Online Course Fall 2016

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Online Course Fall 2016

Communication of Environmental Information - EBGN598

This 3-credit graduate elective course is an online class associated with Colorado School of Mines’ Payne Institute of Earth Resources in the Division of Economics and Business. It is open to both CSM grad students and professional scientists/engineers who may take the course as a non-degree seeking status student.

Online courses:

  • Use of state-of-the-art Blackboard LMS technology and learning tools
  • Support a highly interactive environment among students and instructors
  • Utilize structured, guided learning that provides students with a pathway for mastering the course content
  • Incorporate real-world, project-based learning taught by world-renowned engineers, and applied scientists, and social scientists
  • Include digital resources, academic advising, and support services from CSM
  • Feature original, carefully constructed course content built specifically for the online environment
  • Foster networking opportunities and professional collaborations on a global scale
For more information, please contact Ms. Kathleen Martin

Course Overview
Course Details

Communication is an essential part of being a scientist and engineer. This course provides students and early-mid career professionals with the opportunity to develop their skills for communicating scientific data and sustainable engineering design to stakeholders, including scientists and engineers in different fields, policy makers decision-makers, and the interested public. The course covers the importance of clear communication of complex information for the development and acceptance of technologies, public policy, and community-based environmental initiatives. Methods of engagement and design of key messages are defined for global, national, and local issues of student interest. The emphasis of the course is from the point of view of a science or engineering professional (not marketing professional) and how they can develop an effective science and technology-based communications portfolio to share complex information with a broad range of interested parties. The class is highly experiential, with the students developing a wide variety of communication materials around a topic of their choice.

Issues to be covered include:

  • The importance of communicating science
  • Methods of engagement for global, national, and local issues
  • Types of interested parties, communication levels of detail, and messaging
  • Written communications including graphs, maps, and articles
  • Interactive communications, including survey analysis, facilitation, citizen science, and big data
  • Online communications, including both short- and long-form media
  • Overall science communications portfolios

Who should attend?

This semester-long graduate course is intended for both CSM graduate students (as an elective course) and early-mid career professionals wishing to develop skills for communicating scientific data and sustainable engineering design to multiple stakeholders, including scientists and engineers in different fields, policy decision-makers, and the concerned public. The vantage point is that of a practicing scientist or engineering professional (not marketer) who needs to convey complex technical and statistical information with a broad range of interested parties. The material is applied in nature and built around case studies that engage a variety of communication methods and approaches. Non-degree seeking students (external to CSM) can register at

Graduate credits

Colorado School of Mines will award 3.0 credits to participants who successfully complete this course.

Program, procedures and homework

It is expected that each class will take approximately 10-12 hours per week to complete. Most assignments will be generally short enough to complete in one week and designed to develop knowledge and skills. For the majority of the assignments, students will develop materials on a topic of their choice related to their work or an area of interest, applying each skill to that topic throughout the class. These materials will be compiled as a final portfolio project at the end of the semester. This course will consist of three basic student requirements:

Assignments and Quizzes (60% of Final Grade Calculation)

Assignments include a mix of qualitative assignments (e.g., short reports) and quantitative problem sets.  quizzes are a short set of multiple choice or short answer questions. Qualitative assignments are evaluated by the quality and completeness of the assignment.  Quantitative assignments are evaluated by the technical approach as well as achieving the correct answer.

Final Communication Portfolio (20% of Final Grade Calculation)

Each student will select a scientific or engineering area that they are currently knowledgeable of and have data and information. The final assignment is a compilation and enhancement of the communications prepared on this topic as part of some of the assignments, as well as a presentation describing this portfolio. This final portfolio and presentation will be reviewed as a consolidated approach to communicate complex topics to different audiences.

Participation (Class Discussions) (20% of Final Grade Calculation)

The discussions in this class require posting some of the assignments to share and discuss with other students. Feedback received on the assignments related to the class project should be incorporated into the final portfolio. Thus, online discussion is an essential and required part of the class. Each student is responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and being prepared for online discussion. Discussion is interaction (i.e., responding to classmate postings with thoughtful responses) with at least two classmates. Evaluation of participation is based on contribution to discussions, in terms of quality, timeliness, and number of interactions.


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