House with solar panels on the roof

Credit: Solar panels 1477987 by PhotoMIX-Company is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Do energy and sustainability issues capture your attention? Do you find yourself seeking out articles, books, and/or movies related to these topics? After learning about core energy and sustainability issues, as well as information source evaluation and rhetorical analysis, students in EM SC 240 get the opportunity to explore and critically evaluate selected media from contemporary culture that focus on topics related to energy and sustainability. These media selections will relate specifically to earth, material, and energy processes and how humans interact with them.

Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems

Credit: Ariel view of a flooded neighborhood near New Orleans by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Schofield is Public Domain

Course Description

What factors lead to a natural disaster? What causes a famine? Why do cities flood? According to a recent article in The Atlantic, Houston's flooding during the 2017 Hurricane Harvey was primarily caused by impervious pavement which prevents the absorption of water into the land. This example illustrates how nature and society are interlinked, which is the main focus of Geography 30, Penn State's introductory course to nature-society geography.

Course Description

This course presents an examination of ethical issues relevant to systems-based research procedures, professional conduct, social and environmental impacts, and embedded ethics in research and professional practice in RESS based jobs. In this course, you will consider case studies of ethical issues that can arise when engaging renewable energy and sustainability systems. You will also develop an ethics case study based on your area of RESS interests.

Sustainability and Non-Market Enterprise

Credit: White Windmill by fxxu is licensed under CC0

Course Description

The primary goal of this course is to provide a toolset for characterizing and strategizing how nonmarket forces can shape current and future renewable energy markets. The course approaches the exploration and explanation of key concepts in renewable energy and sustainability nonmarket strategies through evidence-based examples. Main topics for the course include: a sociological approach to markets, renewable energy markets, nonmarket conditions, complex systems analysis, and renewable energy technology and business environments.

Course Description

EME 807 overviews a wide range of contemporary technologies in the context of sustainability and examines metrics for their assessment. The course explores the main principles that guide modern science and technology towards sustainable solutions. It covers such topics as resource management technologies, waste and wastewater treatment, renewable energy technologies, high performance buildings and transportation systems, application of informatics and feedback to sustainable systems, and more.

Energy in a Changing World

Credit: Green city concept, cut the leaves of plants, isolated over white by kirillov alexey, licensed through Shutterstock used with permission

Course Description

What is energy? It's the hot in heat, the glow in light, the push in wind, the pound in water, the sound of thunder and the crack of lightening. It is the pull that keeps us (and everything else!) from simply flying apart, and the promise of an oak deep in an acorn. It is all the same, and it is all different. Sunshine and waterfalls won't start your car, and wind won't run the dishwasher. But, if we match the form and timing of the energy with your needs, all of these things could be true.

Course Description

EMSC 302 provides an orientation of the Energy and Sustainability Policy (ESP) degree program, preparing students for further study in the five program learning outcome areas: energy industry knowledge, global perspective, analytical skills, communication skills, and sustainability ethics. It also provides an introduction to the basic skills necessary to be successful in higher-ed online learning, including communication and library skills.

Earth Surface Processes in the Critical Zone

Credit: Blue and Gray Moon during Nighttime by Jaymantri is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Rapid changes at Earth's surface, largely in response to human activity, have led to the realization that fundamental questions remain to be answered regarding the natural functioning of the Critical Zone, the thin veneer at Earth's surface where the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere interact. EARTH 530 will introduce you to the basics necessary for understanding Earth surface processes in the Critical Zone through an integration of various scientific disciplines.

Materials in Today's World

Credit: James Webb Space Telescope Mirror 37 by NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham/Emmett Given is Public domain

Course Description

What materials have you touched today? In today's society, virtually every segment of our personal and professional lives is influenced by the limitations, availability, and economic considerations of the materials used. Through readings and science documentaries, this course will show you how and why certain materials are selected for different applications and how the processing, structure, properties, and performance of materials are intrinsically linked.

Course Spotlight

From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming (METEO 469) - learn about the fundamentals of climate change and its impact on societal, environmental, and economic policies. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Richard Alley

Dr. Richard Alley has been with us since the beginning, with one of our first OPEN courses - Geology of the National Parks. See what he has to say about the OPEN.ED effort over ten years later.