Using Project EDDIE modules in Hybrid Oceanography Lab

Karen Bridges, Howard Comm

About this Course

Hybrid Oceanography Lab

Laboratory Course

Introductory Undergraduate


students in the course

EDDIE Module(s) Adopted and/or Adapted

Paleoclimate and Ocean Biogeochemistry

My course is a hybrid introductory oceanography laboratory course covering mostly physical and chemical oceanography; the course has no prerequisites. Over the last couple years, I've been trying to incorporate more activities using actual oceanographic data so that students understand reality is messy and that textbooks introduce concepts based upon ideal conditions. In addition to previously incorporating other data driven online laboratory exercises, this EDDIE module appealed to me because it gives students a chance to interact with the data the same way someone in the discipline could. Overall, students had positive reviews of Part A, but suggested Part B might be better as a face-to-face activity.

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

Relationship of EDDIE Module(s) to my Course

The exercise built upon previously covered lecture material regarding nutrients and productivity, and provided a data-based application of more abstract concepts. The module was given at the end of the semester, as a final exam week exercise since productivity is an end of the semester topic in the class.

Students were asked to be patient, start the module early, and be sure to ask me questions. Although this was an online activity, I was in our classroom during the designated final exam time to guide students. Attending was optional, and only two students took advantage of the offer.

Teaching Details

Parts A and B were adapted and used as an online exercise. I did not pilot Part C.

Many adaptations were made. I did not use the provided powerpoint, and I added extra explanations and links to additional materials for clarity. The changes made for each part are explained below:

I added a link to define what is meant by a "spatial pattern;" added a picture of Redfield with a pipe just for fun. I needed to offer an alternative way to think about "moles." There are no prerequisites to my course and I needed a way to easily conceptualize the mole. I am thinking if I do this exercise face-to-face in the future I could add in a short activity with marbles where students need 16 of one color to every 1 of another color. I added an example situation for interpreting the N/P ratio image. My students might have trouble with this.

I added a link to a web page explaining glacial and interglacial periods and a link to an article describing how dust flux can be measured over geologic time, just in case students are curious. I also added a link to clarify what is meant by dust flux.

I took a screenshot of the included Excel data file and inserted it within my canvas explanation page to show students exactly how each data set is accessed. My students are overwhelmingly not unfamiliar with Excel, so I also added a link to a Canvas page with include detailed instructions for manipulating data and making graphs.

To support question #8, I added a graph showing the timing of glacial and interglacial periods (NOT the one in the powerpoint). I also zoomed in so students could look exclusively at the last 100ka or so. I broke question #8 into 2 questions; since my students will only look at Southern Ocean data, I am adding a question asking if the same similarity in flux and glacial-interglacial periods is present in both data sets.

Adaption Materials

Canvas Landing Page for Students (Acrobat (PDF) 45kB Jul27 23)

Canvas Page for Part A (Acrobat (PDF) 2.2MB Jul27 23)

Canvas Page for Part B (Acrobat (PDF) 663kB Jul27 23)

Fun with Excel Tutorial (Acrobat (PDF) 602kB Jul27 23)

How did the activity go?

Part A went well. Student feedback indicated that this part of the assignment was well-suited to an online format, was clear and understandable.

Part B was more challenging for students. Students reported far less confidence in their mastery of the topic. They suggested this module would be better suited for in-person instruction. Much of this was due to using excel and then using higher order thinking skills to interpret the graphs. Despite the lower average, I was pleased with the level of mastery nonetheless.

The canvas quiz average for Part A was 80% for the class, and a 74% for Part B.

Students were exposed to some basic capabilities of Excel and some strategies for analyzing a data set. They were introduced to vocabulary, symbols, and units and were able to dig a little deeper by thinking about what units mean.

Future Use

This instructor story and adaption materials were developed during a Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network in partnership with QUBES in the fall of 2022.


Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network logo

Yes. I will use this again; however, I will introduce more data-driven labs and Excel skills earlier in the semester.

PART A: Clarify if the maps depict the data as averages per annum? Not sure if I missed this information somewhere?

PART B: I will consider assigning part A as a pre-lab assignment and then complete part B (and hopefully part C) in person.