Ocean Infographic Assignment for Data Literacy and Science Outreach

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm TSU - Humphries: 118
Poster Session Part of Wednesday


Amy Weislogel, West Virginia University
Students in a 200-level Physical Oceanograpy course at West Virginia University designed an infographic to reflect personal exploration and interaction with concepts related to the course. The course has no pre-requisite courses and the class was primarily composed of upper level non-earth science majors. Infographic creation was assigned as one of 6 assessments designed to deepen student engagement with course material throughout the semester. Students were presented with potential infographic styles and suggested topics, but could choose any topic that could broadly relate humans and the ocean. Once the topics were identified, students were then tasked with conducting independent web research on that topic. Students were required to cite three original sources for information pertaining to background information, case examples and a human interest aspect, such as anecdotal incidents or superlatives (biggest, smallest, longest, shortest, etc.). Students were able to select from a variety of graphical programs and were encouraged to use free infographic creators online. Students were provided examples to inspire layout design and guided to contemplate a layout for their information. The infographics were submitted online and then were printed out for an in-class critique. Critique criteria included infographic design, content quality, content clarity, editing and graphical representation. Submissions included infographics on wide variety of topics, including coastal engineering strategies, tidal currents and coastlines, hurricane preparedness and ocean exploration. Informal feedback indicated many students enjoyed the creative aspect of this assignment, and some students struggled with using the infographic design freeware. Students were polled to determine if they would permit sharing of their infographic (with attribution) on social media, and every student agreed. Infographic design experience provides students exposure to a highly transferrable skill involving data literacy that can be used for timely and highly accessible data dissemination, with the possibility of becoming viral content for science outreach.