explore opportunities to learn more about Earth remote sensing


Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Multiple exams40Three exams: two midterms worth 10 points each, and a comprehensive final worth 20 points
Homework30Five homework assignments worth 6 points each
Quizzes20Ten in-class quizzes worth 2 points each
Attendance10Students should be in class for all scheduled meetings. Attendance will be taken electronically (e.g. via Tophat). Each student is allowed 2 unexcused absences. Students will lose one class participation point for each subsequent unexcused absence.
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
N/ASee attached syllabus

lamarcus (Thu, 18 Jan 2018 13:28:56 GMT): Rollback: Rollback for resubmission into correct workflow in CNR! Thanks
gblank (Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:43:11 GMT): Rollback: See if you can reload the corrected syllabus.
aeherget (Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:53:13 GMT): AECHH: Uploading updated syllabus at instructor's request via email 3/15/2018 based on friendly suggestions from the March 14, 2018, UCCC Meeting.
aeherget (Fri, 30 Mar 2018 16:47:11 GMT): AECHH: approved at March 16, 2018 CUE Meeting.
Key: 23122