UBC Science prof wins national award for climate literacy MOOC

UBC professor Sara Harris.

UBC professor Sara Harris has won a 3M National Teaching Fellowship for her work developing an online class looking at the science behind climate change, and potential policy responses to the global issue.

Together with UBC colleague Sarah Burch (now with the University of Waterloo), Harris designed and taught Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations, one of four Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) UBC piloted in 2013.

“Climate change is, in my opinion, the greatest societal challenge we face today, and the MOOC provided a medium for thousands of people all over the world to learn, collaborate and exchange ideas both about the science and potential solutions,” says Harris.

Harris has also played a pivotal role in transforming undergraduate science education in UBC’s department of Earth, Oceans and Atmospheric Sciences through the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI).

“She is among the best I have seen, and I have seen some of the best everywhere,” says Nobel prize-winning physicist Carl Wieman in a statement announcing the award.

The CWSEI is a $12M initiative working with departments and students to improve science education at UBC. The initiative has worked with the departments of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Statistics and Computer Science, and across the life sciences, to transform more than 150 courses.

“The 3M National Teaching Fellowship is an incredibly exciting opportunity, particularly because it is a mid-career fellowship,” says Harris. “There’s an expectation of future work and collaboration to further teaching and learning.”

The award recognizes exceptional contributions to teaching and learning at Canadian universities. The full list of 2015 3M National Teaching Fellowship winners is online.

“She is among the best I have seen, and I have seen some of the best everywhere,” says Nobel prize-winning physicist Carl Wieman in a statement announcing the award.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia
silvia.moreno-garcia@science.ubc.ca
604.827.5001