Creative climate communications
ENVS 3173/THTR 4173

Course Requirements

Online Discussion Co-facilitation
(3 pts - questions; 3 pts – co-facilitation; 4 pts – summary+)
10 pts
Participation in online discussions that are co-facilitated by other students 10 pts
Attendance & Participation
(including involvement in ITG project activities—5 pts counts towards your participation in Green Suits Your City)
10 pts
Composition #1
1-page composition description & release forms=
(due Tues, Feb 14)
20 pts
Composition #2
1-page composition description & release forms=
(due Tues, March 21)
20 pts
Composition #3
1-page composition description & release forms=
(due May2/May 4)   
20 pts
Project Portfolio
(due Wednesday May 10, 1:30pm)      
10 pts
TOTAL: 100 pts#

*= these are meant to demonstrate the work you did to prepare for each composition, and must be handed in on the due dates for each composition. No late sheets will be accepted.

# there will be 1-point extra credit opportunities for attendance & participation in seminars on selected Wednesdays at noon in CSTPR conference room during the term – January 25 (Jessica Smith), February 8 (Elizabeth McNie), February 15 (Deserai Crow), February 22 (Julia Schubert), March 8 (Jason Delborne), March 15 (Justin Farrell), March 22 (Jack Stilgoe), April 12 (Kathleen Hancock), April 26 (Sierra Ross Gladfelter)

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 term 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, participation in guest visits (e.g. preparing to ask one question of each guest), collaborative efforts in composition work, and involvement in additional class activities (e.g. the stand-up comedy event March 17 at 7:30pm).  Five points of your participation grade will be based on your successful contribution of a photo to our Inside the Greenhouse Green Suits Your City initiative that is in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Initiative. More explanation will be provided in class.

Online Discussions: Comment Sheets, Discussion Co-Facilitation, Summary
During the semester, each student will work with a group to co-facilitate an online discussion ahead of ten designated reading discussion sessions. We will provide a sign-up sheet in the January 19th session.

This co-facilitation will have three main elements: 1) preparation of Discussion Questions posted to the D2L Discussion Board at least 48 hours before class time for which that reading was due (for a Thursday class, post questions by Tuesday at 9:30am) 2) Co-facilitation of the online discussion, and 3) a Summary after the online discussion

In addition, all students will participate in each of the ten D2L discussions by (1) answering each question provided by the co-facilitation team, and (2) by adding a comment on another student’s response to each question.

Discussion Questions
Co-facilitators will prepare a 300 word summary of the reading(s) and 3 mostly open-ended questions to prompt comments online on the D2L Discussion Board for our class. Co-facilitators will respond to comments made online to their questions to invigorate the discussion. The summary and the questions 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. Please provide an answer to each question and comment on at least one other person’s answer before the class for which the reading was assigned.

Summaries of the Online Discussion
Based on the co-facilitated online discussion, each session co-facilitators will submit an approximately 400-word summary on the content of the online discussion.  Note, this is not a summary of the reading itself, but, rather a summary of the discussion and insights that emerged from that process. When turning in the summary, note the word count at the top of the page.  Due one class after a discussion takes place.

Students will create three Compositions over the semester.  These Compositions are original expressions that will take forms to be discussed in class.

Each Composition involves four steps/parts:
(1) A “Pitch and Feedback” session- your group will describe what you are intending to do for the class and will receive feedback; be prepared to refer to your research/idea already richly explored (3 points)
(2) A ‘Completed Draft’, which will be a fully completed version of your composition (15 points)
(3) A Composition Description (see Appendix I) will be due the day you present each Composition (2 points). 1-pg descriptions are intended to deepen your critical engagement with your creative process.
(4) A completed Confidential Peer Assessment form, with feedback from your group activities (as needed).

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 target audience.

Composition #1 More Than Scientists video interviews
In this first composition, we are collaborating with Eric Michelman and the More Than Scientists project (see website for more). This is a collaboration that began in the Fall 2015 ‘climate and film’ course, and has continued over the past three semesters. Composition #1 will benefit from the help of Barbara McFerrin at CU-Boulder. Each group will interview a local scientist (e.g. at CU-Boulder, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration etc) and depict a human/personal dimension of their work in an up-to-2 minute video. More information to follow in class.

Composition #2 – Comedy about Climate Change
In this second composition, we will be stepping beyond video to embrace and confront multi-modal forms of creative climate communication and focusing on humor/comedy as a vehicle for creative climate communication through the liver performance of comedy. We will provide the framework of a show that is about humanity’s relationship with energy as it impacts climate. You will be filling in the content with skits, stand-up comedy, or structured improve. Importantly, our work on composition #2 will culminate in a performance at historic Old Main auditorium on Friday, March 17 at 7pm – please plan accordingly (and for a tech rehearsal the evening of March 15). That evening, we will record these performances – limited to 3-4 minute acts each (unless a special appeal for more time is made in advance) – and those will serve as the final products for this composition to share with the class. More information to be discussed in class.
Composition #3 – Recycled Runway 8 (RR8)
In this third composition, individuals or pairs will shadow a young Boulder designer (grades 6-12) and interview them as well as document their work leading up to the show at 6pm on April 11th in the historic Boulder Theater. Groups will gather B-roll, documentation of process and interviews of the designers during two scheduled sessions during their Tues/Weds evening workshop time (6:30-8:30pm at Common Threads) in February and March, and at the dress rehearsal April 8th or 9th. Editing will take place in the weeks following the show, and completed drafts will be shown on May 7th [time/location TBA]. Products will be up-to-2 minute videos on each designer (to be shown at the event on May 7th), and two small group projects both with up-to-2 minute videos (one depicting process, to be shown at the RR8 show on April 11; another depicting the overall RR8 project to be shown at the event on May 7th). Students will select one of these options in class on Thursday, February 9th.

This program, subtitled ‘teens transforming trash’ because they make garments and accessories from found materials, is now in its eighth year. Recycled Runway is a guided independent study workshop for teens to make garments from found materials that culminates in an impressive fashion showcase for the Boulder community. Workshops are led from mid-February by Rachel Lubanowski and Tanja Leonard at Common Threads in downtown Boulder. More information to be discussed in class.

Creative Climate Communications final project portfolio
From this collaborative work, each will assemble a Project Portfolio containing four+one=five items:

  1. A description of process behind each of your three Compositions, and the research that went into them (approximately 500 words each = 1500 words total)
  2. A recounting and interpretation of responses to your three Compositions from fellow participants in the class in ‘pitch & feedback’ and elsewhere (approx. 250 words each = 750 words total)
  3. A re-worked composition #1 or #3 based on feedback from instructors (and in the case of composition #1 from Eric Michelman) = successfully improved work will earn a bump up of a letter grade on that composition grade
  4. Release forms for anyone who is featured in your compositions, even yourself (we 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 the TA and/or Barbara McFerrin (for composition #1) from your hard drive to our designated external hard drive. More details to follow. To receive final exam credit, your compositions must be on this drive and clearly marked ‘composition_[x]_[title]_[lastname(s)]’. 
The same criteria for assessment of these Creative Climate Communication Final Project Portfolios will be those used for the Compositions (see Appendix II).