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Steffen W. Schmidt, Political Science, (515) 294-3825
Catherine Hunt, Continuing Education and Communication Services,
(515) 294-1039
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University is providing a free preview to a new online course on global coastal policy.

The course, which will be offered in June, has been created by Steffen Schmidt, Iowa State professor of political science. An avid scuba diver and ocean sailor, Schmidt is an associate of the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach, Fla.

Schmidt has developed several free, online samples of the course. Each sample takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and gives people an idea of what they will learn in the credit-level course. This is the first time Iowa State has offered free samples of its distance learning opportunities.

The samples and additional information are on the World Wide Web at

The first half of the course will cover how coastal areas are formed by nature and the impact of humans on these areas. Students also will learn about controversies over land use, constitutional issues regarding access to the beach, techniques for reconstruction of beaches, and debates about development vs. preservation, said Schmidt.

The second half of the course will examine global coastal and oceanic issues in various areas of the world, including the Black Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Belize and the Marshall Islands. The class will conclude with a series of recommendations and policy strategies for more sustainable and smarter coastal management worldwide, said Schmidt.

One half of the world's population lives on a coast and two-thirds of the world's largest cities are located on a coast. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that by 2010 the population density along the American ocean coasts will be 400 people per square mile. This compares to less than 100 per square mile in the rest of the country.

"This significant growth creates a host of issues affecting coastal life," said Schmidt. "Management of coastal policy in the United States has been disjointed at best."

Schmidt developed the course using digital video footage and research he gathered in locations in the United States and abroad.

"New U.S. and international coastal policy efforts require a series of smart, creative, bold and integrated policy-making initiatives, coupled with public participation, volunteer work, and cooperation with private business," Schmidt said. "This course will address all these issues in an interactive, convenient, online environment."

Registration information is available at www.lifelearner.iastate.edu/courses/summer02/pols.htm, or by calling, 1-800-262-0015 or 515-294-6222.


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