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Viewing: COM 479 / COM 579 : Climate Change Communication

Last approved: Wed, 07 Mar 2018 09:01:02 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:16:44 GMT

Change Type
COM (Communication)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Climate Change Communication
Climate Change Communication
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Communication (16COM)
Term Offering
Fall Only
Offered Alternate Years
Fall 2017
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Prefix/NumberSemester/Term OfferedEnrollment
COM 498/598Fall 201525
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Graded with S/U option
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

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

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
David M. Berube
Professor of Communication

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture2525No25 per section. We have multiple faculty who can teach this class.
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
An exploration of the communication successes and failures surrounding climate change and public opinion. Topics addressed include: agenda setting, media effects, framing, data visualizations, fear responses, naming, risk communication and theory, argumentation and refutation, and persuasion as well as issues and current events related to the challenges associated with communicating climate change to multiple stakeholders.

Climate change is a compelling global social and cultural event as well as a physical phenomenon. The IPCC believes we have crossed the threshold associated with climate change such that implications are unavoidable. This course examines the communication associated with this phenomena and how important scientific issues can be impacted by less than ideal decisions about communication. This course would be an important adjunct to activities across the campus in climate change research. For example, this course would create another excellent opportunity for our Communication students, as our department is developing a number of faculty in the area of Science Communication that are able to offer this course and other related courses. Additionally, this course could serve other University student, including Climate Change & Society students  (specifically, the Professional Science of Master’s).


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

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:




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:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






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
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state 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)

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.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

College(s)Contact NameStatement Summary
College of Natural ResourcesWalt RobinsonI have reviewed the student learning outcomes for COM 479/579 and compared them with MEA 519. There is, indeed, little to no overlap, so I see no problem with both courses being offered.
This course will become a regular part of the professor's course rotation.

• Introduce students to relevant sources of information pertaining to climate change both natural and anthropogenic and frame debates over climate change as both scientific and rhetorical by examining a broad range of associated issues from science communication.

• Offer students critical and rhetorical methodologies to evaluate conflicting communication and messages on climate change from a wide range of sources and resources, esp. emphasizing broadcasting and digital media.

• Offer students an understanding of the theoretical foundations for making and evaluating arguments in science by detailed analysis of data, claims and warrants comparing politicized "factual determination" from objective, formulaic, and algorithmic scientific "factual determination."

• Finally, the course will include speaking and multiple writing assignments to assist in the development of important skill sets needed for the preparation of the next generation of informed climate change advocates and critics.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

1. discuss major works in the developing area of climate change communication;

2. critique and evaluate claims and counterclaims made by advocates, disputants, and deniers;

3. critique and evaluate different research methodologies (ethnographic through experimental) associated with research findings pertaining to climate change communication;

4. develop mapping and other organizational communication tool sets to improve their understanding and debunking of weakly-evidenced claims and counterclaims as well as promote and advocate stronger claims and counterclaims.

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Written Assignment30 points (UG and G)Each day's reading assignment will include a brief reactions paper to a question provided by the instructor associated with the reading directly.
Discussion15 points (UG and G)Participation is more than attendance. Every time a student asks a question and or solicit a comment which forwards discussion of the course material, they will receive a credit. At the end of the semester they are expected to have received 15. Students are asked as well as encouraged to volunteer questions.
Midterm15 points (no mid-term for G).All undergraduate students take a mid-term written examination that covers the readings from the beginning to mid-semester.
Oral Presentation15 pointsAll students present a short oral presentation on an article or chapter that is approved by the instructor. The presentation involves a video adjunct, such as Power Point as well as a electronic handout including article/chapter abstract and recommended readings.
Project25 points, UG/
40 points, G
Undergraduates: select a climate communication disaster subject we discussed in class and extrapolate on how it is communicated to the policymakers and the public. Discuss what is working and what is not and why. Do not design an alternative campaign.

Graduate students: select a problem associated with climate change communication and compare and contrast the communication challenges and associated issues.
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
See syllabus
✓Waiting for instructor approval of edited syllabus, 3/2017; approved modifications 8/2017.

mlnosbis 8/21/2017:
1) Someone entered a new course record on COM 579 identical to this course action. I deleted that separate 579 record so this course action is now for a dual-level course COM 479/579.
2) Syllabus notes:
✓Course description should be on the syllabus
✓Course objective on the syllabus should match the CIM form. CIM form is missing 1.
-Are there additional learning outcomes for graduate students? NO
✓Include price of required book
✓Use the same grading weight for assignments on the CIM form that you use in the syllabus. Syllabus indicates points for each assignment, while the CIM form indicates percentages. Change the CIM form to points.
✓-Include instructor's policy on attendance.
3) See consultation note from MEAS in support of the course. No additional consultation is required.

pjharrie 8/29/17 - based on how it's presented it looks like the graduate students have to complete less work than the ugrads, but, in fact, it needs to be clear that they are doing more work as the level is higher.

despain 9/5/2017 - Updated syllabus attached addressing above concerns

ABGS Reviewer Comments:
-The only question I had was related to the videos. I was wondering whether they fell within the realm of electronically hosted materials and if they need to to be mentioned. The policy is: 4.3 Instructors should list electronically hosted course components in the course syllabus, and should identify any components that may present privacy or accessibility issues for the student and be prepared to address these as needed. RESPONSE: If these are all accessed through the Moodle website, nothing further is required since they are listed on the syllabus.
n51ls801 (Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:39:28 GMT): Attached syllabus is a pdf file and is thus not readily editable. Moodle URL out of date; H&SS Career Services section out of date; Writing and Speaking Tutorial Services URL broken link; one OEO URL in Students Rights and Responsibilities PRR block missing; Adverse Weather URL out of date; statement on online Privacy missing; because of a bug in MS Word, many URLs contain hidden double dash where one dash is visible. Library CDSC has in past recommended placing copyrighted articles on e-reserve rather than at course web site. (Not clear whether recommended articles are also available on Moodle site.)
despain (Mon, 29 May 2017 16:29:15 GMT): Rollback: Waiting for instructor's acceptance of college comittee's changes to syllabus.
Key: 7271