Initial Publication Date: November 30, 2016

Faculty Reflection: Diane Maygarden

University of New Orleans
Course(s): Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society (taught online at UNO, as Earth 107 materials through PSU website)

A Success Story in Programmatic Change

The class was taught 100% online at UNO for the first time this semester. The materials were streamlined for online teaching and the goal was to make the workload manageable for the students as previously this was an issue. I think this goal was achieved. The students have given positive feedback that the course was valuable to them and few said it was too much work. During the semester, he students completed 12 (weekly) summative assessment labs, a quiz, and a blog. They particularly enjoyed the blog which was designed to provide interesting, current reading on a topic related to the module for the week. UNO students were passionately interested in coastal issues. Some students found some of the labs challenging. Some of the non science majors struggled a bit with the Excel assignments and some other technology heavy parts and the geological concepts. But most seemed to rally once they figured out that the class was going to be challenging rather than just passive learning and even appreciated the challenge. Specifically, some of the materials still need a little editing to make it seamless for a new instructor but The SERC site should be easier to use online. If the students are assigned the formative assessments as well as the summative assessments the workload will be very heavy with the risk of losing students. However, some of the summative assessments are valuable for understanding the materials so skipping them can be detrimental. I re-wrote many rubrics for my grading as I did not find the rubrics helpful. New instructors may find more specific information with answers to some of the questions. The quizzes were not immediately available. I was able to get them from the PSU site, so I am wondering if they will be provided to the instructors or if instructors will have to write their own. Overall, my experience as a new instructor but also an author of some of the materials in the course was positive. It was a lot of work to teach online for the first time even though I was familiar with the materials. Setting up as much of the course as possible on the CMS used by the school offering the class is imperitive as grading can get very time consuming. The directions to the students need to be crystal clear. There was some confusion as there were multiple versions of labs on the site, so I served the lab worksheets directly on UNO's CMS and made sure the students used my edited worksheets rather than the directions on the site, to avoid confusion. this should be ironed out once the online materials are availale on SERC. I am happy to share my edits if needed.

Incorporating InTeGrate Materials

The Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society course was written specifically as an InTeGrate course. All of the materials are InTeGrate materials that have gone/ are going through InTeGrate's rigorous review process.


The adaptations described above included moderating the amount of work the students were required to do by skipping some of the assessments (formatives) and editing some of the lab directions a little in order to remove confusion.

Outcomes and Evidence

I asked the students to reflect on what they were taking away from the course in the final blog and their responses were very helpful for me to see that even those who were not necessarily receiving high grades (most students have B's at this point) said that they had learned a tremendous amount and the materials had opened their eyes so that they see the world differently in terms of world-wide coastal hazards. they found the labs challenging but they said they learned a lot by persevering and finishing the work.