Monday A: Course Development to Engage your Students

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm Ritchie Hall: 366

Session Chairs

E. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University
Tara Holmberg, Northwestern Connecticut Community College
1:30pm
Comparing Student Satisfaction with Textbook Chapters and Adaptive Learning Lessons in an Environmental Geology Course
E. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University
Amy Catalano, Hofstra University
Adam Halpern, Hofstra University

Show Abstract »

Educational technologies offer students an alternative to accessing supplemental class material through static print. More specifically, adaptive learning offers the learner a dynamic and personalized educational experience aimed to solve the fixed, rigid, one-size-fits-all synchronicity of printed textbook chapters. We studied student engagement and motivation in 17 participants in an introductory geology course. This mixed methods study surveyed students' satisfaction with two modalities of learning: textbook readings and adaptive learning modules. We hypothesized that adaptive learning assignments would increase student satisfaction and engagement. To test our hypothesis, we emailed students two separate surveys, three times each; one survey after each assigned supplemental reading assignment and one survey after each adaptive learning module. Surveys comprised sixteen questions, nine of which assessed geoscience personal interest – using questions slightly modified from Harackiewicz et al. (2008) and Mitchell (1993) by Sexton (personal communication). Preference and satisfaction scores show that students preferred the adaptive learning module as a means for engaging with supplemental content. Data analysis reveals that students significantly preferred the interactive modules over print. Results support future study designed to test our hypothesis in a larger sample size. Six students voluntarily met with a co-investigator for a qualitative interview. A majority of those student interviewed identified the interactivity of the adaptive learning modules as a contributing factor to the retention of concepts presented. This suggests students experienced a high level of cognitive engagement with the material.
1:45pm
THE POWER OF PLACE IN HAWAI'I: EMBRACING PLACE-BASED GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION
Daniela Bottjer-Wilson, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Barbara Bruno, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Pavica Srsen, Windward Community College
Donn Viviani, Leeward Community College

Show Abstract »

Drawing on the importance of place is a powerful tool in geoscience education. However, it raises the question: Can faculty who are not from 'here' effectively develop and implement place-based geoscience curriculum? Across the University of Hawai'i (UH) ten-campus system, most geoscience faculty are not from Hawai'i, while the majority of students are. Geoscience undergraduate courses at UH tend to have a primarily global focus instead of promoting learning that is rooted in local heritage, culture, and environment. That might be an explanation for why relatively few local or Native Hawaiian undergraduates pursue geoscience majors. Recognizing the significance of the 'power of place' in Hawai'i, we are developing and implementing a variety of place-based lessons into an introductory oceanography lecture and lab course (OCN201 and OCN201L) at Kapi'olani, Leeward, and Windward Community Colleges. Across lessons, we deliberately used locally and regionally generated datasets, media articles, scientific research papers, and videos. Classroom-based teaching was reinforced with field trips to encourage students to view science through the lens of traditional Hawaiian values, practices, and knowledge. One of the most successful and thought-provoking experiences was visiting a Hawaiian fishpond where students learned about this unique form of aquaculture that Native Hawaiians developed centuries ago to provide food for their communities. As non-local, non-Native Hawaiian instructors, we lack profound cultural, social, and spiritual ties to Hawai'i. Recognizing this was a serious barrier, we proactively connected with colleagues, students and the community in addition to seeking professional development opportunities in place-based teaching and research. The goal of this presentation is to share lessons learned and best practices with faculty 'outsiders' interested in using place-based curriculum in their geoscience curriculum.
2:00pm
Adapting InTeGrate Modules to Online Courses
Tara Holmberg, Northwestern Connecticut Community College

Show Abstract »

Using InTeGrate modules in multiple onground and hybrid courses since Spring 2016, gains in student achievement in objectives related to soils, agriculture, mining, climate change, among others have been measureable. Beginning in the fall of 2017, and continuing through spring and summer 2018, InTeGrate modules were added to purely online courses with the same goals and outcomes. The interactive and interdisciplinary nature of the InTeGrate modules bring richness to a course that should be available to students no matter what through which modality they are learning. Most InTeGrate activities were able to be incorporated smoothly with additional preplanning and targeted instructions. Other activities proved to be a bit more challenging to adapt; lessons from this experience will be shared. Student feedback on the modules and the results of assessments will also be shared as part of the session.
2:15pm
Utilizing InTeGrate's "Systems Thinking" across multiple student audiences
Jessica Martin, University of Providence

Show Abstract »

Thinking about the natural world in terms of functional systems is a key approach across the physical and biological sciences. At the University of Providence, a small private Catholic university in central Montana, the concept of sustainability was recently added as a major theme in the core curriculum. This led to reflection across disciplines on the level of understanding current students have on the world around them, specifically how interactions between human populations and the natural world effect every discipline. As a university with a limited geoscience curriculum (no major offered), it has been noted that general understanding of the physical earth and how it operates as a system is lacking across this student population. In the spring semester 2018, units of the InTeGrate "Systems Thinking" module will be utilized in three different classes at the University of Providence. The purpose of using this module is to pilot a systems approach for students to examine interdisciplinary problems relating to the natural world. This work is also done in conjunction with the Spring 2018 InTeGrate Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN). Four units from "Systems Thinking" will be presented to students in General Biology (II) Lab, which is composed of predominantly biology majors and is the second semester of a year-long course. The students will work through these units in concurrence with an aquaponics lab, in which they will build a working system. The two introductory units of this module (at least) will also be presented to an online 'Living Environment' course (lower level science requirement for core curriculum) and an Earth and Space Science course (for primary and secondary education majors). The information presented here will involve how this module worked for the different student audiences, any adjustments made to the units and things learned from taking part in the FMN.
2:30pm
Break
2:45pm
What kinds of questions do undergraduates generate while exploring data visualizations pertaining to sea level rise and climate change?
Kim Kastens, Columbia University in the City of New York
Melissa Zrada, Columbia University in the City of New York
Margie Turrin, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Show Abstract »

Question-asking is a necessary step towards generating hypotheses, making decisions, and solving problems, and is Practice #1 in the Next Generation Science Standards. However, research on student question-asking has been sparse. In this study, undergraduates viewed data maps pertaining to sealevel and climate from the Polar Explorer iPad app (https://thepolarhub.org/project/polar-explorer) and generated questions about what they were viewing. Experimental conditions contrasted: (a) question-generating v. non-question generating; (b) use of the app versus use of a paper atlas; (c) exposure to a mapset about causes of sealevel change versus a mapset about who is vulnerable to sealevel change; and (d) a prompt to generate as many questions as possible versus to write down questions you would like to ask the scientists who collected the data. From the questions that students generated, we developed a hierarchical taxonomy of question types and assigned Bloom's levels to each type. The "Ask a Scientist" prompt elicited more questions about how the data was collected and represented, while the "Many Questions" prompt seemed more effective in freeing students to ask for explanations of things they didn't understand. Students viewing the paper atlas asked more questions over all, and more questions about spatial patterns and trends, than those viewing the app. The "Who's Vulnerable?" mapset elicited more questions classified as "Earth: adaptation/intervention/mitigation"; but disappointingly for EER attendees concerned about human/Earth interactions, fewer than 20% of participants generated even one question of this type. There were wide individual differences in both quality and quantity of questions generated. But, encouragingly, over 50% of participants generated at least one question at the highest Bloom's level, including questions that query an apparent discrepancy between the mapped data and the students' mental model, and questions that suggest a process or mechanism that may have influenced the mapped phenomenon.
3:00pm
Aligning active learning teaching with active learning assessment: More accurate measures of student learning and mitigating the achievement gap
Hannah Aird, California State University-Chico
Rachel Teasdale, California State University-Chico

Show Abstract »

The degree to which student learning experiences and course assessments are both activity-based has a big impact on student performance in introductory geoscience courses newly revised at California State University, Chico. Recent work has revealed that students who learn material through activities (rather than lecture or course readings), perform better when assessed using questions that ask them to use the same activity methods than when asked questions that cover the same material in ways that require simple recall of information. For example, students learned about landslide hazards by characterizing the susceptibility factors of different areas in California. On a subsequent exam, only 21% of students correctly answered a multiple choice question that asked them to identify the factors that caused landslides, but in another multiple choice question 92.9% of students correctly identified the landslide susceptibility of a previously unstudied location. Most of the students in the same courses correctly answered three short answer questions regarding the factors that increase the vulnerability to landslides (79%), the impacts of landslides on a community (82%) and mitigation or adaptation strategies to reduce risk of landslides (66%). Questions on different course topics gave similar results. Analysis of the same student exams revealed that first generation students performed slightly worse than their non-first-generation peers when the activity-level of in class activities and assessments were not aligned. However, when the learning experiences and assessments were both activity-based, performance increased for both groups, and in all cases, first generation students' scores were equivalent or in some cases better than their peers. This work suggests that both multiple choice and short answer questions can successfully measure student learning, but that the activity-style of assessment questions can have a big impact on student performance.
3:15pm
How Do Effort and Judgments of Learning during Online Practice Quizzes Predict Exam Outcomes in an Introductory Physical Geology Course?
Jason Jones, North Carolina State University
David McConnell, North Carolina State University

Show Abstract »

The level of consonance between students' perceptions of their abilities and their actual ability to perform is often quite limited. The ability to accurately monitor the level of one's learning is an important educational skill dictated by metacognition and predictive of performance. This skill, however, is not guaranteed and has been shown to have the potential to be faulty in learners of all levels and skillsets. We sought to investigate variability in student exam outcomes within a college-level introductory physical geology course via multiple linear regression analysis. Specifically, we analyzed the relationship between students' exam preparation activities collected during their use of a researcher-developed online practice quizzing tool and their eventual performance and judgment accuracy measured during the subsequent exam. Controlling for initial performance in the course, results suggest that: 1. Students do not improve their exam outcomes simply by taking more quizzes as effort alone (measured by practice question attempts) did not predict increased performance nor judgment accuracy on the summative exam; 2. Students who accurately judge their performance during their practice also do so when they take the exam, thus establishing an important connection between students' formative and summative assessment behavior; 3. Students earning Cs and Ds on the first exam in the course did increase their performance with more quiz attempts. While effort was not a uniquely-significant predictor of student performance, moderation analysis revealed a window of effectiveness of increased practice for students within this specific range of initial performance. This suggests an interesting potential avenue for targeted student intervention.
3:30pm
Creation of an International initiative for Climate Education
David Wilgenbus, Office for Climate Education
Pierre Léna, French Academy of Science
Robin Matthews, IPCC WGI Technical Support Unit

Show Abstract »

The essential role of education in tackling the causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change is increasingly being recognised at an international level. For example, Article 12 of the historic Paris Agreement states that "Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education", while the InterAcademy Partnership for Science (IAP) have recently stated that climate education "must become a prime component of science education at all educational levels". However, as made clear by a 2016 UNESCO analysis of 78 national curricula, there remains a large disparity between these aspirations and the current global state of environmental education. To discern how to best address this gap, an international workshop was organized to bring together recognized experts in both climate change and education. Held in Erice, Sicily in 2017, its concluding statement called for the creation of an international initiative to identify, develop and disseminate classroom-ready and place-appropriate resources on climate change to primary and secondary school teachers across the developed and developing world. In addition, it highlighted the need for these resources to span both the natural and social sciences, as well as to utilise pedagogical best practice (e.g. inquiry-based pedagogy) and the latest scientific findings (including from IPCC reports). In this talk, I will outline recent progress towards the large-scale implementation of this envisaged initiative, now known as the Office for Climate Education, further elaborating on its mission, scope and structure. In particular, I will elucidate how, through creation of a collaborative global network of scientific and educational partners, the project aims to bring the latest thinking on climate change science and solutions to classrooms worldwide, spurring both local engagement and proactive action.
3:45pm
Discussion