Initial Publication Date: July 28, 2017

Teaching with EDDIE

Where the modules have been used:

Non-science majors, science majors, middle school students

ModuleCoursesStudent demographic
Lake Ice PhenologyFreshwater Ecology, EcologyScience and non-science majors, upper- and lower-level undergraduates
Lake MixingFreshwater EcologyScience majors (soph-senior)
Lake MetabolismFreshwater EcologyScience majors (soph-senior)
Lake ModelingFreshwater EcologyUpper-level undergraduates and graduate students
Climate ChangeGeneral Ed Biology, Ecology, Environmental Geology, Summer campNon-science majors, geology majors
Stream DischargeHydrology, Environmental GeologyNon-science majors, geology majors
Water QualityHydrogeology, Environmental Science, Freshwater Ecology, General Ed BiologyScience majors (soph-senior), non-science majors
Nutrient LoadingFundamentals of Water QualityUpper-level undergraduates, mostly science majors
Soil RespirationEnvironmental StudiesScience and non-science majors
SeismologySpecial Topics Time Series AnalysisUpper-level and lower-level undergraduates, geology majors and non-majors

Best Practices and Pro-Tips

Instructor Best Practices for teaching EDDIE modules

  • Set realistic goals about what you can and cannot cover within a semester and course period. As an instructor, accept the fact that you will not be able to cover as much material when you replace lecture with active learning. This transition is not a bad thing if students are better able to retain information gained with guided-inquiry active learning (e.g., Vanags et al. 2013).
  • Use class time to situate the content of the module in the rest of your course by providing the "big picture context." This can include an introduction, using the human stories behind the data, before the module, and a debriefing following the module.
  • Manage your and your students' expectations. Remember that you are asking students to master new software AND new scientific concepts, and that struggling is an important part of learning and the scientific process. To keep students from feeling overwhelmed, allow students to master some relevant computer skills before challenging them with broad, open-ended scientific questions.
  • Remember that your students may begin the module with vastly different computer skill levels. Assess student skill level beforehand, and provide mechanisms that allow students to stay on track during the exercise.
  • Before teaching a module in your classroom, go through it yourself. Make sure you can access the data you need. Some online data may not always be available, and you may want to download datasets in advance as a backup.
  • Make time for discussion during the module and identify ways to prompt discussion. Depending on class size, discussion can occur with the entire class, as a think-pair-share activity, in small groups, or with clickers.
  • If students are bringing their own laptops into the classroom, remind them in advance to make sure they are charged or bring in power strips.

Pro Tips for teaching EDDIE modules

  • Don't be restricted to the particular study sites referenced in the modules; add in datasets from other sites, let students find data from other sites to explore places of interest to them.
  • Pair field or lab activities with the module to help students understand what the data represent. For example, pair the lake mixing module with a field trip to collect temperature profile data from a nearby lake, or pair the stream discharge module with a field trip to a local stream to measure discharge.
  • Ask students to predict possible outcomes and draw their own plots and graphs, which you can then use to identify weaknesses in their conceptual understanding at the outset, and adjust your pace accordingly.
  • When multiple students are teamed up to work on the same computer, have them switch regularly or check in at certain break points in the modules to ensure that everyone gets to use the computer.
  • Pair students into teams based on their computer operating system (e.g., PCs with PCs, Macs with Macs).
  • Pair students with unequal spreadsheet skill levels, and then ensure that both take turns operating the computer.
  • Write Excel shortcuts on the board.
  • Allow students who finish early to roam around the room as peer teaching assistants.
  • Prompt class discussion by highlighting individual students' activity through projecting that student's computer screen.
  • Be an undercover expert – you can be the research assistant and the class can give you instructions on how to address the questions. This eliminates the "Excel barrier" because you are making the graphs and manipulating the data but it still allows students to engage with the key questions and concepts (i.e., make decisions about how to use data).


Examples of modules changed for a particular context

  • Short description of module changed to allow students to choose their own hydrography
  • Short description of module adapted to use data from a local GLEON lake

Examples of Modules in courses

NOTE : consider adding examples from different disciplines and courses that used different numbers of modules

  • Course name and number - link to syllabus file
  • Course 2 and number -link to syllabus file