Compass: Our first-year plan for improving the discoverability of online Earth education resources
The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) currently hosts materials from over 120 geoscience education projects and the majority of geoscience faculty report using their materials to support their teaching. However, the project-focused nature of the SERC website means that information is siloed and users have difficulty navigating the full breadth of the collections. The Compass project addresses this challenge directly. Its goal is to improve the discoverability of SERC-hosted materials as well as to connect users to earth education resources beyond SERC's own webpages. Along the way Compass will explore broader questions of how faculty explore web-based teaching resources.
Compass is grounded in the principles of user-centered design. It builds on explicit understanding of and input from the community of users, evidence-informed evaluation, and repeated refinement through reflection and iteration. The project is engaging in annual cycles where improvements in SERC's discovery infrastructure are prioritized, implemented, and their efficacy evaluated. The project draws on input from a group of Community Discovery Advisors (CDAs) – stakeholders from across the geoscience education community – as well as coordination with NAGT through its Teach the Earth committee, and other outreach to community partners.
The project's initial round of planning took place this spring through meetings with the CDA and informed by input gathered from the community. Here we present the outcomes of that work: the plan for the initial set of targeted improvements to SERC discovery infrastructure, as well as initial progress on implementing the plan.