Inside the Greenhouse:
Utilizing Media to Communicate Positive Solutions for Climate Change
ENVS 3100

Course Requirements


Attendance & Participation
(including involvement in ITG project activities)
20 pts
Roundtable Discussion
(5 pts - comment sheet*; 5 pts – co-facilitation; 5 pts – summary+)
15 pts
Composition #1
1-page composition description & release forms= (due Feb 18)
15 pts
Composition #2
1-page composition description & release forms= (due March 18)
15 pts
Revised Composition
1-page composition description= (due April 29/May 1)
15 pts
ITG Project Portfolio (due May 6) 20 pts
TOTAL: 100 pts

* comment sheets are deemed late with the deduction starting after 12:30PM on the day before the co-facilitation

+ for late summaries we deduct 25% per day the item is late (starting from the session following the corresponding co-facilitation session)

= these are meant to demonstrate the work you did to prepare for this performance, and must be handed in the day you perform. No late sheets will be accepted.


All who are enrolled in the course must mindfully, productively and enthusiastically participate in each session. This is critical to the success of the class, and it requires that everyone is consistently present in each class, arriving prepared to critically engage with the class topics, concepts, activities and materials of the day. Our discussion inevitably will build upon previous sessions so if you accumulate more than three unexcused absences during the quarter, you will not be able to pass the course.

Class Participation

Participation will be evaluated through your engagement in the class discussions, contributions through class preparation and group activities, collaborative efforts in composition work, and involvement in additional ITG activities (e.g. the Lens on Climate Change Colorado event February 27).

Roundtables: Comment Sheets, Discussion Co-Facilitation, Summary

During one of the nine (mostly Thursday) sessions during the semester, each student will work with about three or four others to co-facilitate a roundtable discussion of the week’s materials and themes. We will provide a sign-up sheet in the week 2 sessions in order to pick the week and theme for facilitation. This co-facilitation will have three main elements: 1) preparation of a Comment Sheet before the session,   2) Co-facilitation during the session, and 3) a Summary after the session

Comment Sheets

Co-facilitators will prepare how they tentatively plan to guide discussions. They must coordinate and draw up notes to distribute, providing a set of potential discussion points. co-facilitators should target approximately 2 pages of comments/questions and send them to the other course participants over email by 12:30PM the day before the session (24 hours ahead of the session). To post a message to the class, send the attachment via email to These comments will direct us all to what co-facilitators determine to be important and key themes as well as critiques and questions from the session’s material to discuss during the session. These must be prepared together.


Based on the co-facilitated roundtable discussion, on the Tuesday following the session co-facilitators will eachsubmit an approximately 1000-word summary on the content as well as the process of preparation for and activities in the roundtable discussion.  When turning in the Summary, note the word count at the top of the page.

Summaries must include:

  • Substantive treatment of what discussions and questions transpired in the session.
  • Discussion of how the roundtable session may have or may have not furthered critical understanding of the themes for that week. 
  • Reflections on your facilitation role in the session:  What worked in co-facilitating the discussion? What did not? What would you do differently the next time?


In groups of 3-4, students will create three Compositions over the semester.  These Compositions are original expressions that will take a variety of forms, to be discussed in class. Selected ‘Revised Compositions’ will potentially be included in the Inside the Greenhouse program to follow.

Each Composition involves three steps/parts:
(1) An informal “Pitch and Feedback” session- you and your group will describe what you are intending to do for the class and will receive feedback, be prepared to refer to your research or source material or an idea already richly explored
(2) A ‘Completed Draft’, which will be a fully completed version of your composition
(3) A Composition Description (see Appendix I) will be due the day you present your Composition. These 1-page descriptions are intended to deepen your critical engagement with your creative process.

Compositions will be assessed using the following essential criteria [developed by Liz Lerman]:

  • Was something revealed?
  • Was it fully committed?
  • Did the creator know why they were doing what they were doing?
  • Did the content and the form work together towards effective communication?

See Appendix II below for the grading rubric for each composition.

These compositions are designed to build skills in collaboration and critique.  Compositions will require us to also consider not only the work itself, but how we will make it resonant, meaningful and appealing to an audience, both live and in its final recorded format. 

Thus, as part of this process, we will work throughout to identify our audience/target market.

Composition #1 Lens on Climate Change
In this first composition, we will be collaborating with Anna Gold, Susan Buhr and David Oonk from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) as well as Lesley Smith of Boulder Valley School District through the Lens on Climate Change (LOCC) project. Students in our class (ITG students) will organize into eleven team and each pair with an LOCC middle or high school team located in schools throughout the Front Range.

At this stage in January, LOCC students will have been working on their projects for a number of months: therefore, as a prompt for ITG students, each LOCC group will provide a three-sentence statement about the project and three screenshots of their work.

These will be presented to the ITG students in the Tuesday January 28 class session and assignments of groups will be made at that time. This will serve as a guide for ITG student to then work to interpret, respond to, counter, relate to in their accompanying piece. Importantly, these responses will not be critiques, rather they will be reflections on the content/themes addressed from their group perspectives. The medium for these first compositions will be video.

On February 27th, the LOCC students will visit the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. From noon to 2:30pm (please plan accordingly) LOCC and ITG students will show their compositions at Old Main Auditorium in front of a panel of CIRES judges. (ITG projects will also be evaluated using the rubric in Appendix II by your instructors.) The corresponding LOCC group and ITG group will present their compositions side by side so there will be eleven pairing = twenty-two presentations total. The LOCC compositions have been limited to 5 mins each. The ITG compositions will be limited to 2 mins each.

Composition #2 – Multi-Modal Creative Climate Communications
In this second composition, we will be stepping beyond video to embrace and confront multi-modal forms of creative climate communication (e.g. performance, radio) and focusing in on audience
For this composition we challenge you to STEP BEYOND VIDEO and explore a wide variety of modes for communication, such as comic art, video games, public happenings, installations and beyond.
 We will experience a variety of exercises in class to help you generate ideas.  Ultimately, for the composition presentations in class on Tuesday, March 18 these multi-modal compositions will need to be recorded in some way in order to share with the class. The presentation of these compositions in class is limited to 3 minutes each unless a special appeal for more time is made in advance.

Composition #3 – This time it’s for real…
In this third composition, each ITG group will choose one theme/draft from your first two Compositions to take a third step, making a Revised Composition based on feedback received through the previous two steps. Each ITG group will then completely produce this Revised Composition, and it will again be reviewed by the class. In the final class sessions on Tuesday April 29 and Thursday May 1 they will also then by an outside expert panel.

ITG project portfolio

From this collaborative work, each of you will assemble an ITG Project Portfolio containing five+one=six items:

  • A description of genesis for each of your three Compositions 
  • A description of research that went into each of your three Compositions
  • Justification for chosen media utilized, decision-making regarding your Revised Composition
  • Recounting and interpretation of responses to your Revised Composition from outside the class (a least two different ‘real world’ sources garnered from focus groups)
  • Release forms for anyone who is featured in your video composition, even yourself (will discuss this in class), please label what composition the release applies to and give a brief description when necessary (ex. young woman in yellow shirt in composition entitled “El Verde”)

+ONE: You’ll need to deliver documentation/recordings of each of the three compositions to Beth and Max on the designated ITG course external hard drive. This will be stored in the Digital Media Services office in ATLAS (3rd floor).  To receive final exam credit, your compositions must be on this drive. 
The same criteria for assessment of these ITG Project Portfolios will be those used for the Compositions (see Appendix II). This final deliverable in the form of the ITG Project Portfolio is also set up so that course participants can creatively and uniquely engage with public-facing expressions regarding climate change and sustainability, in ‘real world’ environments by way of focus groups.