Hybridizing “society and natural resources”

what is the course about?

I have taught SOC 481/581 for 4 years now. I have modified it slightly every time I teach it; and finally feel that it is ready for a hybrid version. It is ideally suited to this, actually, because there are SO MANY possible topics to cover related to the environmental crises of our time. Ultimately I want to give students the opportunity to form their own criteria, based on “theory” and some guidelines for critical thinking. Broadly, the course explores the complexities of relationships between people and their environment; highlighting how most (if not all) processes (e.g. decisions, politics, movements, etc.) related to the environment are tightly coupled to human conditions and processes. Overall, I hope to introduce students to the “human dimensions of the environment”, using theoretical approaches, social science methods, and applied examples and skills for natural resource management.


Proposed structure of the course:

I will provide the reading materials (mainly from a book, with some additional related readings) and ask students to meet in pairs prior to our weekly meeting to discuss the reading materials. They will have to complete an outline of these materials. This outline will then be the first thing we discuss in class during our face-to-face meeting. Assuming content is understood, we will then move into an activity or in-class case study to link the reading with a “real world” scenario. After linking the material with the activity (and using some guided points on how to critically reflect on these issues), students will be asked to either complete a writing assignment or an online discussion. Both of these (due at the end of the week), will have a prompt developed by the instructor, related to the readings and possibly even the class activity.


Final assignment!

Finally, instead of a course final, I do a 2-week case study that wraps up all the content from the prior 8 weeks, and asks students to complete a set of assignments (concept mapping following a classic applied policy analysis tool – DPSIR, stakeholder analysis, policy brief writing, and prompted questions) in a group.


It is an experiment to do it in hybrid format! and I sure do hope it works!!

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One Response to Hybridizing “society and natural resources”

  1. chakerir says:

    I love the way you tie up each week with a discussion board or writing assignment that asks students to reflect both on the reading and outline they did outside class and the activity they did related to that during class. It’s a great way to meld the different components of the course and make sure that they all fit together.
    It seems like graded discussion boards or graded peer reviews in this class could be a great way to make sure everyone contributes and offers their perspective!

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