Wednesday Poster Session
Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Beren Auditorium
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Poster Session
Presenters will hang their posters by 8:30am (the hall will be open to presenters at 8:00am), and the Poster Hall will be open throughout the day.
Geoscience Education Research
The Mineralogy Concept Inventory: a statistically validated concept inventory to measure learning gains
Emily Scribner, Clemson University
Sara Harris, University of British Columbia
Since 2007, an initiative to improve science education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) has prompted a shift towards more learner-centred pedagogies in undergraduate courses, including introductory mineralogy. To assess the impact on student learning, we developed a statistically-validated mineralogy concept inventory and implemented it as a pre- and post-assessment in two settings: (1) at UBC, which uses learner-centred pedagogy, and (2) at another university (UX), which has similar course content but uses more traditional, instructor-centred teaching methods. Items on the Mineralogy Concept Inventory (MCI) were created through consultation with experts from both universities and think-aloud interviews with students. Grounded theory and Rasch analysis were used to validate the items. As much as possible, the item answers and distractors were written using student language, so as not to confuse the comprehension of technical jargon with the understanding of concepts. Rasch analysis was used to generate a scaled test score that more accurately reflects the difficulty of questions. All questions were analyzed for differential item functioning to ensure that the test is not biased towards any subset of the population. The pre- and post-assessment was administered to 88 students at UBC and 63 students at UX. Results from the pre- and post-assessment indicate that UBC had significantly higher learning gains than UX (normalized learning gain of +0.56 and +0.33 respectively; effect size of 2.64 and 1.43 respectively). Interestingly, UBC had a lower average score on the pre-assessment, likely because enrolment in the mineralogy course requires no geology pre-requisites, while students at UX are required to take at least one 100-level geology course. This suggests that instructional methods can overcome a lack of prior knowledge. The MCI is a validated concept inventory that can be implemented in any introductory mineralogy course to assess prior knowledge and learning gains.
Water in Society: Undergraduate Learning and Reasoning about Socio-hydrological Issues
Destini Petitt, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Diane Lally, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Cory Forbes, The University of Texas at Arlington
Nicholas Brozovic, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Trenton Franz, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Societies today face an array of global, water-related challenges with significant scientific dimensions and spanning the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus (FEW-Nexus). To prepare students to become tomorrow's global citizens, post-secondary learning experiences for undergraduate students must provide them with opportunities to learn and reason about socio-hydrological issues such as agricultural water use, water quality, and water security. However, undergraduate courses designed to cultivate water literacy are few and far between. To begin to address this need, we are engaged in a 3-year, NSF-funded project focused on the iterative design, implementation, and study of a new, introductory (100-level), interdisciplinary course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Here, we report on discipline-based education research from the first iteration of the course focused on the scientific, social, economic, and policy dimensions of water, during which we engaged a diverse population of students (n=45) from a variety of majors, and backgrounds. Principles of effective undergraduate STEM instruction include: socio-hydrological systems, student engagement with authentic hydrological data, and computer-based models. We draw upon these constructs, data, and models to investigate (1) undergraduate students' science content knowledge, (2) reasoning about socio-hydrological issues, and (3) model-based reasoning and content retention. Findings illustrate growth in students' science content knowledge over the course of the semester, as well as important relationships between it and their model-based and socio-hydrological reasoning, all of which are core characteristics of the FEW-Nexus. Gain scores for pre/post assessments of students' content knowledge were predictive of their reasoning about a complex, real-world socio-hydrological issue. However, relationships between students' science content knowledge and model-based reasoning about water systems differed significantly across two projects involving computer-based simulations. We use these empirical findings to consider challenges and opportunities in the design of the course, particularly the integration of scientific and non-scientific dimensions of real-world socio-hydrological challenges.
Improving of student accuracy at determining soil texture by feel
Judith Turk, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Rebecca Young, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Determining the soil texture by feel is an important field skill for soil scientists and other earth scientists, but it is difficult for students to master. Current instructional tools include flowcharts and keys that guide students to identify the textural class. These rely on subjective observations of the soil that can be confusing to students, such as whether it is "somewhat" or "very" gritty. The hypothesis of this study is that a quantitative approach to texture-by-feel will be easier for students to learn because it is less subjective and allows for more informative feedback, including the direction of magnitude of errors. We have developed methods for estimating sand and clay percentage directly. Sand is estimated visually, by washing the sample in the palm of the hand to remove silt and clay, then comparing the remaining sand to a photo reference chart. Clay is estimated through the ribbon test, in which the sample is pushed between the thumb and fore-finger forming a ribbon. Soils with more clay produce a longer ribbon. Students self-calibrate by measuring the ribbon length on a set of standards and determining the regression equation relating ribbon length to clay percentage. The sand and clay percentages can be used to read the texture triangle and determine the textural class. Preliminary results indicate that the quantitative approach to texture-by-feel can be accurate and easy for students to learn.
Understanding and Fostering Geoscience Student attitudes toward Agricultural Careers
Jeremy Aber, Middle Tennessee State University
Henrique Momm, Middle Tennessee State University
Racha El Kadiri, Middle Tennessee State University
Dawn Lemke, Alabama A & M University
Recent studies have shown only three percent of college graduates would consider a career in agriculture. Conversely, the overwhelming challenge for increased food production is being met with technological advancements supported by professionals with a wide range of expertise, including geospatial technology. To instigate interest in Geosciences students for careers in agriculture, we employed a multi-level approach from freshmen to graduate level. Teaching modules have been developed for geosciences program, including courses focused on geographic information systems, remote sensing, watershed modeling and management, and hydrogeology. Each of these courses touches on agricultural topics in their own way, whether they relate to basic knowledge, practices, or modeling tool application; the content of the modules highlights related agricultural connections to the course materials. Accompanying these developed teaching modules, surveys designed to quantitatively measure students' attitudes towards the agricultural industry and future careers in agriculture were developed and administered twice, before and after each educational module was presented. In addition to agricultural attitudes, surveys contain questions designed to measure knowledge base specific to each course and student demographics. Changes in students' attitude towards careers in agriculture applying geospatial technology, their demographics, and overall trend at multiple levels are discussed. Recommendations are provided on how these vital skills can be developed and linked with increased awareness and interest for positions in the modern agriculture practices, such as sustainable watershed management, precision agriculture, conservationists, and government and non-profit scientists/analysis.
Reasoning about Feedback Loops
Rebekah Banerjee, Temple University
Tim Shipley, Temple University
Understanding the role of feedback loops in the geosciences and related fields is an important yet challenging topic for students and teachers alike. Grasping the patterns that tend to arise in dynamic systems, and furthermore anticipating their relevance in novel scenarios, is a skill that students struggle to acquire and instructors struggle to teach. Understanding the central importance of a feedback loop to global and societal problems and their solutions is crucial for the classroom and for the broader public. How students reason about feedback loops and how best to teach the implications and effects of feedback loops within a system is not well understood. We aim to develop a foundational understanding about how novices reason about feedback loops when they first encounter them. By characterizing the errors they make, we ultimately aim to provide direction for the teaching about feedback loops. We present novice participants with single examples of feedback loops and ask them to generate their own detailed examples. We will present an initial qualitative analysis of students' examples. We aim to characterize the progression of student knowledge from partial understanding to a more complete understanding of the functioning of feedback loops within a complex system. We will discuss some potential applications for classroom activities that might support targeted aspects of feedback loop reasoning.
Using Galvanic Skin Sensors to Measure Engagement and Learning Outcomes During Teacher Workshops and Undergraduate Classes about Climate Science
Ariel Morrison, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jennifer Kay, University of Colorado at Boulder
Anne Gold, University of Colorado at Boulder
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Nicholas Soltis, University of Indianapolis
Climate science is a complex topic that requires system-level thinking and the application of general science concepts. Identifying techniques to improve climate literacy and learning gains is an emerging research area with important broader impacts. Active learning techniques improve engagement throughout the learning process. Lasting learning gains occur when both the cognitive and affective domain are engaged. But how do we assess engagement during science classes? Galvanic skin sensors are a relatively new technique to directly measure engagement and cognitive load in science education. First, we studied the engagement and learning gains of 16 teachers throughout a one-day professional development workshop focused on climate communication. The workshop consisted of presentations about climate science, climate communication, storytelling and filmmaking, which were delivered using different pedagogical approaches. Approaches included group exercises, clicker questions, videos and discussions. Using a pre-post test design we measured teachers' learning gains and attitude changes towards climate change. Each teacher also wore a sensor to measure skin conductance as a proxy for emotional engagement. We surveyed teachers to obtain self-reflection data on engagement and on their conductance data during and after the workshop. Qualitative data provide critical information to aid the interpretation of skin conductance readings. Based on conductance data, teachers were most engaged during videos and interactive work as compared to lecture-style presentations. Results indicate that watching videos or doing interactive activities may be the most effective strategies for increasing teachers' knowledge of climate science. Next, we will use the results from the workshop to inform a research study on engagement and learning outcomes in undergraduate science students. Do videos about climate science produce the same engagement peaks in students as in teachers? Preliminary results indicate that short videos may be an effective method of increasing classroom engagement and lasting learning gains in undergraduate climate science classes.
Undergraduate Perceptions of Climate Change
Steph Courtney, Auburn University Main Campus
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Creating resilient communities that successfully adapt to climate change will require a public is that is literate about climate change and the potential impacts. In recent years, a flood of information concerning climate change has become available, and yet Americans, the greatest per capita emitters of CO2, are among the least concerned about climate change (Wike, 2016). In this study, we examine the climate change knowledge and risk perception of undergraduate students at a large southeast-US university and compare these results to previously published results from undergraduates and the public using the same instrument (Aksit et al., 2017; Libarkin et al., in review). Additional items for analysis include the students' worldview, science education background, and perceptions of scientific source credibility. Using the results of the survey, we will select subjects from this sample pool based on their climate knowledge and perceptions for a planned future study. This follow-up study will include eye-tracking and other methods for examining students' engagement with climate change graphs that have been modified based on frameworks offered by cognitive science research (Harold et al., 2016).
Improving Scientific Literacy in Introductory Geoscience Classes with Data-driven Inquiry
Lily Claiborne, Vanderbilt University
Neil Kelley, Vanderbilt University
Ajayi, Moyosore, Vanderbilt University
Kristy Barnes, Vanderbilt University
Steven Goodbred, Vanderbilt University
Garrett Tate, Vanderbilt University
Inquiry-based learning is shown to improve scientific literacy (Brickman et al. 2009). Availability of cutting-edge scientific data and imagery online provides new educational opportunities to have students pursue their own scientific questions. We have created homework modules for introductory geoscience courses (physical geology and oceanography) in which students ask scientific questions, design methodologies, evaluate data, and draw conclusions using online images and datasets. Backward faded scaffolding (McNeill et al., 2009; Slater et al., 2008) supports the novice students as they learn each step of the scientific process, eventually gaining the skills necessary to carry out a full investigation independently, while still meeting typical goals of reinforcing key course concepts and of training students in broadly useful practical skills (i.e. using Excel). We assess the efficacy of these activities in improving students' scientific literacy using a modified Test of Scientific Literacy Skills (Gormally et al. 2012). Students are assessed with pre- and post-tests in the two courses across two semesters (four different instructors), and also in two biological science courses with similar populations as a control. We report preliminary results from these assessments, and we also report student perceptions of the value and transferability of the skills they are developing in the HW modules.
The Effectiveness of the Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox for Improving Spatial Thinking in Undergraduates
Elijah Johnson, Auburn University Main Campus
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Spatial reasoning ability is a crucial skill necessary for success in any of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) domains. Research suggests that the base level of spatial thinking ability is how students self-organize into their majors and careers (Wai et al., 2013), where students may select out of STEM domains due to the level of spatial ability they possess. However, spatial reasoning is malleable and, with training, could increase student participation in the STEM domains. One way to address the concern of student participation in STEM is through implementing interventions in introductory STEM courses that build spatial thinking skills. One approach to support the development of student spatial skills may be through using innovative technology that both teaches course content effectively and fosters improvement in spatial thinking. The augmented reality (AR) sandbox is an interactive way to teach geological concepts and perhaps spatial thinking skills simultaneously. Despite, several recent publications that have utilized the sandbox in the undergraduate classroom (Woods et al., 2017; Giorgis et al., 2017), there has not been sufficient research on the usefulness of the AR sandbox on improving spatial reasoning ability. This study aims to assess whether the AR sandbox can be used to develop student spatial ability through a laboratory-based research project. This study will distribute the Spatial Reasoning Instrument (SRI) (Ramful et al., 2017) to a broad base of undergraduate students enrolled at a large research institution in the southeastern US. The results of this survey will be presented where we will examine spatial ability with student intended major and their demographic characteristics. We will also utilize the responses to select subjects with low spatial ability in our planned laboratory experiments with the AR table where we will design training experiences targeting specific spatial skill development and assess participant's spatial abilities pre-post.
A comparison of self-reported teaching practices related to development of students' quantitative, data analysis, problem-solving, and communication skills in introductory geoscience courses at two-year colleges and four-year colleges
Kusali Gamage, Austin Community College
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
Rory McFadden, Gustavus Adolphus College
Community colleges are a main entry point to post-secondary education for many students, particularly for minority students, first-generation college students, students from low-income families and older students. Even though community colleges were originally designed to provide access to post-secondary education followed by transfer to four-year institutions, only about 29% of all community college students successfully transfer to four-year institutions and from that ~16% eventually receive a bachelor's degree or higher. Transfer readiness has been identified as a critical factor for successful transfer. Given the importance of academic preparation in transfer students, this study focuses on teaching practices used by 2YC and 4YC faculty in introductory geoscience courses in four key skills development areas: quantitative, data analysis, problem solving, and communication. The data used in this study were collected from a national survey of geoscience faculty administered in 2012 and 2016. There is little variation in self-reported teaching practices used by 2YC and 4YC faculty in non- quantitative problem solving and communication skills categories. Approximately 85% of faculty asked students to work on a problem of national or global interest in their introductory courses. In contrast, only about 1/3 of faculty asked their students to work on a problem of interest to the local community. On average, 60% of all faculty who teach introductory courses asked students to write a formal paper or abstract but relatively few faculty asked students to formally present project results in a talk or poster. 2YC faculty are more likely to ask students to present their work in a talk or poster given small to medium sized courses at two- year institutions. The greatest variation in teaching practices between 2YCs and 4YCs was observed in the quantitative skills category (use algebraic equations, conduct statistical analyses, use skills learned in a calculus course). Even though most faculty asked students to use some quantitative skill at least once during the course, 33% of 2YC faculty reported that they did not have students use any quantitative skills in their introductory courses compared to 25% of 4YC faculty. Faculty who have students use quantitative skills are also more likely to have students conduct data analysis. The infrequency observed in the use of quantitative skills in introductory courses particularly at 2YCs needs greater focus as this delay in the development of quantitative skills can hinder students to transfer.
Measuring the Reach and Influence of InTeGrate Materials on Faculty Teaching Practices
Kristin O'Connell, Carleton College
Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Kathryn Sheriff, Mercer University
InTeGrate, Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future, aims to dramatically increase Earth literacy for undergraduate students to better prepare them to address complex societal challenges. To achieve this goal, InTeGrate seeks to grow the community of instructors that teach about Earth in the context of society, utilizing materials and ideas developed by the project. The project sought to measure the reach and influence of InTeGrate materials and ideas on faculty teaching practices. Reach was characterized as falling in one of three categories: faculty who helped create InTeGrate materials and assessments, faculty who were "mentored" in InTeGrate ideas and materials to develop model programs adapted to their local context, and those faculty who accessed InTeGrate content independently through the website, webinars, and workshops. To establish the uptake and influence of InTeGrate, the project collected course data and reports from the material developers and the "mentored" faculty, along with "reach" surveys administered more broadly in December of 2016 and October-November of 2017. We see that the InTeGrate community is growing and, to-date, involves over 1000 faculty from over 700 institutions. These faculty report teaching courses that adopted, adapted, or were inspired by InTeGrate materials to over 70,000 enrolled students. All 50 states, Puerto Rico, India, and Micronesia are represented from diverse institutions including four-year colleges, two-year colleges, and minority serving institutions. These are conservative estimates of overall uptake and influence, as they only include respondents. Additionally, materials developers and "mentored" faculty reported that InTeGrate influenced the ways in which they assess and think about student learning as well as the types of pedagogies they use, and respondents from both groups indicated that experience with InTeGrate influenced the manner in which they plan their courses and the content they use.
Changes in interest and desire to major in geoscience during introductory geology courses
Andrea Grenga, Community College of Rhode Island
Karen Kortz, Community College of Rhode Island
Savannah Harik, University of Rhode Island
Brian Savage, University of Rhode Island
Previous research has shown that students' positive experiences in introductory geology courses may play a role in recruiting majors. This study aims to describe how student interest and desire to major in the geosciences varies throughout the semester based on two course characteristics, instructor (professor/teacher assistant) or geoscience topic. We created an instrument that asked students to identify the geoscience topic recently covered in class or lab, and then to rate their current level of interest and desire to major. We surveyed nearly 200 students in 13 non-major introductory geology course sections taught by 7 professors/teacher assistants (TAs) in a two- and a four-year institution in Rhode Island. The survey was administered multiple times throughout the semester, varying between 4-9 times per section. There was little to no upward or downward trend in student interest over the course of the semester in the different course sections. However, we found that interest in the geoscience topic was medium to high and that it varied by professor/TA, as well as by topic. Desire to major in the geosciences was low to medium and also varied by professor/TA. There was a slight increase in desire to major in some of the course sections. Our findings indicate that the professor/TA plays an important role in student interest and desire to major in the geosciences. Although our data show little correlation between situational interest and desire to major, we hypothesize that as students learned more about the geosciences, they became more receptive to majoring in it. More research is needed to identify what aspects of the professor/TA (e.g. delivery, culture, etc.) and what aspects of the topics have the greatest impact on interest, and whether or how these aspects ultimately factor into students' decision to major.
A plan to assess the impact of curriculum and department climate on undergraduate student learning
Alexandra Snell, Texas A & M University
Julie Newman, Texas A & M University
David Sparks, Texas A & M University
The Department of Geology & Geophysics (G&G) at Texas A&M University recently completed a curriculum redesign. A data-driven backward design process incorporated data from current and former students, department faculty, peer institution faculty, and employers from a variety of target industries. The G&G curriculum redesign established and aligned learning outcomes (LO's) for a set of new and redesigned core classes. We are currently beginning the processes of assessing the new curriculum, implemented in the Fall of 2017. We assess both the effectiveness of the realigned learning outcomes and department climate on undergraduate student learning, with the goal of creating a more inclusive and accessible undergraduate educational environment, and an engaged and diverse student community. The assessment of the new curriculum incorporates data and evaluations from both students and faculty. Assessment of undergraduate learning will consist of two parts: First, a Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) will assess course materials to determine if learning outcomes are met through an evaluation of course materials and student performance. Second, student feedback on learning and climate will be collected through three student surveys: 1) a course learning outcomes survey; 2) an annual department climate survey; and 3) a graduation exit survey. If CRC review of course materials and student surveys indicate that learning outcomes are not met, further review will attempt to identify possible problems. Items to be considered will include (though will not be limited to): inappropriate preparation (alignment of learning outcomes within courses and prior (high school) preparation); appropriateness of LO's; delivery of material (in the current or previous course); and departmental climate.
Evaluating Sands in an Introductory Earth Science Class Using a Remotely-Operated Scanning Electron Microscope
Mary Beck, Valencia Community College
In fall, 2017 and spring, 2018 earth science students at Valencia College in Orlando, FL used a remotely-accessed scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) housed at the Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy (FCAEM) as part of a semester long class project. Students looked at 15 diverse sands and Ocean Drilling Project (ODP) sands representing a variety of tectonic, depositional, and climate settings. The sands project was integrated into different earth science topics throughout the semester. Students began with observations of campus sand samples. Working in teams of 4, they used reflective microscopes to describe and evaluate the 15 sands. Each team also did a deeper investigation of one of these sands. Students used the EDS to determine elemental composition (provenance) of sands grains and quartz sand micro-textures (SEM) to determine depositional and climate associations for their sand. They used quartz sand micro-textures (SEM) of ODP sand grains to determine climate-related, ice-rafting mechanisms for deposition of sands to the ocean floor. Finally, the class used the EDS and SEM to determine provenance and depositional environment of the campus sand they collected on the first day of class. Assessment of learning and student attitudes was conducted in fall of 2017 and spring of 2018. Students completed pre- and post-assessments looking at the project's impact on student learning. The learning assessment included 6 questions (developed by using student responses to open-ended questions from 2016). Results for several of the questions demonstrated statistically significant shifts towards improved conceptual understanding. Students also completed attitude surveys at the end of the semester, showing a general shift from neutral to positive responses.
Assessment of student learning – field application
Lily Pfeifer, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Lynn Soreghan, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Michael Soreghan, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Our research, Landscapes of Deep Time in the Red Earth of France (NSF International Research Experience for Students project), aims to mentor U.S. undergraduate science students from underserved populations (e.g. students of Native American heritage and/or first-generation college students) in geological research. During the first field season (June 2018) formative and summative assessments (outlined below) will be issued to assist in our evaluation of student learning. The material advancement of a student's sedimentological skillsets and self-efficacy development in research applications are a direct measure of our program's success. (1) Immediately before and after the program, students will self-rank their competency of specific skillsets (e.g. data collection, lithologic description, use of field equipment) in an anonymous summative assessment. (2) Formative assessments throughout the field season (e.g. describing stratigraphic section independently, oral and written communication of results) will assess improved comprehension of the scientific process. (3) An anonymous attitudinal survey will be issued at the conclusion of the field season to shed light on the program's quality as a whole, influence on student desire to pursue a higher-level degree/career in STEM, and effectiveness of the program on aiding the development of participant confidence and self-efficacy in research design and application. We discuss herein the results of first-year assessments with a focus on strategies for improvement. We expect each individual's outcomes to differ depending on his/her own characteristics and background. Furthermore, some of the most valued intentions of this experience are inherently difficult to measure (e.g., improved understanding of the scientific process, a stimulated passion to pursue a STEM career). We hope to address shortcomings in design; e.g. Where did we lose visibility on certain aspects of the learning experience? How can we revise the format and content of our assessment to better evaluate student participants and improve our program in subsequent years?
Building a National Collaborative for Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW): Insights from a National Conference
Cory Forbes, The University of Texas at Arlington
Hannah Scherer, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ
Hui-Hui Wang, Purdue University-Main Campus
Nicole Sintov, Ohio State University-Main Campus
Christine Li, University of Missouri-Columbia
Kelly Millenbah, Michigan State University
Institutions of higher education must take a leading role in preparing all global citizens for the food, energy, and water (FEW) challenges of today and tomorrow. The Food-Energy-Water Nexus concept has emerged as a unique opportunity to pursue a sustained, systemic, and transdisciplinary education initiative, including program evaluation and education research, focused on FEW issues. This effort spans a wide array of contexts, including K-12 and postsecondary classrooms, informal and non-formal learning environments, and in public spaces. However, no systematic effort currently exists to study strategies, processes, and outcomes of education focused on the FEW-Nexus. As a result, little research has been conducted to understand teaching and learning in the FEW-Nexus. To address this need, we are cultivating a national network of scholars engaged in FEW-Nexus educational programming and research through the recently-established Multistate Research Committee (NCDC231) - Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW). NC-FEW will serve as a nucleus for efforts to 1) advance FEW education efforts; 2) foster FEW education research; and 3) enhance collaboration around FEW education and education research. In this presentation, we report of the outcomes of a national invited conference recently held in May, 2018, which brought together 50 participants from an array of disciplinary backgrounds to develop an overarching vision, mission, and goals for this network and growing transdisciplinary community. We discuss novel theoretical and analytical perspectives the FEW-Nexus concept affords by emphasizing emergent themes discussed at the conference – systems thinking, science-informed decision-making, civic engagement, and disciplinary concepts - as core elements of teaching and learning about coupled human-natural systems within the FEW-Nexus. We illustrate these key themes of this work with example programmatic elements and selected empirical data from geoscience education programs at partner institutions grounded in the FEW-Nexus.
Professional Development for Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students and Faculty
A visual history of In The Trenches, 2011 - today
Margaret Crowder, Western Kentucky University
In The Trenches (ITT), the quarterly news magazine of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, started with the goal to "provide a venue...to inform NAGT members about your best teaching ideas, resources or other special topics relevant to our profession that do not lend themselves to more research-focused journals" (David Steer, first editor of ITT). Nearly eight years later, ITT still holds to that goal and invites participants at the Earth Educators Rendezvous to come by and talk about both the history and future of ITT with its current editor.
NAGT's Journal of Geoscience Education: A history and a look to the future
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
The Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE) of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) has been published since 1951. Over its 68-year history, JGE has had twelve editors, several publishers, and two names. It began as the publication of record of NAGT, and annual reports and announcements were printed regularly in addition to articles; today, NAGT makes its officers' annual reports available online and produces an electronic newsletter. The nature of the content has evolved as the discipline of geoscience education research has emerged and grown. More than fifteen theme issues have covered topics like climate literacy, preparing future teachers, teaching in the field and in the urban environment, and broadening access and participation. JGE continues to evolve today in response to the needs of the community. The editors are seeking input from you about possible additions to the journal, including regular topical columns, book reviews, and highlights from research published elsewhere.
Supporting a Sustainable Future through Geoscience Integration in Non-Geoscience Courses
Michelle Fisher, Three Rivers Community College
Tara Holmberg, Northwestern Connecticut Community College
Jennifer Hanselman, Westfield State University
Deborah Rook, University of Wisconsin-Madison
InTeGrate and the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) project partnered to support the adaptation of InTeGrate modules across multiple disciplines. The QUBES project partnered with InTeGrate to provide an interactive faculty community called a faculty mentoring network (FMN). The Spring 2018 FMN supported its third cohort of non-geoscience faculty (e.g. biology, environmental science) with the integration of hands-on, data-driven geoscience materials into their courses. The InTeGrate modules, focused on earth science literacy, systems-thinking and sustainability, allow for the cross-disciplinary inclusion of concepts and the metacognitive development of students. Faculty participants identified modules and specific units to implement and developed a timeline for integration of activities and assessment that fit their courses. Two lead mentors provided support during the online group biweekly meetings by leading discussions, providing additional resources, offering suggestions, and guiding next steps. QUBES provided logistical support and most importantly maintained the online environment in which faculty could share ideas and collaborate throughout the project. The project culminated in a reflective Instructor Story by all participants which is included in the InTeGrate program's database.
NAGT Advocacy: Outreach to Support Geoscience Education
Michael Phillips, Illinois Valley Community College
Don Haas, Paleontological Research Institution
Wendi J. W. Williams, South Texas College
The National Association of Geoscience Teachers' (NAGT) mission has three primary goals: to improve geoscience education, to emphasize the relevance and cultural significance of the earth sciences, and to disseminate knowledge to educators and the general public. Since its inception, the NAGT has engaged members, the public, decision-makers, and partner organizations. The NAGT Advocacy Committee was established in 2015 to maximize the effect of NAGT's work on behalf of its membership. The committee monitors and supports initiatives at local, state, national, and international levels; develops position papers; authors letters of support pertinent to pressing issues; and works with other organizations on shared concerns. The NAGT Advocacy Committee has adopted advocacy principles and guidelines to assist the committee and the NAGT leadership in identifying and responding to opportunities to advocate for geoscience education. The responses include partnerships with other organizations, submitting letters of support at the state and federal level, and authoring articles for publication in professional publications. The NAGT Advocacy Committee is currently developing a strategic plan to improve its advocacy capabilities. The NAGT's overarching goal is to increase the number of members who participate in advocacy at all levels and to provide a structure and materials that facilitate members' ability to be advocates for sound science education policy.
Weaving New Threads into the Geoscience Community of Practice: Insights from Lightning Interviews at the EER 2015, 2016 and 2017
Kim Kastens, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
One goal of the Earth Educators' Rendezvous is to strengthen the Geo-Ed community of practice. A CoP is a group of people who share a passion for something they do, and build capacity for this practice through their interactions. During the Rendezvous of 2015, 2016 and 2017, I conducted lightning interviews with hundreds of conferees, probing whether and how the Rendezvous might be strengthening the Geo-Ed CoP. Questions were informed by an emerging model (Kastens & Manduca, 2017) that envisions CoP's as powered by reinforcing feedback loops. In 2015, 92% of the interviewed conferees said that, yes, they had met someone at the Rendezvous whom they would like to collaborate with, continue to be in touch with, or work with after the meeting. Most often mentioned forms of desired interactions were exchanging ideas and resources around teaching, or around science education research. The 2016 interviews probed the perceived balance between getting value out of the meeting and giving back to the meeting, and satisfaction with that balance. Ninety-eight percent of respondents reported that they had both given and gotten, with "getting" outweighing "giving" for most respondents (69%). All but a few (89%) were satisfied with their perceived balance. Newcomers reported higher get:give ratios, while workshop veterans tended more towards giving. In 2017, interviews explored whether the Rendezvous was fostering collegial feelings of belonging and accomplishment that could contribute to desire to give back to the community. When asked for three words or phrases characterizing their Rendezvous experience, prominent themes were "community," "energized/inspired," and "collaboration." Eighty-eight percent of respondents said that their motivation to contribute to future Rendezvous was 4 or above on a scale of 5. Collectively, these findings suggest that the Rendezvous is fulfilling its intended role of contributing to the development of a GeoEd CoP.
The Graduate Student Fellows Program: A Unique Opportunity for Professional Development in Evidence-Based Teaching Practices
matt smith, University of Kansas Main Campus
Aaron Koop, University of Kansas Main Campus
Kathryn Vaggalis, University of Kansas Main Campus
Danielle Chapa, University of Kansas Main Campus
The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at the University of Kansas (KU) recruits Graduate Student Fellows (GSFs) to provide teaching and assessment resources to instructors and faculty through two projects: the Course Redesign Consortium (C21), a community committed to student-centered learning; and TRESTLE, a multi-institution, NSF-funded project committed to promote improved STEM education at research institutions. The GSF position is a paid position that requires approximately 5-8 hours of work per week during the academic year. GSF's assist faculty in designing and evaluating course transformations, developing virtual portfolios showcasing faculty course transformation efforts, and producing posters that demonstrate course transformation results at an annual end-of-year symposium. The GSFs also assist with project logistics and data analyses related to C21 and TRESTLE. While other opportunities exist for graduate students interested in pedagogy at KU, the GSF program is unique as it allows for professional experience in designing student-centered classrooms with KU faculty and CTE staff. Graduate Student Fellows are exposed to a wealth of resources and knowledge on effective teaching practices and have the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with experienced personnel within the CTE. The GSF program also provides professional development of graduate students interested in learning evidence-based pedagogy and research practices in higher education. Lastly, by playing an active role in the CTE's ongoing education research, the GSF program demonstrates the value of graduate student contributions to faculty and institutional pedagogical innovation. This presentation showcases the GSF program described above and how the program has evolved and grown over the past five years, as well as highlights individual graduate student experiences and professional development attained while working in their roles as a GSF.
My NASA Data 2.0: Reducing Barriers to Access Earth System Data
Elizabeth Joyner, NASA
Tina Harte, NASA Langley Research Center
NASA offers petabytes of global Earth science data collected from satellites but accessing these data in a traditional science classroom can be tricky. After nearly 15 years of offering Earth science data to educators and students, NASA showcases the new face of My NASA Data (MND). This change features new and revised resources for exploring our Earth system from a phenomena-based perspective. Until now, MND's impact on learning was contingent upon the user's ability to manipulate the current data visualization tool, Live Access Server (LAS). This robust tool is populated with NASA data holdings that users can create custom microsets for desired time series, parameters and geographical regions. While many users are equipped with the technical skills to navigate this tool, teacher feedback identified the need to further develop this tool to better meet the needs of our users. For this reason, MND is redesigning the tool to offer a more intuitive user interface, align datasets to help visualize phenomena supported in the standards, and include more human-focused datasets so that users can see their communities in the data provided. MND provides online assets to help teachers and students access NASA data in a variety of formats. The (new) MND offers pre-generated graphs, mapped visualizations, animations, and processed data based on NGSS phenomena, providing the learner with the opportunity to explore concepts without being encumbered by the antiquated visualization interface. In addition, new and revised lessons allow teachers to access and incorporate NASA data in their lessons without having to teach students spreadsheet skills, have 1:1 student/computer ratio, or rely on computers that may have outdated/incompatible software. Come and learn about the exciting next steps for My NASA Data including activities, resources, and future plans for the new data visualization tools.
Data-rich societally-situated undergraduate teaching resources and instructor professional development for geoscience classrooms and field courses
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO
Donna Charlevoix, UNAVCO
Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College
Bruce Douglas, Indiana University-Bloomington
Ben Crosby, Idaho State University
Meghan Miller, UNAVCO
The NSF-funded GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues (GETSI) project is developing teaching resources and instructor professional development opportunities that emphasize a broad range of geodetic methods and data applied to societally important issues. The resources consist of modules for both introductory and majors-level courses and classrooms and field settings. Modules can take 2-3 weeks of course time total or individual units and activities can be selected and used over just 1-2 class periods. The modules include a variety of hands-on activities, demonstrations, animations, and interactive online tools in order to facilitate student learning and engagement. Existing modules are available online via serc.carleton.edu/getsi/ and include "Ice mass and sea level changes", "Imaging active tectonics with LiDAR and InSAR", "Measuring water resources with GPS, gravity, and traditional methods", "Surface process hazards", "GPS, strain, and earthquakes", "Analyzing High resolution topography with TLS and SfM", and "High precision position with static and kinematic GPS/GNSS". Another six modules on topics from flooding to volcanoes are currently in development. Modules, and their activities and demonstrations were designed by teams of faculty and content experts and underwent rigorous classroom testing and review using the process developed by the Science Education Resource Center's InTeGrate Project (serc.carleton.edu/integrate). All modules are aligned to Earth Science and Climate literacy principles. GETSI has run five in-person short courses for ~100 participants and five webinars for nearly 150 people. Many more short course and webinars will be conducted over the next three years. GETSI collaborating institutions are UNAVCO (which runs NSF's Geodetic Facility), Indiana University, Mt San Antonio College, and Idaho State University. Other partners include National Science Teachers Association and American Geophysical Union.
BLOSSM: STEM Education through Citizen Seismology
Jefferson Chang, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Molly Yunker, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Jacob I. Walter, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
The BLOSSM in Oklahoma program (Bridging Local Outreach & Seismic Signal Monitoring) aims to provide educational resources to public schools and free-choice learning environments, while supplementing the Oklahoma seismic monitoring network in areas of the state where coverage is sparse. BLOSSM is partnering with 100 sites across the state that will host mini-seismic stations (Raspberry Shake seismographs). During BLOSSM's pilot phase, we deployed 10 seismographs in museums, public libraries, public schools, and higher education institutions. Following these initial deployments, we are now organizing several professional development workshops for teachers in different regions of Oklahoma to deploy the rest of the 100 seismographs. Although classrooms and seismologists will use the data from this emerging technology to locate regional earthquakes, these mini-seismic stations will also be used to teach classical physics, engineering, science, and mathematics. There is great potential for students and teachers participating in BLOSSM to give back to the community, as they become increasingly engaged in local geoscience issues at the center of this citizen science and seismology project. As BLOSSM matures, we will introduce the SEEDS (Students and Educators Exploring Data in Seismology) project, which we envision to be a bilateral exchange of ideas between classrooms, where students and educators correspond regarding their shared regional, national, and international experiences. The correspondence between these "seismic pen pals" around the world will cultivate their scientific curiosity, expand their cultural horizons, and hopefully inspire the next generation of seismologists and engineers.
Pathways to Geoscience: Oklahoma Tribal Nations Regional Alliance
Molly Yunker, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Jefferson Chang, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Jacob I. Walter, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
The Oklahoma Tribal Nations Regional Alliance (OTNRA) is part of a larger network of regional efforts to build engagement, capacity, and continuity in local underrepresented populations through geosciences. Locally, OTNRA seeks to address the relationship between increased number of earthquakes and energy industry practices, and resulting implications for energy production and energy-related jobs in Oklahoma. Induced seismicity is especially important to Native Americans, who have a close association with the land and sovereignty within their jurisdictional boundaries. There are approximately 130,000 Native American students in K-12 institutions in the state. Although open to all students, we focus our efforts towards regions with dense Native American populations, to better reach this underrepresented demographic in the geosciences. Here, we describe Phase 2 of our proposal to refine the educational pathway toward geoscience careers, which were initially developed during the pilot phase, to create a more sophisticated pathway map that offers multiple opportunities for learners at all levels of schooling from pre-K through higher education. Inspired by a river network, the new pathway map shows nine interconnected streams that represent educational experiences of several activities span multiple age ranges. We describe each of the nine streams along the pathway; six of which is currently underway (BLOSSM, GeoXP, Geologists in the Classroom, STEM Summer Camps, International Research Experience for Students, and Native Science & Earth Systems course); the remaining three streams are new conceptualizations of potential geoscience-related educational opportunities that we plan to develop in the upcoming years in collaboration with Native community leaders (Community Open Houses, Pathways Panel, and Internship Program). Activities in Phase 2 of the OTNRA are aligned with other regional efforts under the EarthConnections Alliance.
Supporting Interdisciplinary Teaching about the Earth for a Sustainable Future through the InTeGrate Project
Monica Bruckner, Carleton College
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
John McDaris, Carleton College
Cailin Huyck Orr, Carleton College
InTeGrate supports teaching about Earth in the context of sustainability across the curriculum through curricula development and strengthening programs to increase undergraduate students' Earth literacy and prepare them for the workforce. To this end, the community-based project, supported by SERC staff and web tools, has involved more than 100 people and produced 32 rigorously-reviewed, classroom-tested courses and modules and 16 model program descriptions. Curricular materials combine learning about Earth and societal issues to explore topics including natural hazards, food security, climate change, environmental justice, and Earth resources, among others. Providing two-weeks to a semester's worth of material, they share a common format that facilitates using a single lesson or mixing and matching materials. Designed for adaptability in different settings, materials were created and classroom tested by 32 interdisciplinary teams (113 unique authors) from around the country and across institution types. All materials highlight InTeGrate's Guiding Principles: addressing grand challenges involving the Earth and society, developing students' ability to address interdisciplinary issues, incorporating systems thinking, developing students' understanding of the nature and methods of science, and using authentic data and credible science. To demonstrate larger-scale adoption of InTeGrate materials and Guiding Principles, 16 model 'implementation programs' focused on program-level goals like recruiting and supporting underrepresented groups in the geosciences throughout their academic career; bolstering teaching about the Earth at institutions with limited/no geoscience faculty; strengthening interdisciplinary teaching about Earth to better prepare students for complex problems they will encounter in the workforce and beyond; and improving approaches to increase earth literacy in teacher preparation programs. The collection provides examples for how departments can meet goals at scales bigger than a course, including challenges faced and how they were overcome, and shares project-developed materials. A set of workshops, webinars, and community-contributed reflections highlight how these materials have been used and adapted. https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/index.html
SAGE 2YC: Sustaining Faculty Learning
John McDaris, Carleton College
Carol Ormand Ph.D., Carleton College
Eric Baer, Highline Community College
Jan Hodder, University of Oregon
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
Norlene Emerson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
In a continuing effort to provide two-year college (2YC) geoscience faculty with the resources they need to be agents of change at their institutions and in their regions, the Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-Year Colleges (SAGE 2YC) project is strengthening its web resources to Sustain Faculty Learning. This section of the SAGE 2YC website supports STEM faculty learning and includes rich sets of links to resources on active learning, diversity and inclusion, building students' science identity, and broad overviews of the research literature associated with these topics. All of these resources have been developed by the project in support of the overall project goals: supporting the academic success of all students, broadening participation in the geosciences, and promoting students' professional pathways into geoscience. The materials have been developed as a part of face-to-face and virtual professional development workshops, and are paired with contextual information about how the project has designed workshop experiences around these materials. These new additions to the Sustain Faculty Learning section complement the SAGE Musings blog which explores issues related to helping 2YC students and faculty be successful and guidance for conducting effective professional development workshops. All of the resources are available via the SAGE 2YC website. http://serc.carleton.edu/sage2yc/strengthen_faculty.html
Using MATLAB to Teach Computational and Quantitative Thinking Skills in STEM Courses
Mitchell Bender-Awalt, Carleton College
Lisa Kempler, Kansas State University
Carol Ormand Ph.D., Carleton College
Teaching computational skills and science content in a single course is challenging. Adding to the challenge, many STEM courses incorporate advanced mathematics, unfamiliar hardware, and complex instrumentation. The expectation that students master skills and retain information, let alone apply what they learn in future courses and careers, can be a difficult task for the students in these courses as well as the educators who develop them. To address the challenges associated with developing students' comfort and skill in computation, MathWorks and SERC collaborated on a series of peer-led faculty workshops. As part of each workshop, faculty contributed teaching activities, resources, and strategies for teaching computation with MATLAB. The workshops enabled participating STEM faculty and undergraduate educators to leverage and reuse each other's tools for integrating computation into courses and curricula. In addition to producing a set of high-quality teaching resources available for reference during and after the workshop, the participants joined a growing community of peers interested in supporting each other in the pursuit of teaching computational thinking. Participants contributed materials such as teaching activities employing MATLAB code, presentations on teaching approaches, and course curricula. Resources are paired with strategies to balance breadth versus depth with quantitative thinking and computation languages and tools. Topics addressed include approaches to enhancing student success through cooperative learning, building student self-efficacy, and incorporating computation across a curriculum. The resources also showcase MathWorks tools for learning and teaching, such as interactive MATLAB tutorials and autograding software for MATLAB code. The collections and resources are freely available online. Educators are invited to contribute additional activities and course descriptions that illustrate how they incorporate computation and quantitative skills into their courses using MATLAB. To learn more visit https://serc.carleton.edu/teaching_computation/index.html