Using Project EDDIE modules in Introduction to Environmental Science

Kristy Hopfensperger, Northern Kentucky University

About this Course

Introduction to Environmental Science

Lecture Course

Introductory Undergraduate

Majors and Non-Majors

EDDIE Module(s) Adopted and/or Adapted

Active learning with data in a gen ed intro course

I implemented the module into an Intro to Environmental Science course that consists of mostly non-science majors and was taught online due to Covid. With over 50 students, we looked at data throughout the semester with all topics each week; however, the students did not have the opportunity to really play with data themselves in class. I enjoy teaching about climate change and thought this would be a perfect topic to incorporate a hands-on data activity. Most students were appreciative of the hands-on opportunity, but wished it would have been in person instead of online.

Jump to: Course Context | Teaching Details | How It Went | Future Use

Relationship of EDDIE Module(s) to my Course

The module was used to provide a hands-on opportunity to play with data that supported the lecture content students were learning. Students were not required to do anything ahead of time; however, all materials were made available weeks ahead and students were notified they could look through the activity ahead of time if they wanted to. They also had one other opportunity to work with data previously in the semester.

Teaching Details

The module was completed in lecture class as a guided activity. We only did the first part of the module. I redid the powerpoint with a little more info on phenology and made it more accessible.

Adaption Materials

Updated powerpoint (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 2.4MB May18 21)

updated student instructions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 36kB May18 21)

How did the activity go?

I found it very challenging to teach online for a few reasons:

  1. Too many documents – a powerpoint, excel spreadsheet, and Word instructions all with Zoom platform led to a lot of going back and forth – likely making it even harder for students to follow along. They also had all these documents, which was tough for them.
  2. Everyone has different devices and software – I gave lots of warning asking students to come to class with a computer that has Excel (all computer labs on campus...), but many still showed up with tablets that only had google sheets, etc. I am not familiar with google sheets and found it nearly impossible to lead the unit in both excel and google while online, etc.
  3. Feedback with 50 students online is hard – it was hard to know if students were following or completely lost. I stopped many times and had students use thumbs up to let me know if they were ready to move on. Chat function was always available too, yet another screen for me to keep an eye on.

On the plus side – we did get through the entire activity as I had planned during the class time allotted.

Students struggled the most on Google Sheets because I was guiding on Excel; however, they were all on the same sheet I created and one student knew what to do very well and kind of led the activity on google sheets for the others to follow along. Downside – those students watched someone else kind of do the activity.

Most students reported that they really enjoyed the opportunity to play with data. They liked how I did the activity step by step with them, leading them through the actions, while they also did it in Excel.

Many of the same students that said they enjoyed the opportunity also reported that doing it online was a bit challenging and that they wished they would have got to do it in person. A few reported having a hard time following along.

Future Use

This instructor story and adaption materials were developed during a Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network in partnership with QUBES in the Spring of 2021.

Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network logo

I would definitely do this activity again, but preferably in the classroom, in-person. If I did the activity online I would break it up even more into steps and different days. Maybe one day just one graph and they have to all show it on their screen or something...
If in person, I would also probably break it up into two days to allow more time to go around and help students. With this I would add some more discussion questions for students to work on if they are ahead.