Educating the Public on Arctic Challenges: Policy and Politics – Creating a Website

This semester we have discovered that the Arctic, a region which at first feels far away and peripheral to contemporary politics, is in fact central to the most some of the most important challenges of our time – climate change, the rights of historically marginalized people, international security, and economic development.  However, the general public still knows relatively little about the Arctic.  Arctic issues are generally not taught in K-12 education and courses related to the Arctic are relatively rare in higher education.

Throughout the semester, we have discussed the difficulties of communicating complex scientific and social scientific information to the public in a thoughtful and nuanced way. Your task for this assignment is educate the public about challenges in the Arctic region, and the political debates and policy alternatives that arise from these challenges. This is a group project based on your Arctic Council summit policy working groups. Each group will identify their set of issues and what connects them.  You will introduce your general themes, delve deeply into specific challenges, identify takeaway points for the audience, provide useful links, and encourage action.

Each group has a website template that includes several tabs to organize your material. Each tab is discussed in greater detail if you follow the link on this template. There is no pre-determined format for providing information within each tab and I encourage you to be thoughtful and creative.  The tabs include:

  • What are our Challenges in the Arctic? Main Themes, Questions, and Context
  • Arctic Issues and Policy Ideas (1-4)
    • Each group member will have a tab to present their research presentations with a brief text introduction, a few images, and takeaway points for their specific research.
  • Where is Arctic Policy Being Made and How Can You Get Involved?
  • How to Learn More: Useful Links and Resources
  • Acknowledgements and Works Cited


All members of the group will receive a grade based on the project as a whole and their tab within the website that focuses on their research.  The shared portion of your grade will be based on the following:

  • How well did you collectively synthesize your research projects into a coherent set of themes and questions?
  • Did you provide context for our reader/view, including identifying and defining key concepts?
  • How well were you able to identify policy venues where these issues are being discussed and identify ways for members of the public to add their voice to addressing Arctic challenges?
  • Did you provide useful links to the reader to learn more about the science, stakeholders, activities, and debates around these issues?
  • How accessible and engaging is your text and graphic design?
  • Did you provide citations for any images, data or other information used on your website in the Acknowledgements and Works Cited tab?

Each group member also will be assessed based on their own tab within the website, which includes their research presentation:

  • Did you provide introductory text and images to encourage the reader to watch your video?
  • Did you provide a reader unfamiliar with the Arctic enough background information so that they can dive right into the video and understand the presentation?
  • Did you help the reader understand the state of research on this issue? (Is it still on-going?  Who is studying these questions? What do we not know? Does it involve traditional Indigenous knowledge as well as Western science)
  • Did you reproduce key points from the presentation in the text?
  • Does your tab interact with and support the rest of the website?