Module 4: Knowledge and skills to practice

Module 4: Activity

As a way to pull together all the threads of the previous module, we invite you to use your time during this final week of the course to create a future story* about how you might design a climate change adaptation project in your region / domain. Your story could be anything from a one-page outline, to a flow chart, to a short slide deck. The idea is to take some time to think about a challenge you’re currently facing or might face in your work, and explore the steps you could take to apply a climate change adaptation lens to that work.

Over the course of the week, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your future project with the instructor and your classmates. You’ll also be invited to share it in a discussion forum, and offer feedback on the stories of the other participants. How much you participate is up to you.

When preparing your story, it might be helpful to ensure it describes:

  • The specific challenge or opportunity you’d like to tackle.
  • The key steps you know you’d need to take to succeed.
  • Expected obstacles you don’t yet know how to overcome.
  • Stakeholders, collaborators, regulators and other people you’d need to work with.
  • Required resources to get the job done.
  • The ideal outcome, along with measures of success.

When describing how you’ll approach solving the problem, it may be helpful to consider some of the core concepts we’ve covered in the course, such as:

  • Risk assessment.
  • Compound risks.
  • Impact.
  • Access to data.
  • Information supply chains.
  • Expert judgement.
  • Historic vs future perspectives.
  • Mitigation-adaptation interactions.

Again, your story can take any form you choose: text, audio, photos, video or even a webpage. Please don’t worry about the packaging of your story; the purpose is to see what you propose to do, how you might do it, and what might get in your way. You are encouraged to explore something that is relevant to you – a project that’s on your desk now, or something that may come up in the near future, so that this exercise has real value for you.

*Note that every story describes the experience of a hero as s/he solves a problem. While most stories are about things that have already happened, future stories simply describe proposed / desired approaches to solving problems in the future. In many ways, future stories are strategies.

Activity Schedule

Here’s a schedule of suggested steps to help you complete the activity. Note that all are optional; however, you are encouraged to participate in all the steps to maximize the learning benefit. Note: this is a sample of how the activity was run in a facilitated offering of this course. 


Sketch out your proposed project, including known and unknown activities and obstacles. Attend a synchronous web conferencing session.


Participate in a live chat with the instructor and classmates to pitch / discuss your idea.


Prepare your story, referencing the two bulleted lists on the Module 4 Activity page to guide your content. Don’t be afraid to identify gaps in available skills, resources, data, knowledge that will need to be filled. This is a learning exercise – it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers!


Submit your story to the Module 4 Discussion Forum. Include the title of your project and your name in the Subject Line of your post. (Eg. Stewart’s Snowcap Retention Project).


In the same Module 4 Discussion Forum, review and share insights about two of your classmates’ stories. Also – check the Announcements to read Dr. Cohen’s final course summary, including his thoughts about what the assignment revealed and future opportunities for learning.

Take some time to celebrate your efforts and to reflect on the course.


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Climate Change Adaptation Fundamentals Copyright © 2021 by Stewart Cohen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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