Initial Publication Date: August 22, 2012

Teaching Oceanography Activity Review Process


The On the Cutting Edge program is conducting a thorough review of all our teaching collections. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive and coherent set of teaching activities that will serve the geoscience education community for years to come. The geoscience community has repeatedly asked for access to high-quality, peer-reviewed instructional resources, and reviewing our activities is our response to this expectation. NSF has also encouraged us to help design and implement review mechanisms as a model for other (geo)education projects. In planning for this review activity:

  • We have developed an on-line review that will facilitate the process.
    • Our basic review criteria focus on a) scientific veracity, b) alignment of learning goals, activity, and assessment, c) pedagogical effectiveness, d) usability, and e) completeness of the ActivitySheet to help instructors or students decide if this activity is appropriate for their instructional needs.
    • We have created a scoring rubric (Microsoft Word 37kB Aug22 12) to help calibrate reviews.
  • We know that we all teach oceanography topics across the curriculum, and hopefully the activities you've been assigned will address many of your primary interests.
  • Some of the activities we will be reviewing have already been reviewed by other collaborating groups appropriate to the topic (such as CLEAN). We also need to conduct our own more extensive review of these resources to facilitate search/browse/discovery functions within the On the Cutting Edge activity collections. But the fact that these activities have been previously reviewed by another group will make this task easier for you.
  • Our goal is to identify teaching activities that are truly "Exemplary," and through our reviews, provide guidance and suggestions to authors to help improve these activities so they too will be recognized as exemplary.

Review Process

The Teaching Oceanography activity review process will take place in two stages:

  • During April, prior to the workshop, ALL participants will be asked to review ~3 teaching activities. These reviews will
    • Be a tremendous service to the community,
    • Expose reviewers to a wealth of new teaching ideas, strategies, and activities, and
    • Demonstrate to the reviewers the attributes that characterize truly good teaching activities.
Please use your best judgment as a geoscientist and educator in reviewing these teaching activities. The goal of this review process is to develop the best possible teaching activities in support of all geoscience instruction. Please write your reviews in the same manner you would like to receive them--your helpful, constructive advice will be most appreciated. The goal is to identify resources that already qualify as being "Exemplary", and to provide authors with guidance and suggestions about improvements that could be made to move these activities into "Exemplary" status. *NOTE: Your reviews will be combined with the reviews of others by the executive editor for transmission to the activity author. So please avoid using the word "I" or making personal references.

All of the reviews will be done online using the review tool developed by Sean Fox at SERC.

1. We will pre-assign activities for you to review. These will be accessed via your SERC account. (If you do not yet have a SERC account, you will need to create one (opens in a new window). Please use the email address you used to register for the workshop and only this address, as your access is based on that email address).

2. Click on this link to access the REVIEW TOOL. Once you've accessed this tool:

3. Open the link to whatever resource you choose to review. The assigned ActivitySheet will open in a new window. There you will be able to see the description of the activity, contextual information, and access all related documents and files for you to review.

4. Use the "Review It" link to submit your review. There you will find a series of guiding questions to help you formulate your review. In some cases we ask for numerical scores; in other cases, text boxes are available for narrative comments. Please provide any constructive comments that can be used by the authors and editors to help improve this activity.

4. We have developed a scoring rubric (Microsoft Word 37kB Aug22 12) to help calibrate the reviews across this project. This should provide you some guidance in rating the activity in the five review areas.

5. Average time for a review has been about half an hour. Of course, the diversity and quality of activities may require that effort devoted to reviewing each activity may vary a bit. And the first one usually take the longest as you learn to use the tool and review the scoring rubric.

6. Some activities have been previously reviewed by other projects. That's OK! You can use the earlier review process to help facilitate your own review (i.e. make it a little easier). But, we do need reviews to be completed in the On the Cutting Edge review tool to help facilitate search and discovery functions in our own teaching collections.

7. Please pace yourself. The review process needs to be completed by May 1, so that we can begin gathering teaching activities and showcase the results during the workshop.

8. Conflicts of Interest: please let us know if we have inadvertently assigned you one of your own activities, or if there are other conflicts of interest that were not apparent to us. We can easily reassign such an activity to another reviewer and substitute another more appropriate activity for you to review. Also, let us know if you are having any problems accessing the review tool, or conducting the review itself.

Outcomes--What Happens After Your Review has Been Submitted

  • Each teaching activity will receive two peer reviews.
  • Associate Editors will synthesize the multiple reviews and forward recommendations to the Cutting Edge management team.
  • The Managing Editor will then: a) inform authors that their contributions have been recognized in our "Exemplary" collections or b) forward your recommendations to the authors with encouragement to make revisions to the activities towards recognition in the Exemplary teaching activity collection. Personal letters will be sent to the authors to recognize their contributions, and to perhaps elevate the scholarship of teaching and learning as an important component of faculty recognition (e.g. promotion and tenure reviews).
  • At the end of the review process, we hope that we will have a comprehensive and coherent collection of teaching activities that will be of the highest quality for use by the entire geoscience community and beyond!
  • And, we will have realized the long-term goal of NSF and the geoscience community of having a peer-reviewed collection of teaching activities!

Editorial Team

  • Dave Mogk, Managing Editor
  • Katryn Wiese, Associate Editor
  • Other Associate Editors to be determined
Associate Editor Review System Interface