Course Design

Taxonomies & Objectives

This assignment will be my first attempt to build my own class.  The one I teach now came to me as a package.  It’s been much easier to modify that one as I continue on my journey as both an instructor and a student – as I experiment with my own style and understanding how to build my skills in project-based and student-centered learning. These are the characteristics that help students remember the material.  In my current class, I stress that they are learning a process and how to apply that process.   I get feedback that (most) students feel as if it was both a demanding course and that they learned something.  I find that to be the highest form of feedback and it will be something that I aim for in this project as well.  

I’m still in the process of writing good objectives for a class that I’ve been teaching for 6 semesters.   I’ve been trying to take the class through QM certification for the 2nd time and I’m still struggling with that.   I’ve been using Bloom’s and based on my feedback so far, I need to write this more from the student’s perspective rather than mine.  Sigh! 

My initial step in developing learning objectives for this course in Evaluating Climate Risk and Resiliency is to start by looking at the competencies that a student would need, especially since this is such a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).  And knowing that this can create such an emotional response, I’m going to focus on both the negatives and the positives of climate change.  I want to make this as objective as possible as I present the skills.  

My initial search on this topic brought me to a number of interesting resources.  I’m going to use one developed by the University of Wisconsin – Extension Office to start my thinking.  In the document, there are 3 elements that speak specifically to risk, which I have incorporated into my concept map.  I also like this one, currently under design, as a more current reflection as to where the field is evolving. 

I’m going to start with Fink’s taxonomy as a way to compare and contrast my previous work with Bloom’s although I am cheating/integrating/postulating by using Bloom’s action verbs to guide me.  I have no expectations that my students will become experts through this class – it is similar to the undergraduate course I teach in that one will be introduced to the vocabulary, the concepts the framework, and the approach of how to complete the analysis.  Additionally, they will practice reviewing case studies, evaluating the data, and presenting their findings in a way that would effectively demonstrate their ability to evaluate risks in the future.

Currently, I have the class divided into three units: 

  • Review frameworks
  • Identify and evaluate case studies
  • Risk Analysis, Decision Analysis, and Communications

For this assignment, I’m going to focus on the frameworks, since I believe that this is the area where I have the most to learn.  Risk analysis is dependent on two primary factors – likelihood and consequence – and I need to understand how the frameworks inform those variables. 

My initial three objectives for this first unit on frameworks will be similar to the ones I am setting for myself as I learn more about this topic and will focus on the first two pieces of the “pie” at a novice level:


  • Locate at least 6 different frameworks used in climate change risk analysis.  
  • Summarize and give examples of how your top three frameworks compare
  • Prepare a framework that you will use to evaluate our upcoming case studies. 

I’m looking forward to your feedback!

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