ESIP Education Initiatives
Margaret Mooney, University of Wisconsin-Madison
LuAnn Dahlman, NOAA
Shelley Olds, UNAVCO
Preston Lewis, NASA Langley Research Center
Erin Robinson, ESIP Federation
Rebecca Fowler, ESIP Federation
Show Abstract »
The Federation of Earth System Information Partners (ESIP) Education committee strives to make data accessible and meaningful to educators. ESIP is a unique consortium of scientific organizations that collect, interpret, and develop applications for remotely sensed data. Over the years, ESIP Education has pursued numerous initiatives, including an annual workshop co-located at their summer meetings. ESIP members meet at a different location each summer, providing the perfect opportunity to reach a new group of regional educators each year. And since many ESIP members develop educational products, there is a clear benefit to fostering this synergistic environment. To date, over 200 science teachers from over a dozen states have participated in ESIP Education Workshops. In addition, numerous informal educators, college instructors and representatives from different Federal agencies have attended ESIP workshops. Evaluations garner high ratings and helpful suggestions that are incorporated into improving successive initiatives. The main 2016 ESIP Education initiative involves the use of recreational UAVs (drones) for STEM activities and science fair projects. This poster will provide an overview of past ESIP workshops and elaborate upon the exciting new 2016 ESIP Education "Drones 4 STEM" initiative.
Earth Rocks! -- Online Educational Oceanography and Geology Videos
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
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Earth Rocks! is a collection of online educational videos, geared toward introductory-level oceanography and physical geology lectures and labs. This creative-commons-licensed collection currently contains 65 videos, each focusing on a particular topic and ranging from 2 to 20 minutes in length. The videos incorporate a range of educational video design principles, including student pacing control and embedded assessment, and are available through the Earth Sciences Department website at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and Earth Rocks! YouTube channel. As these videos are part of active courses at CCSF, and feedback is continually gathered, they are regularly updated to fix errors or misunderstandings and improve overall educational value and content coverage. Initial video development was motivated by a desire to improve student preparation for class activities and discussion, when the textbook was left unpurchased or unopened. Paired with pre-class assignments and quizzes in a flipped-class model, we were immediately able to engage in more active learning, critical thinking, and problem solving in the classroom. We have also found the videos useful as exam- and skills-review opportunities for all our students, and they've been a boon for English-as-a-second-language students and students with weak basic skills, who can review the videos as slowly and frequently as needed. These videos have been in use at CCSF since Fall 2012, and we have 3.5 years of data on student likes and dislikes and frequency of use. We also can show correlations with student learning outcomes achievement, retention, and reduction in the gap between high- and low-performing students. http://www.ccsf.edu/earthrocks
Data-rich societally-relevant undergraduate teaching resources for geoscience classrooms and field courses
Donna Charlevoix, UNAVCO
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO
Bruce Douglas, Indiana University-Bloomington
Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College
Katherine Shervais, UNAVCO
Show Abstract »
UNAVCO (NSF's geodetic facility) and partners are developing and disseminating undergraduate teaching resources that feature geodesy data analysis and methods in order to address gaps in available undergraduate curricula and texts. The NSF-funded GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues (GETSI) project, in partnership with SERC and InTeGrate, is developing modules for use in introductory and majors-level courses that emphasize a broad range of geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues of climate change, natural hazards, water resources (serc.carleton.edu/getsi). Published modules are "Ice mass and sea level changes" and "Imaging active tectonics with LiDAR and InSAR". Three more in process are: "GPS, strain, and earthquakes", "Measuring water resources with GPS, gravity, and traditional methods", and "Surface process hazards". All modules are about 2 weeks long and include student exercises, data analysis, and extensive supporting materials. Geoscience field courses are being targeted in another endeavor to facilitated student learning of geodetic field methods. Over the last five years UNAVCO, Indiana University field camp, and others have pioneered the teaching of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) in undergraduate field courses. The TLS and newly added structure from motion (SfM) learning materials have been combined into a new "Analyzing high resolution topography" module for use in both field camps and academic year courses with field components. "Canned" data sets are also provided for courses that cannot collect TLS or SfM data themselves. All modules were designed and developed by teams of faculty and content experts and underwent rigorous review and classroom testing. Currently two more proposals are in review that would expand classroom and field topics to include a broader range of topics (e.g., volcanic hazards, more water resources, and ecological studies for classroom modules and campaign and real-time kinematic GPS for field courses).
Using GeoMapApp in the 21st Century Classroom and Lab
Andrew Goodwillie, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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GeoMapApp (http://www.geomapapp.org) is a free, map-based data discovery and visualisation tool developed at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory that provides students and researchers alike with access to hundreds of built-in research-grade geoscience data sets. These cover geology, geophysics, geochemistry, cryospherics, and the environment. Recent additions include LiDAR elevation data for Cascadia volcanoes, and updated earthquake tables. Users can also import their own data sets. Simple manipulation and analysis tools and engaging visualisations provide a useful platform with which to explore and interrogate geoscience data. For example, a versatile profiling tool provides instant access to data cross-sections. Contouring and 3-D views are also offered. Export options encourage students to include maps, visualisations, and data tables in their project reports and assignments as a means of backing up their claims with evidence-based support. An expanded Save Session function allows educators to preserve a pre-loaded state of GeoMapApp. When shared with a class, the saved file allows every student to open GeoMapApp at exactly the same starting point from which to begin their data explorations. A range of GeoMapApp learning modules is already available, hosted by SERC. For example, in one module, students analyse seafloor crustal age data to calculate spreading rates in different ocean basins.
Curriculum Design, Course Resources
A Walk in the Park: Earth Science Service-Learning
Eric Taylor, Kent State University-Stark Campus
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In an effort to increase experiential learning at KSU at Stark in the Department of Geology, I redesigned Environmental Earth Science as a service-learning course in conjunction with Stark Parks. My curriculum includes: (1) outdoor learning activities and projects at one or more parks in Stark county, and (2) online instruction through web-streamable videos via Panopto. Traditional face-to-face instruction is included when weather prevents outdoor experiences. I have packaged topics relevant to the features observed at the parks into learning modules that have both in-field and online components. Modules include weathering and erosion, geosphere-biosphere interactions, soil horizons, geology of Ohio, etc. Students in the course fulfill their service by completing a park brochure on a module of their choice for potential distribution on site to the general public.
The Story of the Earth
Dale Easley, University of Dubuque
Show Abstract »
Niles Eldridge has suggested that the reason creation-science wins over evolution in U.S. public opinion polls is that creationists tell better stories. Yet it was evolution that has led to humans' oral communication abilities. Written communication came tens of thousands of years later. Admittedly, written communication is more efficient and lasting, but the form of that writing can become more effective by taking advantage of the oral tradition, by capturing major scientific themes in memorable stories. Alan Alda, after interviewing scientists for 12 years on PBS' Scientific American Frontiers, helped create the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Alda encourages scientists to "skip the jargon and instead tell stories and make personal, emotional connections." This presentation will attempt to demonstrate the effectiveness of such storytelling in a geology classroom.
Professional Development for Undergrads, Grads and Faculty
Teaching our TAs: enhancing educational training for geoscience graduate students
Dana Thomas, The University of Texas at Austin
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As teaching assistants (TAs), graduate students are often the primary resource in a classroom and serve as the communication gateway between students and instructors. Importantly, they may later become college-level instructors whose primary teaching experience was gained as a TA. Historically there is an assumption that content mastery solely is correlated to teaching success, and, as such, geoscience graduate students typically receive inconsistent and often inadequate pedagogical training. Additionally, the majority of a TA's responsibilities are frequently unrelated to teaching. In response, and following an assessment of graduate student needs in the Department of Geological Sciences, we have (1) initiated a developmental program on teaching and learning and (2) implemented an "Instructor-TA Agreement" to improve communication between course instructors and TAs. To expose graduate students to research-based teaching strategies and cultivate a community of engaged educators, we have initiated a program of workshops that extends skills development beyond the annual TA training session. The workshops are developed and led by graduate students and include topics such as effective questioning; facilitating discussion; fostering an inclusive classroom; and teaching in the field. By taking advantage of existing weekly graduate student seminar timeslots, the workshops have an attendance rate nearing one third of the current graduate student population, significantly greater than the number of TAs per quarter. The departmental "Instructor-TA Agreement" serves at the least to outline in writing the course-specific responsibilities of the TA, and, more substantially, encourages the instructor and TA to discuss potential opportunities for the TA to gain teaching experience, such as through creating a problem set, facilitating an in-class exercise, or delivering a lecture. Our efforts are leveraged by the rich resources of Stanford's Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, which include university-wide workshop materials that we have modified specifically for the geosciences.
Communicating your Craft: Strengthening Recognition for your Teaching
Krista Herbstrith, Carleton College
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Effective pedagogy and high-quality research are crucial for student success. While traditionally it has been easier to gain recognition for research, both require outreach and dissemination strategies that can assist with strengthening your reputation and career pathways. It isn't always easy to find the time or the comfort level with self-promotion but it is important that educators gain recognition for their classroom work both within their department and institution and as part of the broader academic community. To this end, the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) can assist educators by providing an online community of networks and platforms to foster ongoing access and exchange of information; a forum to present your work, reflect on your teaching, and connect with peers; and a hub to learn about awards, leadership possibilities, and research initiatives. SERC works with educators to promote and capitalize on the importance of their pedagogical expertise. Stop by my poster to learn how!
Succeeding in Your Transition to Faculty Life with Support of the Community and Resources on the SERC Website
David Huyck, Carleton College
Monica Bruckner, Carleton College
Sean Fox, Carleton College
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If you are just beginning, or are about to begin, a career as a faculty member, you are probably wondering how to balance teaching, research, and other demands on your time, so that you can succeed without having to sacrifice your sanity. In fact, finding that balance may be the most important skill for you to master in order to be successful in academia. Fortunately, you can draw from experience of those who have taken this path before you. The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College hosts collections of many carefully-considered and well-vetted materials, as well as advice and information from experienced faculty, aimed at helping new and future faculty succeed. These resources have been developed with our partners and collaborative projects such as On the Cutting Edge, to help you manage all stages of your career. The collections include advice for key topics such as time management, developing a research program, teaching effectively, and getting tenure, informational resources about pedagogy to improve your students' learning outcomes. There are also example course descriptions and teaching activities that you can use or adapt to fit your classroom. You can find information about future workshops and webinars, or explore the collection of recorded presentations and compiled wisdom from previous workshop attendees. Connect with the wider community to share your experiences and ask for advice. SERC resources connect theory with the real world as you transition into these early stages of your career.
Professional Development for Undergrads, Grads and Faculty
How geoscience faculty learn about improving their teaching practice: Lessons from ten years of interviews
Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
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Recent studies about STEM faculty change strategies critique the uneven evidence of success for faculty development programs (Smith et al., 2014; Henderson, Beach, & Finkelstein, 2011). Evaluation of such programs have been censured for reliance on self-reported descriptions of teaching practice. Such descriptions are potentially inaccurate measures of actual practice (Ebert-May et al., 2011; Henderson & Dancy, 2009). However, such qualitative self-reported data may be ideally suited to interpreting a phenomena, such as how faculty learn about teaching. Qualitative research seeks to provide rich descriptions of complex circumstances collected through systematic inquiry (Patton, 2014). As part of the evaluation of the On the Cutting Edge Professional Development Program for Geoscience Faculty over 160 interviews have been conducted. The interview studies were conducted to investigate different research questions. Yet, each study shared a common mission to understand how faculty made decisions about changes in their teaching practice. This poster will provide a meta-analysis of these interview studies related to how geoscience faculty learn about teaching. These data situate attitudes about teaching and the role of trusted sources within the professional context of the faculty participant. In addition, the data provide rich descriptions for what a stance related to continuous improvement in teaching practice looks like in geoscience.
New Sustainability Programs and Their Impact at a Large Public State University
Tim Bralower, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
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The Pennsylvania State University comprises 24 campuses across the state. Students who are admitted to any campus are automatically admitted to the University Park Campus once they meet the entrance requirements for their major. The University Park Campus has a Geoscience Department with over 30 faculty and several degree programs. Several of the campuses also have Geoscience faculty. Two of the campuses offer majors in geoscience fields with plans at other campuses to add Environmental Science degree programs. Campus faculty play an instrumental role in recruiting students into the geosciences and providing them with general and allied science education. However, these faculty have high teaching loads and often struggle to fulfill student demand for courses. Penn State is also home to the World Campus which offers courses solely online to students all around the world including a large number of Military personnel. Penn State has led the development of five introductory-level blended and online courses as part of the InTeGrate STEP center. The courses constitute the basis of a recently approved Minor and Certificate of Excellence in Earth Sustainability offered in online format through the World Campus and in blended format at all the campuses. We are in the process of establishing an e-Learning Cooperative so that faculty at a campus can teach any of the sustainability courses online to students throughout the Penn State system. This will enable students to receive a greater introduction to, and variety of, sustainability courses at the campuses, and enable faculty to tailor courses to local campus interests and issues instead of that of World Campus students. The Cooperative is designed to provide lower faculty-student ratios and instill community among faculty throughout the system. Finally, this program will support the development of, and collaboration between, independent Environmental Science four-year degree programs at multiple campuses.
Backward (Re)design of Curricula in Geology and Geophysics
David Sparks, Texas A & M University
Julie Newman, Texas A & M University
Debra Fowler, Texas A & M University
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The Texas A&M Department of Geology and Geophysics partnered with the Texas A&M Center for Teaching Excellence to implement CTE's curriculum revision process: a data-informed, faculty-driven, educational-developer-supported rebuilding of our degree programs and course offerings. Our faculty of ~30 teach an undergraduate population that has grown to over 550 majors. We undertook the first complete re-examination of our B.S. degrees in Geology and in Geophysics since 1997 in order to adapt to rapidly changing enrollment pressures and to ensure that our graduates have a foundational training that will better prepare them for a shifting job market. Surveys of our faculty, current and former students, employers and faculty at other universities revealed that some of the most desired skills (oral communication and the ability to learn software packages) are also those at which our graduates feel least prepared. Enhancing these skills at a time of larger class sizes required us to consider how those skills are delivered and integrated throughout the program. We formed the Curriculum Study Group, consisting of faculty, recent graduates, advisors and curriculum experts, to gather and analyze data and define the knowledge and skill base a graduate of our department must have. We identified over forty indicators of knowledge and skills and grouped them into eleven program-level learning goals. For each indicator, we defined four assessable measures of proficiency (course-level learning outcomes) from novice to exemplary. From this matrix of measures, we built course descriptions that define the new curricula, and we are developing assessment tools to gauge the success of our new program. The major changes in curricula include: 1) distributing existing field experiences throughout the four years of the program; 2) strengthening communication skills in classes throughout the degree; and 3) creating a series of senior capstone courses focused on team-based research projects.
Connecting the Earth to Societal Challenges: New interdisciplinary materials from the InTeGrate project
Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
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One of the central goals of the InTeGrate project is to extend and increase the incorporation of geoscience concepts into the teaching about current grand, Earth-related, societal challenges beyond traditional geoscience programs. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of four, three-week modules and two-semester long courses that use an interdisciplinary approach to address one or more grand challenges facing society. These materials all have common design elements that are intended to: improve student understanding of the nature and methods of geoscience; develop geoscientific habits of mind; use authentic and credible geoscience data to learn central concepts in the context of geoscience methods of inquiry; and incorporate systems thinking. The Map Your Hazards module, published in 2014, integrates interdisciplinary geoscience and social science methodologies to engage students in place-based exploration of natural hazards, social vulnerability, risk and community perception of natural hazards. The Water, Agriculture, and Sustainability module provides students practice in using qualitative and quantitative information to assess water resource management and consumption practices, with an emphasis on agricultural water use. The focus of the Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources module is to investigate ecosystem services associated with local land use and its relation to water. The Lead in the Environment module addresses the system dynamics of lead within the human body, individual households, and communities using data about human health risk, the built environment, and the geologic distribution of lead. The Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability course teaches basic geosciences principles through an exploration of environmentally sustainable technologies. The Critical Zone (CZ) Science course examines the CZ, Earth's evolving boundary layer where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms regulate the landscape and natural habitats, and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources, including food and water.
Energy and Climate focus: Science department transformation
Barbra Sobhani, Red Rocks Community College
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At Red Rocks Community College, our science department has made an interdisciplinary effort to incorporate climate, energy and sustainability into non-major science classes through curriculum and program transformation. InTeGrate modules, new labs and active learning activities that deal directly with energy and climate have been incorporated for general science, geology, and physics classes of all levels. In addition to infusing existing curriculum, we have sought out undergraduate research opportunities for our students to offer interdisciplinary project experience. Some examples of this shift in focus include the following. Science and Society (SCI 105) is a lecture course that focuses heavily on energy and climate change and is taught using active learning strategies. A unit on energy and sustainability was introduced into our Integrated Science (SCI 155) course which is teacher education focused. This unit included a capstone passive solar project. Integrated Science 2 (SCI 156) was revamped to included InTeGrate modules and existing projects were expanded. ENV 110 is a lecture course on Natural Disasters with an emphasis with climate change, also taught with an active learning focus. The science department at RRCC also mentors student teams through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, working on high-altitude balloon projects, robotics and rocket payloads. A new summer research experience is in development with a focus on energy and environment. RRCC has also partnered with four-year programs to place students in summer internships and research projects in an effort to help retain our diverse students in STEM fields. These new offerings are generating student interest and excitement about energy, climate, and the relevance of sustainability in their lives.
Recruiting, Retention, Diversity
A Departmental Open House for Increased Engagement and Recruiting of General Education Geoscience Students
Rebecca Freeman, University of Kentucky
Sean Bemis, University of Kentucky
Frank R. Ettensohn, University of Kentucky
Peter Idstein, University of Kentucky
Kevin Yeager, University of Kentucky
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The University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences teaches several 100-level courses, primarily for non-science majors. These large-enrollment courses are taught in large lecture halls that provide little opportunity to engage students in hands-on laboratory experiences. Every semester, the department holds a 2-hour late-afternoon open house, wherein all laboratories have demonstrations, including earthquake monitoring, water testing, core examination, stable isotope analysis, a stream table, volcano demonstrations and more, generally 8-12 different activities in all. These activities, staffed by faculty and graduate students, relate to specific course content and showcase ongoing departmental research. Students are directed to appropriate activities for their classes and use a worksheet to reflect on their learning at each activity. Although students are offered extra credit for their attendance, along with snacks, we have been surprised by the success of the open house in attracting students to our department, with 300 or more attending in most semesters. We gain at least one or two new majors in the weeks following the open houses, and their diversity is higher than the general population of our usual majors. As high course enrollment is increasingly a university priority, we recruit students to introductory courses by encouraging currently enrolled students to "bring a friend" for increased extra credit. Although some come only for extra credit, many are enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn about departmental research. An added benefit is that our own majors also attend the open house and relish opportunities to visit routinely secured research laboratories. Our Geology Club and graduate assistants help organize and staff the activities, providing them with even more diverse learning and teaching experiences. This relatively simple activity has united various elements in the department, from senior researchers to freshman non-science majors, in an afternoon of celebrating the diverse opportunities in geosciences.
Programs supporting Native American STEM learning created by the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics
Diana Dalbotten, University of Minnesota-Duluth
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Since 2002, the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics has collaborated to develop programs aimed at supporting Native American participation in STEM fields, and especially in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. These include math and science camps for K-12, Research Experience for Undergrads program that takes place on two Native reservations, and support for new majors at tribal colleges. All of these programs have a common focus on collaboration with communities, place-based education, community-inspired research projects, a focus on traditional culture and language, and resource management on reservations. This presentation will discuss strategies that have been developed to put theory into practice in different programs and with various age groups.
Developing InTeGrated Curriculum for Upper Division Courses in Earth Sciences
Cindy Shellito, University of Northern Colorado
William Hoyt, University of Northern Colorado
Graham Baird, University of Northern Colorado
Joe Elkins, University of Northern Colorado
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The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science at the University of Northern Colorado is presently serving as an InTeGrate implementation site. Our focus is on promoting recruitment and retention in the Earth Sciences through outreach efforts and through the development of curriculum that is relevant and applicable to the interdisciplinary nature of real world problem solving in the environmental sciences. A part of this project involves the development of activities for use in upper level core courses that align with InTeGrate program goals and curriculum standards. In this poster, we share four upper division course activities implemented in Spring 2016 that have the objectives of enhancing relevancy of upper level course content and improving student interest and experience in interdisciplinary analysis and problem solving. Development of activities was a collaborative process among faculty and initial assessment data from the activities is presented. Activities include (1) a student examination of deforestation rates through the Holocene as a way of considering the evolving role of humans in climate change in a Paleoclimatology course; (2) a comparison of organic carbon content of modern and ancient sediment deposits in an Oceanography course as a prompt for examining modern fossil fuel creation and consumption; (3) an analysis of the need and scarcity of mineral resources and the resulting societal issues in an Ore Geology course; and (4) an analysis of the role of federal legislation (such as the Homestead Act and the Dawes Act) on land use and how changes in land use can obscure our interpretation of geomorphic processes in a Geomorphology course.
Growing the geoscience community through experiential learning activities with non-geoscience majors
Kelly Lazar, Clemson University
Stephen Moysey, East Carolina University
Cindy M. Lee, Clemson University
Mark A. Schlautman, Clemson University
John Wagner, Clemson University
scott brame, Clemson University
Patricia Carbajales-Dale, Clemson University
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Increasing the number of students intending to pursue a geoscience-related career path is critical to building a strong geoscience workforce. By providing opportunities for both Geology majors and non-majors to engage in career-relevant geoscience activities, we hope to increase the awareness and engagement of students in the geosciences. A three-tier approach was created that leverages the existing undergraduate research component of our BS Geology degree to gradually transform non-majors into geoscientists. The first tier of our approach will leverage extra credit activities for our introductory geoscience courses to encourage inquiry-based thinking, focusing on geocaching, technology-driven engagement activities, and other accessible learning experiences as a tool to engage these non-major students. Building on this effort, students recruited to the second tier of engagement will take part in non-major oriented project-based learning activities that utilize a 'citizen science' approach to data collection, geoscience problem solving with GIS, or geoscience communication and outreach. Students transitioned into the third tier of our approach will take part in formal undergraduate research projects in geoscience, which form a cornerstone of our BS Geology curriculum. The tiers will subsequently be linked together by our geology majors helping to mentor the lower tier students, and by second-tier students creating video content both highlighting research activities of the majors (third tier) and communicating the importance and relevance of geoscience to the first tier students (and, additionally, the general public). By investing in our current research program, we will not only strengthen research experiences for our current Geology majors, but we will also provide more diverse, engaging, and interesting projects to attract non-majors. Building on our existing BS program will also allow us to leverage our majors as ambassadors to non-majors and collaborators with geoscience professionals, thereby strengthening the overall geoscience community in South Carolina.
Recruiting, Retention, Diversity
SAGE 2YC: Two-Year College Geoscience Faculty as Change Agents
Eric Baer, Highline Community College
Norlene Emerson, University of Wisconsin - Richland
Jan Hodder, University of Oregon
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
John McDaris, Carleton College
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The SAGE 2YC project is building a national network of self-sustaining local communities of two-year college (2YC) faculty, including adjunct instructors, from a broad range of geoscience fields including geology, oceanography, environmental science and physical geography. These faculty will use evidence-based strategies to improve students' academic success, broaden participation in the geosciences, and facilitate professional pathways of students into the STEM workforce. Twenty-two faculty change agents at 17 2YCs are part of 10 teams who, in partnership with campus administrators, will work to implement such strategies in their courses, departments, and institutions. They will also develop local communities of geoscience faculty by leading workshops and virtual professional development activities in their region. The faculty change agents and others are supported through a series of annual workshops; follow-on virtual professional development opportunities including journal clubs, webinars, and informal discussion groups; and resources on the SAGE 2YC website. The SAGE 2YC website (http://serc.carleton.edu/sage2yc/) has resources on supporting student success, broadening participation, and facilitating pathways to careers. These pathways include routes into the geotechnician workforce, transfer to four-year and graduate programs, and advancement into professional geoscience careers. Webpages on promoting successful transfer include strategies for supporting students as they make the move from the 2YC to bachelors-granting four-year colleges/universities (4YCUs) and including pages that profile GeoPaths programs that support 2YC-4YCU student transfer. The wider geoscience education community can be part of the SAGE 2YC project by participating in virtual professional development activities, joining one of the regional SAGE 2YC communities, attending future workshops at professional meetings, and using and contributing to the SAGE 2YC web resources. In addition, we will be recruiting a second cohort of faculty change agents in 2017.
Geo-Needs: A Synthesized Ideal Model for Broadening Participation in the Geosciences at Two-Year and Minority-Serving Institutions
Andrew Bentley, University of Northern Colorado
Heather Petcovic, Western Michigan University
Xai Her, Northern Illinois University
Sheldon Turner, Triton College
Nicole LaDue, Northern Illinois University
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
Tina Cartwright, Marshall University
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Employment opportunities in the geosciences are rapidly expanding, yet underrepresented minorities continue to make up ~8% of the geoscience-related workforce. Our project focuses specifically on the lack of geoscience programs at two year colleges (2YCs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The Geo-Needs project has two overarching goals: (1) identify obstacles for starting or maintaining geoscience programs at 2YCs and MSIs, and (2) create an 'ideal model' of resources, partnerships, and other support to overcome these obstacles. Focus groups held in August 2015 brought administrators, instructors, geoscience education resource providers, and education researchers together to discuss barriers, opportunities, and the ideal model. Attendees identified underpreparation of minority students for higher education, specifically in quantitative skills, as a barrier to participation in the geosciences. To overcome this barrier, participants recommended moving from a 'deficit' model of students (a focus on what students lack) to one that recognizes the skills and strengths that students bring to the educational setting. Participants also noted a need for professional development and support for instructors to prepare place-based curricula relevant to the lives and local situations of minority students. Finally, participants recognized a need for more proactive marketing of geoscience opportunities both on and off campus by increasing their personal involvement in outreach, recruitment, and retention efforts. The 'ideal model' developed by participants included faculty, students, administrators/staff, employers, local community, geoscience professional organizations, funding agencies, and geoscience research partners as stakeholders. Education researchers and resource providers were not perceived as stakeholders, but as facilitating stakeholder interactions. Connections between these stakeholders included funding, non-financial incentives, outreach, and information. For example, all models stressed a need for funding support from the geoscience workforce directly to students and geoscience departments. The 'ideal model' has the potential to be a framework for building and sustaining geoscience departments at MSIs and 2YCs.
Alumni Narratives on Computational Geology(Spring 1997 - Fall 2013)
Victor Ricchezza, University of South Florida
Len Vacher, University of South Florida
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"A Course in Geological-Mathematical Problem Solving" (Vacher, JGE v.48 i.4 p.478-481, 2000), describes a course (GLY 4866: Computational Geology) which has been evolving at USF for nearly 20 years. In this study ten USF Geology alumni from multiple career paths who took GLY 4866 between 1997 to 2013 underwent semi-structured interviews recounting their memories of the course, discussing the benefits to them of the course in their careers, and outlining their views of what students should gain from this course for professional success. Narratives from successful alumni were sought to gain greater detail on the likely impact of GLY 4866 than surveys are likely to give. The responses of selected, successful alumni were also sought to help refine questions that are to be used later in surveys of a larger population of alumni. The information that interview subjects provided about the educational needs for successful entry-level geology professionals will be shaped into a series of suggestions for course and program improvement. The interview results illuminate trends that can be usefully grouped by job/career category. Regulators (3) had the shortest overall interview time, remembered the least in terms of specific events from the course, and had limited (but consistent) suggestions for student learning. Consultants (3) were the median group in length, and showed overlap in the content of their interviews to regulators, with additional details added. Academics (4) had the longest interview times, the most detailed memories from the course, and the most suggestions, possibly due to their using similar methods as course instructors. Course and program improvement suggestions and questions for a proposed survey have been assembled both to improve the GLY 4866 offering at USF for broader dissemination and to contribute to broader discussion of strategies for improving the quantitative skills and learning of geoscientists.
Research for Undergrads
Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences at Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City, Utah
Christopher Johnson, Salt Lake Community College
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Nationally there is a growing need for more geology majors especially from underrepresented groups. Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) is the only two-year college in the most populous part of Utah and is the largest institution in Utah serving underrepresented groups. In addition, most two-year colleges have low retention and transfer rates. To increase the number of geology majors, improve their diversity, and increase their retention and transfer rates, an early undergraduate research program is being integrated into the academic-year geology curriculum at SLCC. This research program is field-based, discovery-based, and is trending toward being a course-based undergraduate research experiences. For this research program, geology majors enrolled in the required majors-level classes were encouraged to enroll in the optional field studies class. Incentives include extra credit, an agreement that the final project will count for the final project in both classes, and a slideshow of past field trips. Students attend six lab sessions and four all-day field trips where they learn how to operate field sampling and mapping equipment – a hand-held x-ray fluorescence analyzer, water quality meters, flow meters, and smartphone GPS/GIS apps such as ArcGIS Collector. After the field trips, students use their new skills to conduct a research project where they identify their own environmental problem, develop a hypotheses, and design and implement a field sampling program. Students map, analyze, and interpret results; present a poster at the end of class for a grade; and present an improved poster at the annual campus science symposium. Anecdotally this appears to motivate students, is challenging for students and faculty, and appears to increase diversity retention and transfer. This program should be expanded to replace some existing lab activities in the majors classes and should be expanded into a formal NSF-funded study.
Utilizing the Paleobiology Database to Provide Hands-On Research Opportunities for Undergraduates
Christian George, High Point University
Callan Bentley, Northern Virginia Community College
Pete Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College
Rowan Lockwood, College of William and Mary
Laura Lukes, George Mason University
Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Mark Uhen, George Mason University
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Numerous studies indicate that student participation in undergraduate research experiences can result in increased recruitment and retention of science majors. Many undergraduate students' only exposure to science comes through an introductory science class where research experience is limited or absent. One barrier to research in those classes is access to materials; another is having effective lessons that convey the scientific method. Most two and four-year colleges do not have extensive fossil collections of their own, yet all have access to the Internet and to "big data" science initiatives, such as the Paleobiology Database (PBDB). We are in the first phase of an NSF grant to investigate how students' attitudes towards scientific research change after engaging in inquiry experiences using the PBDB. The PBDB provides access to a wealth of scientific data on fossils entered by experts from around the world, and will be enhanced by a new educational interface we are developing. As we examine how a large database like PBDB can be leveraged to provide research experiences to undergraduates, we are also developing a set of data-focused lessons that can be incorporated into introductory and advanced undergraduate classes. The lessons will be modular so that they can be utilized as in class assignments, laboratory exercise, field investigations, or as homework, and feature essential skills for scientifically literate citizens, including critical thinking and data analysis. Here we highlight specific lessons that take advantage of the strengths of the PBDB. For example, we present a lesson focused on understanding biogeography through plate tectonics using Mesosaurus and other fossils that provided the first evidence for Pangaea. This project will help guide other large scientific databases in crafting research experiences for undergraduate students, and provide the means for other earth science programs, including distance education programs, to engage their undergraduates in scientific research.
Use of Data and Visualization in the Space Weather Classroom
Dorothea Ivanova, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott
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Engaging students in using real data to address scientific questions is an integral aspect of aerospace education. The goal of this study is to examine how space weather students used, analyzed, and understood real-time datasets and existing NASA visualizing resources to explore scientific questions during the last six years of the Space Weather course in the Arizona campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The Community Coordinated Modelling Center of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (http://ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov/) provides a number of tools to model space weather events. Using the tools online for educational purposes in a space weather course is challenging and requires initialization data from various sources. Data from STEREO /SECCHI, SOHO/LASCO spacecrafts, and from instruments on the International Space Station were analyzed and incorporated in modeling runs in the classroom to study space weather events. Currently, forecasting of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) trajectories through the solar system is an active research topic. Visualizing and forecasting CMEs, their properties, evolution through time, and dynamics is a fundamental aspect of the space weather education process. Our students, the space weather forecasters, scientists, and the general space weather community use the NASA searchable database. It contains many types of space weather activities, such as flares, CMEs, and geomagnetic storms. These events are the most vital for space weather because they can cause the most significant damage if they are Earth-directed. During space weather events students can also track auroras, space weather alerts, solar wind, and satellite imagery of the Sun using the data resources. Working with real research data teaches students how to describe and interpret the complex space weather data and the impact of the strong space storm events. Students learn skills that help them run the heliosphere models and understand how to analyze their output.
The Pet Rock Project, a course-embedded research project in undergraduate geoscience education: introduction to research, development of communication skills and means of programmatic assessment
Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University
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The Pet Rock Project, a course-embedded research project, in the junior-level Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology course at LSU has been a successful vehicle to provide all undergraduate geology students with a controlled research experience since 1996. The rubrics developed for assessment of individual students on this project have been repurposed to examine the level of attainment of the communication learning outcome associated with the BS degree program at LSU. The Pet Rock Project is a nearly semester-long project in which each student (or small group) is assigned a sample and follows the steps a petrologist would take to analyze and interpret a rock from a known area. After preliminary input from the instructor, each student presents the revised results of this study in a written form comparable to a professional petrology journal and in an oral form comparable to that given at a professional geology meeting. The limited scope of the embedded research project, a single sample from a geologically restricted area, provides the entire group of students with a similar research experience i.e. common geologic background and imaging/analytical tools. Consequently, this has engendered wide-ranging student-student discussion on many, often open-ended, topics. The acquisition of the data by the students creates an ownership that augments the experience. Since 2005, when this class was certified as communications intensive, the student experience has been further enhanced. A clear set of guidelines for writing a geology (petrology) paper was generated. Rubrics have been established for the written as well as the oral presentations – about half related to content and half related to presentation skills. With these guidelines and rubrics available to the students there is a clear establishment of expectations. In addition, the well-defined scoring rubrics allowed a clear means to assess the individual student scores on these portions of the course.
Student Learning Gains from Peer Lectures versus Instructor Lectures
Alysa Remsburg, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
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Student presentations to the class are common in college classrooms for many reasons, but faculty often wonder whether listening to other students present is effective use of class time. When student group presentations become longer lectures, or there are too many student presentations, the classroom is no longer an active learning experience for those who are listening. This research investigates learning gains by the students who serve as an audience for peer presentations. The research question is 'How much do students learn from peers presenting interactive lectures in comparison with an instructor presenting interactive lectures?' An interactive component, such as a game, was included in this 25-35 minute group presentation assignment. Seven student group presentations were interspersed over six weeks of class with four presentations of the same format given by the instructor, for a total of 11 different topic presentations of the same format. Presentation topics for this (Environmental Studies) Food Systems course were environmental impacts of different categories of food production. The same open-ended quiz question was used before and after each presentation in order to assess learning gains resulting from the interactive presentation. Out of 5 points possible on each quiz, student scores increased by an average of 1.96 points on the post-instruction quiz (SD = 1.23, n = 248), and whether student groups or the instructor presented the topic did not influence scores. Surveys conducted at the beginning and end of the semester also assessed student interest in each topic and preferences for classroom learning formats. Surveys indicated that students found peer instruction to be the least effective classroom method. However, these data suggest that with significant guidance and presentation parameters, students can learn as much from peer presenters as from interactive lectures by the instructor.
Teaching About Climate Change
Cli-fi: Teaching climate change using literature
Jennifer Sliko, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Jennifer Hanselman, Westfield State University
Rick Oches, Bentley University
Laura Wright, Western Carolina University
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As part of the InTeGrate program (SERC) at Carleton College, we developed a two-week module utilizing cli-fi (climate science present in fictional literature) and related climate data. Given the interdisciplinary lenses required to critically examine the 'grand challenges' facing society, our goal was to create a module that includes inquiry-based instruction, connections to current research, and literary representations of climate change to teach climate science. Through the Cli-Fi module, students develop a concept map illustrating the interconnectedness of Earth's system components, create graphs of climate data, identify different types of literary genre that communicate climate science, and complete a rhetorical analysis of a cli-fi short story. After completing these activities, students synthesize their understanding of climate science communication by identifying the best modes of communication for different audiences. Following the completion of the module, students gain an appreciation of scientific communication and use of logos, ethos, and pathos, in addition to an understanding of climate data and its connection to societal issues.
Reading History Within an Ice Core
Jason Cervenec, Ohio State University-Main Campus
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During this activity, teams of students are provided with one of two varieties of simulated ice cores that showcase some of the components examined by scientists. After a few minutes of free exploration, students are challenged to create a list of observations and draw a detailed diagram of their ice core which is shared during a series of brief, whole-class presentations. Groups are asked to determine which groups have the same ice from their diagrams alone, after which the cores are placed side by side for comparison. Provided with additional information, teams are asked to label the individual years on their diagram and create a corresponding timeline of events that occurred during the interval preserved within the core. These timelines are shared during a culminating, whole-class discussion. Objectives Observation and inference skills are critical to scientists. When communicating, clearly drawn diagrams and timelines can help convey information. One layer is laid down in a glacier each year. Older layers are toward the bottom of the ice core. Each layer contains information about the amount of precipitation that was received that year. Each layer contains information about environmental conditions in the atmosphere when that layer was created. This activity has been used successfully with the hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school students who visit our researcher facility each year. For younger audiences, the activity takes about 50 minutes to complete in its entirety. With older audiences, it serves as a brief introduction to ice cores before students are engaged in a longer investigation of actual ice core data. In either format, the lesson provides students with an opportunity to interact with and glean information from an ice core. Nonetheless, the lesson's greater goal is to demonstrate how scientists work to reconstruct Earth's past conditions using evidence that has been preserved in components of the Earth system (tree rings and ocean sediment cores are examples of other climate proxies) and that communication of that information happens orally and in writing. Many students recognize the similarity between analyzing ice layers with looking at stratigraphy in the rock record, content commonly taught in the middle school years. Our outreach team has fine-tuned this activity with a diverse group of students (elementary, middle, and high school; urban, suburban, and rural) over the past three years. Teacher feedback has allowed us to make improvements to the lesson and also recognize its enduring value to students who visit our faculty. All of the materials are low-cost, although a few minutes each day over a week need to be allocated to pouring the simulated ice cores. The principles that are taught in this lesson are applicable beyond the narrow domain of ice cores to the overall use of layering in the Earth sciences to understand past conditions.
Teaching About Climate Change
An Eye-tracking Study on Expert/Novice Differences During Climate Graph Reading Tasks: Implications for Climate Communication
Rachel Atkins, North Carolina State University
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Sarah Luginbuhl, North Carolina State University
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The communication of climate change is often a difficult task due to the interdisciplinary nature of the topic in addition to the challenges of communicating these topics with their intended audiences. Two aspects of communication that can be within the control of the communicator (often a science researcher) include the content and method in which science is communicated. Much of the information scientists present as evidence of climate change is communicated through graphs. In order to present this information more effectively, it is important to understand how novices navigate this data differently than experts. In this study, students viewed graphs displaying climate change information to determine their gaze patterns while viewing and answering questions. These were compared to gaze patterns of scientific experts (geoscience graduate students). According to gaze and fixation data, experts spend more time on task-relevant areas of a graph (legend, axes, data trends, etc.) than novices who focus their attention on task-relevant information such as graph title and understanding the question. Novice students who performed high on the pre-assessment performed more expert-like on measured metrics than their peers who performed lower on the pre-assessment. Results from this study suggest that in order to close the communication gap between experts and novices while viewing climate change graphs educators should: 1) alter graphs to allow for the data to be viewed more quickly and for a longer period of time by novices and/or provide text describing the graph or figure 2) provide specific training during courses that scaffold graph reading skills, or 3) provide more opportunities for students to explain and interpret graphs and figures shown in courses with an emphasis on formulating their own ideas from the graphs and applying prior knowledge to explanations.