Act on Climate: Steps to Individual, Community, and Political Action (University of Michigan)

What recommendations do you have for other facilitators who are using "Act on Climate: Steps to Individual, Community, and Political Action"? Consider sharing additional resources you found helpful, activities that worked particularly well, and some reflections on who this course is best suited for. For more information, see this course on P2PU’s course page.

Hi, I am interested in creating a course on climate change. The “Act on Climate: Steps to Individual, Community, and Political Action” is a Coursera course that is listed as being used several times in Learning circles. I would like very much to hear from facilitators of this course; comments, suggestions, add ons, improvements, problems?

Yossi Karov

This course received a rating from a facilitator!

What did you hope to achieve when you signed up to facilitate this learning circle?
a successful library program

Did anything about the learning circle surprise you?
more people stuck to it then I thought would

About how many people showed up for the first meeting?

About how many people showed up for the second meeting?

About how many people showed up for the last meeting?

How well did the online course work as a learning circle?

Why did you give the course 3 star(s)?
The material was interesting and conducive to discussion but out of date

How likely are you to recommend facilitating a learning circle to a friend or colleague?

Though a lot of work it makes for a robust library program

Hi! I’m Rifa from Indonesia. I join this community because I’m a student of this course and want to get discussion partner. thank you

I used this course to run a learning circle through the Boston Public Library in September-November 2020.

The learning circle went pretty well, but we had some issues with consistent attendance (seven weeks is a long time for people to commit) and we introduced some elements that I think really altered the character of the group from the traditional learning circle format.

Primarily this entailed the invitation of local experts in each of the main topics covered in the course (policy, food, energy, transportation, and the built environment) to come and speak at the meetings to provide both a more current (since the course is from ca. 2017) and more locally focused angle on each of the topic areas. This was fantastic and I think it added a lot to the experience of the participants, but it also meant that I think their primary engagement with the course material was on their own time, and the meetings were largely focused on engaging with our guests and discussing their content and insights.

The last two meetings were with just the participants and facilitators, and those went well but I think may have been more cohesive had we been consistently engaging with the course content during the prior meetings. Overall I got the sense that it went fine, but I guess I was never clear whether it was meeting the expectations of participants and providing them with a useful learning experience, and the response rate for both the P2PU survey and another one we sent out ourselves were so low that I guess I will never really know.

If I were doing this over I think I would want to be clearer going into it about what we wanted participants to get out of it. What we ended up with was lots of engagement with speakers and seemingly much less engagement with the course content, which is not necessarily a problem, but if we wanted it the other way around I’d have done much more work to tailor each week’s content to have a more local and current focus in terms of selecting reading and viewing materials, and also done a more involved job of regulating the use of our meeting time. That was something I wrestled with throughout, since I wanted participants to spend the time doing what they found most valuable and I struggled with how much structure to try to impose on the meetings.

In terms of making something sustainable and adaptable over a longer term for a topic that’s developing rapidly, I might think about developing a template built around information sources generally rather than specific documents - for example, choose sources like the IPCC, the state and city climate preparedness bodies, local arms of active nonprofit advocacy groups like 350, and have participants select current materials from each of these rather than identifying specific documents that might quickly go out of date.

In general I think I would say that for a general course on climate change science or adaptation and mitigation efforts at the global or national scale, a predesigned course is probably fine, but for something focusing on the most up-to-date and local responses it will probably be best to pretty much build it oneself from the bottom up, maybe using an existing course like the U Michigan one as a model.

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