CCST9019 Science, Technology and Big Data
Understanding Climate Change

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)

Course Description

Climate change is consistently in the news, yet there is little public understanding of what is now one of the biggest issues facing humanity. This course will provide students with the scientific literacy needed to understand climate change and consider existing and proposed solutions. The guiding objective is to promote the understanding needed to evaluate, develop and propose emerging and creative solutions at individual, local and global levels. Students will be required to critically examine different media on the subject including critiques of An Inconvenient Truth and The Great Global Warming Swindle films that present opposing sides of the climate change argument. Besides lectures, the course will use self-directed web-based learning and “blog” discussions together with a climate lab and field trip to stimulate student thinking. An interest in climate change issues and the ability to think critically and express ideas are the only prerequisites for the course.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe, explain and connect the basic principles and concepts pertaining to the climate change debate using appropriate scientific language.
  2. Analyze how climate change impacts everyday life and society.
  3. Critically assess films and other media information (e.g. from the Internet, the popular press, books, journals) on the climate change debate.
  4. Work constructively in peer-selected groups to understand climate change and discuss solutions.
  5. Demonstrate audio-visual presentation skills.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 8
Fieldwork / Visits 16
Reading / Self-study 48
Film viewing 4
Palaeoclimate laboratory 8
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 18
Assessment: Project 16
Total: 140

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Practical worksheet 20
Laboratory report 20
Project 20
Group activity 20
In-class test 20

Required Reading

  • Caron, Z., & May, E. (2009). Global warming for dummies. Mississauga, Ontario: J. Wiley & Sons Canada.

Students will be required to watch one feature-length film and several shorter videos outside of the lecture and laboratory hours, along with short pieces from the scholarly press.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Professor Z. Liu
Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science
Tel: 3917 7830
Teacher(s) Contact
Professor Z. Liu
Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science
Tel: 3917 7830