Monday Poster Session
Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm Quad
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session
Attracting students/Curriculum design/DEI
The Impacts of a First-Year Seminar on Academic and Career Planning for Earth System Science Students at UCI
Elizabeth Crook, University of California-Irvine
Julie Ferguson, University of California-Irvine
Retention of students in geoscience fields, particularly of traditionally underrepresented groups, remains a nationally recognized concern. Many studies have shown that first-year seminars can have a positive effect on a student's transition to college, persistence in their chosen degrees, and ultimate success and retention in STEM fields. The University of California, Irvine, has a particularly diverse undergraduate population and is a designated Hispanic and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (HIS; AANAPISI). Specifically in the Earth System Science (ESS) Department, up to 50% of the undergraduates enrolled are first generation students, and 30-40% are low-income. By creating a one-unit first-year seminar targeted at increasing retention of our majors, the ESS Department aimed to 1) assist students with academic and career planning, 2) increase student awareness of opportunities on campus, including opportunities for research in the department, and 3) increase a sense of belonging in the major. In the fall of 2022, the seminar was attended by approximately 180 incoming freshmen and transfer students (broken into 3 separate cohorts to maintain smaller class size), and consisted of 1 instructional hour per week. Here we present pre and post survey data to assess the effectiveness of the seminar class in meeting our goals. This data will be used to identify whether the course met our instructional goals, is a beneficial use of ESS instructional resources, and what aspects of the seminar class are most impactful for student success and retention in the geosciences.
Increasing STEM Interest through a Placed-Based Interdisciplinary Field Course for TRIO High School Students
Sharon Bywater-Reyes, University of Northern Colorado
Chelsie Romulo, University of Northern Colorado
Andrew Creekmore, University of Northern Colorado
Sarah Johnson, Wild Rose Education
Shirley Vincent, Vincent Evaluation Consulting
We piloted a field-based summer bridge program for Upward Bound enrolled high school students (a federal TRIO program). Longterm, our goal is to recruit, support, and retain historically underrepresented and underserved populations (HUU) into Anthropology, Geoscience, and Environmental Sustainability (AGES) programs. These outdoor-based disciplines are some of the least diverse STEM fields, with graduation rates of HUU students below the national average. Factors impacting HUU enrollment include lack of exposure to the disciplines and negative perceptions of "field" work. As such, we implemented our program to engage HUU students and their families in AGES disciplines through a place-based AGES course that included undergraduate student peer mentors and a family event. Over two weeks, our team conducted AGES programming for 18 HUU students with curriculum and activities ranging from a geology "walk through time", a fire ecology activity at a national park, and historic and modern hunting practices with our state wildlife agency. We assessed project impacts through a combination of observations of participants during activities, student products including text and images in journals, and student responses to formal surveys. The data indicate the project increased student confidence in science and AGES skills, interest in STEM, and sense of belonging in AGES disciplines, and improved student understanding of the role of science in society. The journal excerpts demonstrate the joy of discovery that students experienced as they engaged the natural world in an AGES context. It is difficult to measure the long-term impact of such experiences, but hands-on, field-based learning builds memories, understanding, and relationships that extend beyond the pedagogical goals of specific activities. Future work will consider participants' college matriculation and impacts on AGES enrollment.
Anyone Can Be An Geoscientist: The Impact of Diverse Representation From Draw-an-Earth-Scientist Tests (DAEST)
Connor Chilton, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia
The geosciences have the lowest participation rates of historically marginalized individuals in science positions, and are a field where people who "discover" the major often mostly see historical stereotypes of people who "do science." Therefore, an understanding of representations' impact on students is important. This study analyzes the impact of representation of historically marginalized scientists in weekly assignments on introductory geology students. Students were assigned to draw their idea of a geoscientist at the beginning and end of the semester. During the semester, students were randomly assigned to one of four groups: with/without personal information (including pictures) of geoscientists, and with/without reflection questions about these geoscientists. The Draw-a-Scientist Test (Finson et al., 1995; P. McNeal, 2022) was used, modified, and updated iteratively during coding to code student drawings. Paired t-tests and ANOVAs were used to test for differences in representations of geoscientist's appearance, equipment, location, etc. from the beginning to end of the semester. There was a rise in students who felt that anyone could be a geoscientist, and a decrease in stereotypical representations of geoscientists as individual, white men. All assignment groups saw a decline in representations of male geoscientists from pre- to post-drawings. Also, identifiably female students were more likely to draw their scientist as female. Some limitations of this study could be a lack of representation of different races from wide use of graphite pencils for drawings rather than more colorful materials. This study provides evidence that diverse representations of those within a field can reduce stereotypical ideas of who can be a geoscientist and increase the idea that everyone has opportunities in the field. A scientific community that reflects the society's diversity is more likely to be able to solve the problems of the present and future.
Designing for bidirectional community-university learning: The Community Resilience integrated into an Earth System Science Learning Ecosystem (CRESSLE) project
Adam Papendieck, The University of Texas at Austin
Jay Banner, The University of Texas at Austin
Didey Montoya, The University of Texas at Austin
Lucy Atkinson, The University of Texas at Austin
Patrick Bixler, The University of Texas at Austin
Robert Duke, The University of Texas at Austin
Angela D. R. Smith, The University of Texas at Austin
Shirley Vincent, Vincent Evaluation Consulting
Action for community resilience and environmental justice demands new educational structures, routines and practices that more equitably and productively integrate academic geoscience with local community-based ways of knowing, learning about and acting for change. Community Resilience integrated into an Earth System Science Learning Ecosystem (CRESSLE) is an NSF-funded project focused on establishing a learning and research ecosystem that links historically marginalized and minoritized communities in Austin, TX, neighborhoods with the community of academic geoscientists at UT Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences for work on community resilience challenges. Informed by sociocultural perspectives on situated learning, participatory research and co-production, the program designs for "bidirectional learning" between communities and universities in order to advance a long-term goal of transforming the culture of the geosciences to be more inclusive, equitable, and effective in acting for environmental justice. We will present (1) the educational context of the CRESSLE project, including the history of inequities around community resilience in Austin that demands better community-university partnership; (2) the theory of change and program design, including the role of key community partner organizations, bidirectional education and communication activities, and processes for co-designing research on climate change, water resources, and landscape; and (3) early (year 1) steps the program team is taking to conduct upfront research into how academic geoscientists and residents of Austin communities talk about and understand each other, the geosciences, and issues of community resilience and environmental justice. Upfront research is in progress, which involves surveys, focus groups, semistructured interviews, and a photovoice study. We will share information about the overall technical approach to research, instruments, and early lessons. By connecting information about this formative phase of the CRESSLE project with related work that other earth educators have undertaken, we aim to contribute to a productive discussion about equitable and effective community-engaged learning and research.
Science and communication at sea: The JR Academy for undergraduate students
Sharon Cooper, Columbia University in the City of New York
Lisa White, University of California Museum of Paleontology
Laurel Childress, Texas A & M University
The JR Academy is a program for undergraduate students on the ocean drilling vessel, JOIDES Resolution (JR). Designed to inspire students toward geoscience topics and careers, it was held in February 2023 for the first time since 2019. Students were recruited from throughout the United States and the cohort included 15 students from 13 states and a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. During the 10-day program, students lived and worked aboard the JR and sailed on a transit from Heraklion, Greece to Tarragona, Spain. Students learned about scientific ocean drilling as a tool to explore Earth, and the fascinating discoveries that have and are being made about our planet Earth. In addition, the program focused on communication tools and projects to share cutting edge science with the broader community. Through a partnership with the NASA Astrobiology program, a NASA communication specialist also sailed with the group, providing information and tools to students about NASA opportunities and connections between these exploratory programs. Students returned with enthusiasm, new skills, new ideas, new connections and new friends. Each is working on a science communication project as a part of the program. This presentation will present the structure and lessons learned from JR Academy through the lens of the student experiences. Funding for JR Academy was provided by two National Science Foundation-funded programs, the Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation (A-STEP) and the U.S. Science Support Program.
Recruiting Experience - Early Results from Targeted Strategies at Baylor University
Wayne Hamilton, Baylor University
Joe Yelderman Jr., Baylor University
Sharon Browning, Baylor University
K-12 curriculum can affect career choices and potential college majors. Worldwide events such as a pandemic, petroleum prices, and changing climate can also affect these choices. Baylor University has employed several targeted strategies to increase geoscience awareness and reduce declines in geoscience majors. Strategies include targeting undecided freshmen during registration, providing class flyers to university advisors, participation in New Student Orientation events, involvement with visiting high school students through admissions, and changes to departmental curriculum that allow students to change majors with minimal graduation delays. Outreach to K-12 students has continued, with most events since Fall 2021 held in person. Initial data indicates slight improvement in geoscience enrollments. Additional efforts beginning in Fall 2023 included the development of two new "grand challenge" courses with societal implications and anticipated broad appeal: water and climate change. Continued improvement requires consistency in course scheduling and associated faculty, student/parent awareness of geoscience careers, and sustained recruiting efforts.
Students Ability to Relate to Scientists: Impacts of Geoscientist Spotlights
Peyton Smalls, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Geosciences struggle with a significant diversity problem and have the lowest participation rates of historically marginalized individuals in science and engineering occupations (URGE, 2022; AGI, 2020). Majors frequently "discover" the geosciences through introductory courses (Houlton, 2010), and yet the scientists featured in these courses most often reflect historical stereotypes of people who "do science" (e.g. white, straight, cisgender male) (Simpson et al., 2021; Phillips & Hausbeck, 2000). This is one of many potential factors limiting students from seeing themselves as the types of people who "do" science. As one way of addressing this, we have developed Geoscientist Spotlights for introductory courses (Smalls et al., 2022). These weekly assignments teach traditional content while featuring a relevant scientist. Our previous research found that students who reflected on these assignments were more likely to use non-stereotypical descriptors of geoscientists by the end of the semester. Here, we pose the follow-up question, "Do elements of the Geoscientist Spotlights enhance the perceived relatability of geoscientists, which would in turn help students see themselves in the field?" Students reported the relatability of scientists pre- and post-semester using a single, Likert-style question and a short, written explanation of their response. We assessed semester-long changes in the perceived relatability of scientists, and examined differences based on whether or not students were 1) asked to reflect, and/or 2) given personal information about the scientist (including a photo). Overall, the relatability of scientists significantly increased from pre- to post- semester (p < 0.05). No significant differences were found based on exposure (or lack thereof) to reflection questions and personal information. Ongoing analyses are examining the role of student demographics in the perceived relatability of scientists. Geoscientist Spotlights offer a tool for instructors who aim to promote a more inclusive view of science.
Teaching physics in context for environmental science and policy majors
Julie Ferguson, University of California-Irvine
Elizabeth Crook, University of California-Irvine
It is common for traditional geoscience majors to take at least a year of core STEM courses, including chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics. At UC Irvine, these introductory courses are often large (400+ students), enroll students from all other STEM majors, are highly competitive, and lack applications specifically related to geoscience and sustainability. Without context, it can be difficult for students to understand why these concepts are important for their geoscience degree and this may result in retention issues. When designing the curriculum for UC Irvine's Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP) major, this was a major concern. The ENSP major often attracts students who would not pursue a traditional geoscience degree, and who may not have much prior preparation in these traditional STEM subjects. In response, we created three new classes for incoming students – Earth System Chemistry, Earth System Biology, and Earth System Physics. These classes aim to introduce the fundamental scientific principles of these disciplines in contexts that are relevant to our students' interests and future careers, including topics in sustainability and environmental policy. Here, we focus on the Earth System Physics class, which will be taught to approximately 130 students in the spring of 2023. We discuss the design of the class, and use survey data, academic performance, and student demographics, to examine whether taking this class changes students' 1) attitudes to physics, 2) perceptions of the relevance of physics to their future careers, and 3) self-efficacy related to quantitative problem-solving.
Hands-on Lab Activity: Deep Water and Shallow Water Ocean Surface Waves
Tamara Barriquand, Humboldt State University
Jessica Kleiss, Lewis & Clark College
A sequence of hands-on lab activities allow students to visualize theoretical and observed ocean surface wave behavior through both a physical model (wave tank) and an analytical model (Matlab). For the analytical model, students are given Matlab code to plot wave elevation profiles and the "dispersion relation" equation that describes the expected relationship between wavelength, frequency, phase speed and water depth. Students plot the equation, holding different variables constant to explore the dependency of phase speed on depth or wavelength. They then superimpose the shallow water and deep water approximations to determine the cut-off depth/wavelength ratio for the shallow water and deep water wave regimes. For the physical model, students attempt to generate waves within both the deep and shallow water regimes in a plexiglass wave tank. Students are amazed at how well the theoretical equations predict the physical wave properties in the tank! The actual depth/wavelength ratio needed to acquire the deep- or shallow-water wave approximations is also eye-opening. Students also generate standing waves using wave reflection off the tank wall. Additional lab activities may include a mix & match from any of the following options: 1) watching the sentinel 1963 film, Waves Across the Pacific featuring Oceanography legend Walter Munk, as a guided introduction to the concept of wave energy propagation across the global oceans; 2) doing pencil-and-paper work with the dispersion relation and the deep and shallow water wave approximations; 3) going outside to observe ocean waves, estimate their period and phase speed, and compare to the dispersion relation. The authors have designed and implemented these activities in upper-level undergraduate oceanography and environmental studies courses.
Teaching Teamwork: Project-based Learning in an Interdisciplinary Course Delivered by an Interdisciplinary Teaching Team
Dana Thomas, The University of Texas at Austin
Hailun Ni, The University of Texas at Austin
Susan Hovorka, The University of Texas at Austin
Sahar Bakhshian, The University of Texas at Austin
Alex Bump, The University of Texas at Austin
Shuvajit Bhattacharya, The University of Texas at Austin
Geoscience degree earners are entering workplaces in which they are expected to be productive members of multidisciplinary teams (Mosher and Keane, 2021), yet undergraduate and graduate students report having little exposure to working in interdisciplinary teams during their education (Keane et al., 2022). At the same time, students – including those from marginalized backgrounds – are motivated to pursue degrees that will lead to jobs that will better the environment and society (Carter et al., 2021).Our team-taught course on geologic CO2 storage focuses on a climate mitigation strategy and challenges students to approach a CO2 sequestration project in the same manner as an interdisciplinary research team. Most of the instructors are researchers in the Gulf Coast Carbon Center at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the Jackson School of Geosciences and regularly, a group that includes geologists, geophysicists, engineers and economists.Students in the course are undergraduate and graduate students from multiple programs, including geology, environmental science, petroleum engineering and an interdisciplinary energy and resources degree. The instructors form groups that are diverse in backgrounds and specialties and students work together to characterize and develop a proposal for a CO2 storage project using real data, mimicking the process that practitioners follow to gain a permit from the EPA. Groups are encouraged to leverage the multidisciplinary nature of the teams and utilize individual's skillsets.This presentation will describe what is needed for this model and suggest ways elements could be transferable to other programs. Local professionals could be partners in delivering a course when university resources are scarce. As geoscience departments strive to maintain enrollment, courses with an engineering component could be helpful for attracting students from other majors. We also welcome discussion on potential areas of research, such as how the course affects students' perception of team-based work in the geosciences.
Peer Mentoring Program to Improve Psychosocial and Academic Student Support and Positively Impact Geoscience Undergraduate Success
Nicole Bonuso, California State University-Fullerton
Virginia Isava, California State University-Fullerton
Student retention of California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) Geological Sciences majors from year 1 to 2 fell 55.6% in 2018. In addition, geosciences remain one of the least diverse STEM fields in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution comprised of ~60% female students, CSUF is uniquely positioned to increase participation of women and underrepresented minorities (URM) in geoscience, but can only do so by building student support. To address this, we developed a peer mentoring program as a new course offered for freshmen and transfer students in their second semester at CSUF. This program builds a bridge between student's introduction to the university and their integration into the Geological Sciences department through major-specific core classes.Our program goals are to: 1) develop a welcoming learning environment where students can share their ideas and concerns; 2) provide academic and career readiness support; 3) quantitatively and qualitatively assess the effectiveness of our program through surveys and interviews; and 4) identify and publish evidence-based best practices. We hypothesize that developing an actively inclusive program and matching student peer-mentor pairs will foster 1) a greater sense of belonging in CSUF's geoscience and broader STEM communities, 2) a more positive science identity, and 3) an overall increase in geoscience students retained in the major.We ran a primary pilot of this program in spring 2022. Results of this pilot indicated that while mentee participants benefitted from the program, mentors required additional training and support. The second pilot of this program began in fall 2022 with a bi-weekly training seminar for mentors, followed by a revamped peer mentoring curriculum in spring 2023. We are in the process of analyzing the results of the second pilot, and aim to have the peer mentoring course added to the university's course catalog in fall 2023.
The SZ4D Initiative is Seeking to Grow Mutually Beneficial Partnerships with Geoscience Education Researchers
Mike Brudzinski, Miami University-Oxford
Subduction Zones in 4 Dimensions (SZ4D) is a new community-driven initiative for coordinating interdisciplinary research to improve our understanding of processes underlying destructive geohazards that concentrate in subduction zones. Leveraging strategies from other forms of system science, SZ4D plans to collect critical new observations from a broad swath of disciplines with similar spatial and temporal scope to reveal previously uncharacterizable relationships. Moreover, SZ4D wants to capitalize on the opportunity presented by dense deployments of sensors over large swaths of Chile, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska to be an agent of change in geoscience. In essence, SZ4D wants to facilitate transformation of the mindset in the solid-earth research community to embrace transdisciplinary science through a novel approach to building equity and capacity based on successful strategies in social science. Specifically, SZ4D has embraced the Collective Impact framework for accomplishing cooperative and inclusive science that create sustainable improvements in communities, capacity building, and geohazard mitigation. An example of this effort is the GeoArray group that is seeking to fund a collective large-scale field geology experiment, proposing a pilot project to assess strategies for facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations and interpretations, enabling geologic data collection over broad areas with diverse teams, and reducing barriers to access field data. To aid in constructing the Collective Impact framework, SZ4D is working to build mutually beneficial partnership with the geoscience education community. In particular, SZ4D is currently recruiting for a community of practice focused on capacity building to launch in 2024 with participant support to afford the time investment in this activity. The goals of the multidisciplinary community of practice will be to co-create funding strategies for cross-disciplinary work and a detailed implementation plan on how to meaningfully incorporate geoscience education and social science research in SZ4D capacity building.
Supporting Educators of Geosciences and Geophysics with EarthScope Consortium Resources
Donna Charlevoix, EarthScope Consortium
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, EarthScope Consortium
Michael Hubenthal, EarthScope
Tammy Bravo, EarthScope Consortium
Danielle Sumy, EarthScope
Shelley Olds, EarthScope Consortium
Scott Johnson, EarthScope Consortium
Anika Knight, EarthScope
Kelsey Russo-Nixon, EarthScope Consortium
Justin Sweet, EarthScope Consortium
IRIS Consortium and UNAVCO Inc. merged to form EarthScope Consortium on January 1, 2023. EarthScope Consortium operates the SAGE (seismology) and GAGE (geodesy) facilities funded by the National Science Foundation. This merger created the Engagement Program, joining two professional staffs and programming to better serve the geosciences and geophysics education community. With the merger, the portfolio of work continues the long-standing programs of IRIS Education and Public Outreach and UNAVCO Education and Community Engagement. We continue to support educators through a broad portfolio grounded in best practice and informed by community input. The portfolio includes: (1) Formal curriculum programs and educational resources (GETSI and IGUaNA) available to educators including opportunities for professional development workshops on how to incorporate geophysical instrumentation into courses and field experiences (2) Informal outreach such as hands-on activities and museum displays. (3) Student (paid) internship programs for community college, undergraduate, and graduate students and information about career pathways into geosciences, (4) Student learning programs such as skill building workshops and technical short courses, and (5) informal learning opportunities through engagement of social media. Through this poster we will highlight resources available to educators to use in and outside the classroom as well as direct-to-student resources.
Curriculum Design, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Technology in the Classroom
Teaching environmental justice with data: Successes and struggles
Jabari Jones, Bowdoin College
Environmental justice has received increasing attention in the geosciences in recent years, following broader social calls for justice. However, existing resources for teaching environmental justice are primarily found in environmental studies or philosophy, and focus on the social and philosophical underpinnings of the environmental justice movement, rather than the data considerations and quantitative skills used to evaluate questions of (in)justice. In Spring 2023, I developed a course titled Quantifying Environmental Justice to address this gap in student preparation. The course was intended as a data-driven take on environmental justice, where students would learn data literacy, specific analytical skills, and how to think critically about the role of data in evaluating complex questions. As with any new course, there were successes and struggles. Successes: Students engaged deeply with the material, we had deep and expansive discussions, I developed a number of new labs using real-world data, we invited guests from multiple disciplinary backgrounds, and we worked collaboratively on a novel project that was driven by student interest. Struggles: Teaching coding to a group of students with minimal coding experience, balancing philosophical and quantitative topics, difficulties of small class size (3 students), and data availability.Despite these struggles, students enjoyed the class and felt that the topics and skills prepared them to think critically about data and to consider environmental justice in their curriculum and their community.
Going beyond the Field: Online tools, equity, and accessibility
Implementation of a Climate Decision Support System in an Undergraduate Weather and Climate Classroom
Haven Cashwell, Auburn University Main Campus
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Climate education needs to include actionable items to resonate with those pupils who are learning about climate change (Anderson 2012). For this project, a Decision Support System (DSS) was used in a classroom lab setting to show how endangered species will be impacted by climatic changes in the future to educate undergraduate students. This website known as Climate Analysis and Visualization for the Assessment of Species Status (CAnVAS) was used in a Weather and Climate course lab section at a large public University in the Southern U.S. An active learning lab was developed which provided students opportunities to navigate the website independently while working through the lab materials. Students were tasked with making observations of how species may be impacted when different climate variables were manipulated on the web tool. A pre and post assessment was conducted to assess knowledge gains of students across the semester around climate change impacts to endangered species. A pilot iteration of this study was conducted in Fall 2021 and subsequent iterations have occurred/will occur in Fall 2022 and Fall 2023 semesters. The research questions that guide this project include: (1) How do undergraduate students interact with the navigational CAnVAS website? (2) What improvements do undergraduate students want to be made to the CAnVAS website? (3) How did student learning change throughout the semester? This poster will show results from both Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 data of the pre/post assessment that was administered to students as well as student performance on the implemented lab. The end goal of the project is to create, implement, and evaluate an active learning undergraduate classroom lab that incorporates a real-world decision support system that provides students with insights to how endangered species are impacted by climatic changes through evidence based reasoning and use of climate science visualizations.
Assessing How Inclusive Geoscience Job Advertisements Are to Persons with Disabilities
Gregory Shafer, Boise State University
Karen Viskupic, Boise State University
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
The geoscience community has been making efforts to promote diversity, but individuals with physical disabilities are still largely underrepresented. Many geoscience workforce positions include a field component that may present a real or perceived barrier for people with physical disabilities. In this study, we analyzed over 2,500 job advertisements (ads) for entry-level geoscience positions across 19 industries to assess how inclusive the job market is for people with physical disabilities. We evaluated each ad's Equal Opportunity Employer (EEO) and accommodation statements to create a measure of geoscience employers' appreciation for people with disabilities. We coded each ad for instances where physical abilities (i.e., traversing rough terrain, driving a vehicle, frequently lifting heavy objects) were listed as required or preferred qualifications and whether these abilities matched the core job functions. A significant proportion of ads (44%) did not include EEO statements, and of many that did, the language used could be improved. For example, nearly half of the ads providing EEO statements simply put "EEO" or "Equal Opportunity Employer" near or at the bottom of the ad. Additionally, only 18% of ads mentioned accommodations for people with disabilities. In only 19% of the ads that required physical abilities did the physical abilities clearly align with the core job functions. Students exploring their career options or applying for entry-level jobs may feel disadvantaged, restrict their applications, or dismiss geoscience careers if they have physical limitations. We hope our results will prompt employers to consider possible accommodations, make them prominent in job advertisements, and to explore alternative strategies to promote a more inclusive geoscience workforce.
In-Depth Assessment of a Large-Enrollment Scientific Computing Workshop to Evaluate Instructional Design and Foster an Online Experiential Learning Cycle
Gillian Goldhagen, Miami University-Oxford
Mike Brudzinski, Miami University-Oxford
Michael Hubenthal, EarthScope
The increasingly digital nature of course assignments has created an opportunity for more in-depth assessment of student learning and evaluation of course design with respect to learning outcomes. The online Seismology Skill Building Workshop was implemented in Summer 2020, with minor changes each summer since. The workshop's goal is to help advanced undergraduates and recent graduates build scientific computing skills through seismology-specific programming in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format. The online nature and extensive set of assignments enables unique analysis of student performance on a variety of tasks. For each assignment question (~1000), we developed a coding system for categorizing the required learning skills and revised Bloom's taxonomy. These were combined with the facility and discrimination index to assess students' hands-on learning of seismology and scientific computing. This study identified the degree of higher-order thinking necessary was lower than previously assumed and likely impeded the goal of hands-on learning. By utilizing Bloom's taxonomy and Experiential Learning Cycle, we posit that online hands-on learning should involve a cycle of observing, remembering, applying, and analyzing. Changes were enacted to implement more analysis-focused questions and ensure the utilization of specific skills to better accomplish the learning objectives. Question categorization was also used to study the effect of fading supportive pedagogy elements on students' subject mastery to improve participants' independence. We accomplished this by progressively reducing prompting and recall of prior information, scaling up to higher-order Bloom's Taxonomy, and increasing skill requirements. Evaluation of these improvements will be conducted in Summer 2023. The framework we developed for evaluating assignments and student performance at a granular level has successfully identified mismatches between course design and learning outcomes. Our work indicates an online experiential learning cycle is an important concept for instructional design as online formats are utilized to broaden access to scientific training.
Climate Justice in Academia: A Graduate Student-Led Initiative for Learning, Community, and Action
Kira Fish, University of California-Los Angeles
Sara Graves, University of California-Los Angeles
Surabhi Biyani, University of California-Los Angeles
It is well established that climate change disproportionately affects traditionally marginalized groups, including low income communities, people of color, and the global South. Despite this reality, climate justice is often not included in traditional geoscience curricula, and conversations about justice are often relegated to the margins. In response to this gap, graduate students at UCLA established a reading group in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department to explore climate justice topics and to create a space for meaningful dialogue on issues of environmental racism, social justice, and the responsibility of academics to address these issues in research and teaching. This poster presentation will highlight the objectives, structure, and outcomes of this reading group, which was composed of both graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. Our group engaged in a 10-week series of weekly meetings to critically analyze and discuss literature that highlights the intersections between climate change research and social and environmental justice. As a part of this, we provided a space for ~15 participants to reflect on opportunities for climate justice within their own academic work and highlighted events and organizations in our community that were already engaged in climate justice work. Ultimately, our reading group aimed to build a community of scholars committed to advancing the cause of climate justice in academia and to equip that community with foundational knowledge as they enter into the climate justice advocacy space.By sharing our experiences, we hope to provide insight to graduate students, postdocs and faculty looking to prioritize climate justice in their research, teaching, and advocacy and create their own climate justice focused communities. We also hope to learn from others' experiences as we work to create a more enduring climate justice framework within our department that will foster long-term engagement and participation.
Instructor Perspectives on Undergraduate Students' Preparedness for Coursework, Preliminary Results
Sarah Lynn Redding, University of Florida
Anita Marshall, University of Florida
Changes in education can occur so rapidly that we geologists, used to considering things in geological time scales, can overlook these changes and their potential impacts. One such area is the coursework required for an undergraduate degree in Geology. Recent studies indicate the types of courses that are required have changed significantly in the past 15 years. Additionally, changes in prerequisites and high school graduation requirements have impacted the preparation of students entering an undergraduate course. It is crucial to identify these changes as they can create a disconnect between students' foundational knowledge and their professors' expectations, endangering students' academic success.This study aims to identify whether disconnects exist between the foundational knowledge faculty assume students possess at the start of a term and what we can reasonably expect students to have. As part of this larger project, we interviewed geology instructors at an R1 university to identify what preparation professors assume students have when starting their courses, including high school and collegiate coursework, and how they determine what academic coursework they expect. Here we present a preliminary analysis of interviews conducted during the Spring 2023 semester. The overarching goal of this research is to help address mismatches between student preparation and instructor expectations by sharing information with professors and students and assisting professors in determining appropriate curricula, learning objectives, or prerequisite requirements that could improve overall geoscience program outcomes.
Evaluating the usability of the EzGCM climate modeling toolkit and its impact on undergraduate students' understanding of the climate modeling process and climate change science.
Jena Brown, Auburn University Main Campus
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus
Mark Chandler, Auburn University Main Campus
Justin Zhou, Auburn University Main Campus
Complex global climate models, or GCMs, are one of the primary tools used by scientists to make projections about the future of Earth's climate system. To properly deploy climate models, scientists utilize a series of data processing steps and decisions. Many students are unaware of these decision processes that climate scientists employ when using climate models however, EzGCM, an educational online climate modeling system, simplifies the process by making it more transparent and structured. The goal of this two-part study is to bolster climate resiliency in the Southeast U.S. by improving educational methods used to communicate about climate change. More specifically, this research seeks to evaluate the usability of the EzGCM software as well as to measure how the tool influences students' understanding of the climate modeling process and climate change. The first part of the study will implement eye-tracking, a technology that is used to monitor where and for how long participants view a given webpage, with entry level college students (n=60) to evaluate the user satisfaction, accuracy, and efficiency of EzGCM in order to help designers identify improvements to this webtool. After an improved version of the tool is established, subsequent research will measure the efficacy of EzGCM as a teaching tool by implementing the webtool into the lab section of an introductory undergraduate course and measuring content knowledge through pre-post tests and thematic coding of completed student products. Through this research, lessons learned about usability from the first study will fortify user-centered design frameworks that can be incorporated into new scientific pedagogical tools. Additionally, an inquiry-based lesson plan teaching climate modeling using EzGCM will be validated so that other universities can incorporate it into their climate curriculum. This poster will provide an overview of the study design and include preliminary analysis on preliminary data.
What I want instructors to know: Students sharing experiences and perspectives on learning science in field settings and beyond
Sarah Sherman, University of British Colum
Laura Lukes, University of British Columbia
Silvia Mazabel, University of British Columbia
EaSEIL student partners, University of British Columbia
The Earth Science Experiential and Indigenous Learning (EaSEIL) project is a three-year initiative at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) that creates space for instructors, students, staff, and community members to develop and transform field-based experiential learning. From surveys and discussions with instructors during EaSEIL instructor (n=20) Community of Practice meetings, we (authors) identified four field-based teaching and learning questions to partner with students on; 1) What fosters students' comfort and feelings of belonging in these settings? 2) What are students' needs, experiences, and aspirations related to the intersection of field courses and Indigenous-related course content? 3) How can field experiences be more accessible? and 4) How can instructors foster more effective small-group learning activities in field settings?. Student participants (n=17; 14 undergraduate, 3 graduate in science and engineering programs) were recruited through department listservs and word of mouth to share their learning experiences and propose structures, teaching strategies, and resources to further support their science learning in field settings. Focus groups were held for all topics (1-6 students in each), but the last one had one focus group. Most students attended for more than one topic. The structure of each focus group consisted of providing questions about general science learning and field settings specifically in a written format first, so the students had time to think on their own and write down their answers, followed by guided discussions about each written question. After each session, the students were sent a summary document and asked to provide feedback (clarification, additional suggestions, edits). Our poster will share the preliminary highlights from these documents that can inform the practice of instructors whether teaching in field, lab, or classroom settings.
Does modality matter? Comparing student learning and course satisfaction in face-to-face, hybrid and online sections of an introductory oceanography course
Mikelle Nuwer, University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Susanna Michael, University of Washington-Seattle Campus
There has been ongoing discussion about whether online and hybrid instruction is equally as effective as face-to-face instruction. To explore this question, we designed a comparative study to evaluate student academic performance and satisfaction in three sections (face-to-face, hybrid, and fully online) of an introductory oceanography course. This course enrolls 100-300 students with a target audience of non-STEM majors. All three sections cover the same course content with identical weekly assignments and assessments. Preliminary results suggest that there is little difference in assignment and assessment scores, final course grades, and the students' course evaluations among the three sections. This indicates that no one mode of instruction appears to be more effective than the other in terms of student achievement or student perception of the course's effectiveness. Ultimately, the best modality for student learning is one that fits the individual needs and preferences of the student, which instructors can identify and advertise in the course description and catalog.
Field notes from the geoscience classroom by the June 2022 & January 2023 NAGT Outstanding Teaching Assistants
Kristen Foley, Western Michigan University
Madelyn Petersen, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Joey Pasterski, University of Illinois at Chicago
Sydney Beltran, Tennessee Technological University
Elyssa Rivera, Auburn University Main Campus
Beth Bartel, Michigan Technological University
Ashlesha Khatiwada, The University of Montana-Missoula
Nicole Wagner, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Kiersten Crye, Georgia State University
Teaching assistants (TAs) provide an important source of connection for undergraduate students, helping them master content, become more confident as scientists, and develop a wide array of skills. NAGT annually recognizes outstanding TAs in geoscience education with its Outstanding TA Awards. Recent recipients of the Outstanding TA awards will share their lessons learned from the classroom and their most impactful teaching tips.