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Earth System Science Education: A continuing collaboration

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3 Author(s)
Johnson, D.R. ; Univ. Space Res. Assoc., Seabrook, MD, USA ; Ruzek, M. ; Kalb, M.

Since 1991 the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has led the Cooperative University-based Earth System Science Education Program (ESSE) under NASA sponsorship to develop courses and curricula in Earth System Science at the undergraduate level. At that time twenty-two universities were selected to participate in the Program with an aim to advance interdisciplinary views of the Earth as a system in the classroom. The courses offered at the survey and senior levels provide a scientifically based appreciation of topical issues in global change, and engage advanced students and faculty from different disciplines in addressing Earth science and global change issues. Over 4000 students were enrolled and over 100 faculty and staff were involved in teaching survey and senior level courses during the 1993/94 academic year. As the program evolved, the need became apparent for a shared repository of educational resources for Earth system science which would be beneficial to all participants, as well as to the broader global change science community. In 1994 the program established a server on the Internet with a World Wide Web Home Page ( designed to foster the collaborative development of educational materials and to assist the organization of relevant source material already available on the Web. The content and organization of the server is being updated continuously with input from the participants. In addition, a moderated listserver has been established to encourage communication among faculty participants, students and NASA researchers. Response from a survey of the original participants indicates that the program has been successful in developing Earth System Science Education and a forum for the discussion of courses, curricula and learning modules. In August of 1995 an additional twenty-two colleges and universities were selected to continue the Program through the end of the decade, building upon the success and experiences of the original program participants. In addition to the continued maintenance of the server content, the program is exploring ways to further increase its impact upon undergraduate Earth Systems Science Education. A prototype Journal of Earth System Science Education is being established with the goal of providing peer review, publication and recognition for the authors of quality learning modules. The ESSE Program is also preparing to team with other Earth Science Education initiatives such as Project ALERT and possibly the education component of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 1996. IGARSS '96. 'Remote Sensing for a Sustainable Future.', International  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

27-31 May 1996