Integrate > About this Project > Creation of Teaching Materials

Creating Teaching Materials and Examples of their Use

The first element of InTeGrate is to develop a new breed of teaching materials that can be utilized in general education courses, core courses within geoscience majors, courses designed for other majors including environmental studies, social science, engineering, and other sciences, and courses for interdisciplinary programs.

All of these materials will:
  1. address one or more grand challenges involving the Earth and society,
  2. develop student ability to address interdisciplinary problems,
  3. improve student understanding of the nature and methods of science and developing geoscientific habits of mind,
  4. make use of authentic and credible science data to learn central concepts in the context of scientific methods of inquiry, and,
  5. incorporate systems thinking.
These five items are referred to as the InTeGrate materials design principles.

Materials Development Teams

All InTeGrate teaching materials are developed and tested by teams of faculty drawn from at least three institutions. By engaging faculty who teach different kinds of students in different types of institutional settings in collaborative development of materials, we strive to create robust, flexible materials that can be used effectively in a wide variety of settings. This is key to creating materials that can be adopted easily by faculty who are not involved in the development.

Interested in developing materials?
See the Get Involved site for more information.
The team-based materials development process, which includes review using the Materials Development Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 113kB Jan18 14) and collection of project wide assessment data, has an added benefit of increasing faculty skill in materials development, teaching, and evaluation of student learning. It also encourages cross-institutional collaborations and leads to the development of more interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary teaching materials.

Each team develops and tests materials during a two year interval. Team members commit to participating in the collaborative design and development of materials, piloting and testing these materials at their home institution, and revising and refining the materials based on the results of testing. In addition, they are responsible for completing a comprehensive set of documentation that supports other faculty in using the materials, including a description of the use of the materials in their own classrooms.

Teams are supported in their work by a team leader who provides overall guidance and is a member of the project leadership team, an assessment consultant who assists the team in meeting the materials development rubric and in interpreting the testing results, the project internal assessment team who assist in the data collection effort during testing, and a member of the SERC webteam who assists with use of the content management system to create and publish materials and to manage the interactions among the team.

InTeGrate now has a well defined process for materials development, evaluation and testing and a full set of on-line information supporting development teams. Development and testing takes place over a two year interval. Typically materials are created during the first year, testing takes place in the following academic year, and is followed by revision and publication. Teams meet face-to-face near the beginning of the development work to 1) learn about the project goals and requirements for the materials, 2) create a common vision of the materials they will create together, and 3) create a detailed development plan, timeline, and communication strategy.

Module and course authors work through a series of checkpoints that guide them in developing increasingly sophisticated materials. At each checkpoint, the author team receives feedback from their team leader, an assessment consultant, and a webteam member. Team leaders serve as technical editors with an emphasis on guiding the development of the content and pedagogy. The assessment consultant reviews the relationship between learning goals and assessments and provides feedback to assist the authors in successfully negotiating the Materials Development Rubric. The webteam member helps authors shape the online resources that will support testing and ultimately publication and widespread use.

While this sequence suggests a series of discrete steps, there is more frequent discussion between team leaders and team members regarding individual elements of the lessons under development. Following successful passage of the rubric, the materials are ready for testing in the authors' classrooms.

The InTeGrate Design Rubric ensures that all materials are aligned with the project goals of integrating the development of Earth literacy and sustainability using cutting edge research and pedagogy. All materials must be judged as meeting the requirements of the rubric by the assessment team before testing begins. Learn more about the materials review. Testing is designed to ensure that materials are effective in reaching their stated learning goals as well as meeting the project's overarching goals.

Following completion of testing, teams generally come back together for a second face-to-face meeting to discuss the results of the pilot testing and develop a plan for revision and publication. At this time, they review their own reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the materials, work with their assessment consultant to make sense of the classroom testing results, and develop a detailed revision plan. With the plan in place, team members make final revisions completing the student and instruction materials. Like a journal publication, at this time, a summary indicating how the revisions address the challenges identified during testing is transmitted to the leader of the assessment team. He manages a final review by the assessment team, and a review of the scientific content. Once the materials have been completed to the satisfaction of the team leader and the assessment team leader, they are published and made freely available.

See further detail in our information for materials developers.

Types of Materials to be Developed

InTeGrate materials are being developed in three target areas:

Development teams are working on two scales: modules and courses. Modules are topical units of instruction lasting longer than a week but less than a full term. These scales allow flexibility in addressing the spectrum of curricular opportunities and needs. Where appropriate, modules are designed so that a set can be used to teach a full course.

The InTeGrate materials development effort will engage over 150 faculty from across the nation including no fewer than 25 faculty from two year colleges and minority serving institutions, including historically black colleges and universities and tribal colleges and universities. To ensure broad participation from the full spectrum of institutions across the nation, 75 positions will be filled using an application process. The balance of positions will be filled by invitation. The professional development program plays an important role in identifying both needed materials and potential team members. See the list of modules and courses currently being developed.

Several InTeGrate workshops are aimed at building an understanding of current teaching practices surrounding a topical of high interest to InTeGrate. These workshops include:

A major goal of these workshops is creating interdisciplinary communities that can engage in developing new types of interdisciplinary materials addressing geoscience and societal issues. To date, more than 15 workshop participants are involved in materials development teams that have been funded by the project. More broadly, the professional development program is building a base of information that can be drawn upon to develop quality proposals for new materials.


Format of Teaching Materials

The courses and modules developed by the curriculum teams will be published on the InTeGrate site in a standardized format. The first materials will be published in late 2013 and available for adoption in Fall 2014 (see these materials).This will include both detailed information for instructors on implementing the module as well as the supporting materials for their students. The instructor web pages include:

The student materials will take several forms:

InTeGrate materials are available at no cost under a creative commons license that encourages wide reuse and empowers educators to flexibly adapt the materials to meet their local needs. Copyright of original materials developed by InTeGrate is retained by the project.



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