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Undergraduate marine science education: Incorporating real-world data

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9 Author(s)
Brey, J.A. ; American Meteorol. Soc., Washington, DC, USA ; Geer, I.W. ; Moran, J.M. ; Weinbeck, R.S.
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The American Meteorological Society views introductory college-level courses to be important avenues for promoting scientific literacy among the public. Additionally, it is from these courses that future teachers often receive their only college-level training in the geosciences. As such, the AMS Education Program considers the development of high-caliber, scientifically-authentic educational materials to be one of its top priorities. In striving to reach that goal, the AMS has produced a suite of introductory college-level courses that engage students by investigating current topics in Earth science making use of the most up-to-date, real-world environmental data. Developed by the AMS with support from NSF and NOAA, AMS Ocean Studies, AMS Weather Studies, and coming soon with support from NASA, AMS Climate Studies, are introductory college-level courses available for implementation at undergraduate institutions nationwide. These highly-motivational courses place students in learning environments where they investigate the world ocean and atmosphere using real-world, current environmental data. More than 500 colleges and universities throughout the United States have already offered these unique courses, with more than 70 percent offered in online or blended learning environments. Each course consists of a fully-integrated set of printed and online learning materials. AMS Ocean Studies and AMS Weather Studies course packages each include a new, completely revised, hardcover 15-chapter textbook, an Investigations Manual with 30 lab-style activities and a course website providing weekly Current Ocean Studies and Current Weather Studies investigations, along with access to environmental data streams. The Daily Weather Summary provided Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters provides a comprehensive analysis of the synoptic weather in the United States for the previous 24 hours, as well as historical weather events of significance. The Weekly Weather - and Climate News and the Weekly Ocean News provide important late-breaking information from these sciences. AMS Climate Studies, which is currently under development and expected to be available fall 2010, will be comprised of a similar suite of learning materials. The AMS Ocean Studies Student Package offers a unique way to study marine science through the use of an inflatable globe. Oceanography comes alive in three-dimensions, helping the student understand complex oce?anographie principles. The Investigations Manual utilizes the inflatable globe in many of its activities, demonstrating concepts such as the Coriolis force, plate tectonics, ocean circulation and tidal bulging. Additionally, the intricacies of tsunami trajectories become much clearer when presented to the student in three dimensions. The newest edition of the textbook offers expanded, up-to-date topics including Hydrothermal Vents, Ocean Acidification, Thermohaline Circulation, Tsunami, Beaches and Barrier Islands, Global Climate Change and Arctic Sea Ice. The textbook is most typically used in conjunction with the Investigations Manual and course website, but can also be used alone in a traditional lecture-style course. Instructor support materials are available and include a faculty CD with a faculty manual, chapter test banks, textbook images and other resources. The faculty website contains answer keys for Investigations Manual and Current Ocean Studies questions. The Investigations Manual and Current Ocean Studies activities and test banks are provided in Respondus format, and can be ported into a college's course management system for automated scoring and immediate student feedback. This feature allows for full integration to a college's e-learning environment. The course can be offered by experienced science faculty or those new to teaching the subject matter. Collegial assistance from AMS staff and other course users is available to all new instructors. A simple licensing procedure all

Published in:

OCEANS 2009, MTS/IEEE Biloxi - Marine Technology for Our Future: Global and Local Challenges

Date of Conference:

26-29 Oct. 2009