Environmental Statistics Across Continents
Christine Marie DeCarlo, NCSCE
For NCSCE's Engaging Mathematics initiative, Dr. Cynthia Kaus of Metropolitan State University, one of the project's co-principal investigators, will develop two versions of an Environmental Statistics course: one to be offered at Metropolitan State in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the other at the University of Seychelles, where Dr. Kaus was recently appointed as a Fulbright Scholar.
Even though the two versions of the course will be taught in different locations - indeed, in different hemispheres - Dr. Kaus plans two strategies to unify her efforts. First, she will design the courses to cover the same mathematical material. For the first year at least, the mathematics will be at the introductory level. In future iterations, Dr. Kaus plans to collaborate with a statistician to raise the complexity of the content for more advanced students at the junior and senior levels. Secondly, both the US and the Seychelles courses will be structured around a common environmental issue and theme, the use of wind farms.
Dr. Kaus hopes to have students at both Metro State and the University of Seychelles use wind experiment kits to gather data on wind farm efficiency and other variables that could help inform policy and practice, as well as improving the functionality of wind farms in both the Seychelles and St. Paul. The kits are manufactured by KidWind, a nonprofit organization located in St. Paul. She also plans to utilize web conferencing software, such as Skype, to facilitate communication between students at the two universities, so they may share their data, project results, and presentations.
Dr. Kaus anticipates offering these new courses in the spring of 2015. Subsequent course iterations will also be organized to allow students to work with local organizations on projects of environmental importance. For updates on how her courses develop, check future issues of the eNews and follow the initiative on Twitter @MathEngaging.