What's New @ SERC 2023
The CLEAN site includes more than 850 ready-to-use resources that have been reviewed by educators and scientists for elementary, secondary and higher education settings. The revamped website features guidance for teaching about climate and energy, including Spanish-language versions, as well as a growing collection of themed STEM Flash e-Newsletters, and a series of webinars, which have been recorded for viewing at your convenience. In addition, guidance is given for culturally-relevant climate literacy teaching as well as for creating your own NGSS-aligned units, utilizing CLEAN resources. The resources are complimented by the CLEAN Network: a professionally diverse community of climate literacy stakeholders who engage through weekly teleconferences and an active email list.
The Exemplary Collection showcases the best online teaching activities relevant to NAGT's community of Earth educators as scored by peer review on scientific veracity; alignment of goals, activity, and assessment; pedagogical effectiveness; robustness; and completeness of the Activity Sheet. In 2022, we completed the review of the two-decade legacy of On the Cutting Edge and the collection continues to grow each year as new activities are submitted and reviewed so check back regularly!
This year, Teaching Computation Using MATLAB community members continued the peer review of MATLAB based teaching activities. The strongest of these teaching activities are highlighted in an exemplary collection showcasing high quality teaching with MATLAB. Explore the exemplary collection and consider submitting your own MATLAB teaching activity for the next round of peer review.
The Teach the Earth portal is an entry point for educators in the geosciences and related fields to find a broad array of teaching and learning resources. Consolidating thousands of resources from dozens of independent projects, this NAGT-managed hub provides Earth educators a "one-stop shop" where they can search multiple Earth Education websites for a specific course or activity or browse resources by topic, level, pedagogic strategy, and much more.
Department and Program Guidance
The EvaluateUR Method provides an online guided evaluation process designed for programs that support research experiences for undergraduates. This year, the website is undergoing major updates to include all three versions: EvaluateUR, E-CURE, and E-Compete, and to accommodate the rapidly growing number of participating programs from around the country. Additionally, a new set of Metacognition activities are available to educators and research mentors, to engage students further in their metacognitive learning process.
LCC4 proposes to make substantial, cross-institutional progress toward meaningful evaluation of inclusive teaching by working collaboratively on three important pillars underlying meaningful evaluation of inclusive and effective teaching - Policies, Instructor Development, and Sources of Evidence. Learning Teams are based on the context of each participating institution, using information derived from lessons learned during Phase I and insights regarding where we anticipate making the greatest progress at each of our institutions.
The Accelerating Systemic Change Network (ASCN) is a network of individuals and institutions, formed with the goal of more quickly advancing STEM education programs. Our unique approach is to bring together those who are researching systemic change at higher education institutions, with those who are making systemic change happen at their individual institutions. Resources include timely webinars, blog posts and resource collections for supporting pedagogical, curricular, and cultural change in higher education as well as a record of materials from the June 2023 Transforming Institutions conference.
As part of the Expanding Pathways project, programs for STEM teacher preparation were examined for impactful practices in helping future K12 teachers engage students with geoscience content. The resulting program profiles illuminate the goals, strengths, and successes of the participating institutions in increasing the ability of future teachers to teach geoscience content in K12 classrooms and provide key recommendations to support other HBCUs.
IINSPIRE - VSEER
The IINSPIRE Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation is sharing new resources for their Virtual Summer Experience for Early Research (VSEER) program. This is a a multi-faceted early exposure to research experience and training for LSAMP undergraduate scholars to deepen their understanding of research methodologies, explore current research in the STEM disciplines, and define their research interest. Class sessions work to intentionally build community among VSEER scholars and with key alliance leaders and mentors and develop participant STEM identity in the context of student intersectionality.
Project EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration) offers a variety of teaching materials -- from short video tutorials and statistical vignettes to classroom activities -- using large, publicly available datasets to engage students in STEM and improve their quantitative reasoning. The growing collection of teaching modules span topics such as ecology, limnology, geology, hydrology, and environmental sciences. Project EDDIE also helps build the associated professional development needed to ensure effective use of the teaching modules. Browse curricular modules, explore statistical vignettes that support you as you teach common statistical topics, and check out the teaching videos and tutorials collection. Sign up to receive email updates about Project EDDIE.
New Navigation Features from Compass
The Compass project is an effort at SERC to help our users find the teaching resources they need more efficiently and effectively. During the last year, we released a new Earth education activity search interface that allows you to search by activity type (project, lab...) and grade level. Our popular and powerful Pages You Might Like recommendation section, found at the bottom of most SERC pages, has been expanded with even more recommendations to explore. We've also added a new Activity Classification display which provides a another mechanism to discover related activities.
The IGUaNA teaching materials feature urban environmental, engineering, and forensic questions that can be answered, at least in part, through geophysics. Each IGUaNA module is comprised of three to five "units" and takes about 1-2 weeks of class time. A fourth teaching module, focused on teaching magnetics and gravity, has been added to the original three modules (evaluating the health of an urban wetland, measuring depth to bedrock for an urban renewal project, and identifying subsurface objects without digging).
The Business And Science: Integrated Curriculum for Sustainability (BASICS) team is developing transdisciplinary curriculum modules for undergraduate students that combine STEM and business, with a focus on the wicked problems of sustainability in a global economy. Two modules featuring transdisciplinary learning and approaches are ready for use: The Wicked Problem of Water Quality in the Mississippi River Watershed and The Wicked Problem of an Equitable Zero-Waste Circular Economy. These modules have been piloted, revised, and evaluated for their impact on student knowledge and skills around sustainability. New this year are pages describing instructor use of and experiences with the modules, as well as supplementary exercises that tie the modules into existing disciplinary courses.
Undergraduate majors in the Earth and environmental sciences also often struggle with effectively applying math in Earth science. This project, The Math Your Earth Science Majors Need (TMYN-Majors), is developing co-curricular modules to support majors-level students on math concepts relevant to majors-level courses. The math questions and practice problems are drawn from a variety of Earth sciences sub-disciplines, so students have the opportunity to use math within the scientific context on a range of applications. Math classes taken in math departments, while valuable, often fail to give students practice using math in their own subject area and students are often not able to effectively transfer the skills themselves.
More SERC-hosted resources
Through a partnership with the EarthScope Consortium (formerly UNAVCO), this site now reflects the current state of the art in Teaching about Geodesy: the science of accurately measuring the Earth's size, shape, orientation, mass distribution and how these vary with time. The site includes more than 100 teaching activities, videos and supporting resources. They span undergraduate and secondary audiences and include resources for both classroom and field courses. The site is an entry point to Geodesy materials from multiple SERC-hosted projects and includes undergraduate teaching activities previously held on the original UNAVCO site.
What's Coming from SERC
Workshop for Early Career Faculty 2024
Join us for NAGT's annual multi-day workshop in a stimulating and resource-rich environment, where you will participate in sessions on topics including effective teaching strategies, course design, establishing a research program in a new setting, working with research students, balancing professional and personal responsibilities, and time management. The Early Career Geoscience Faculty workshop is for faculty in their first three years of a tenure-track or equivalent position, with priority given to applicants entering their second or third years in their position. Participants must have a full-time faculty position at a two-year or four-year college or a university at the time of the workshop and must be in their first three years of full-time teaching or starting a full-time position in the Fall.
Earth Educators' Rendezvous 2024
Save the date for the 2024 Rendezvous in Philadelphia, PA, July 15-19, 2024, with local hosts Alexandra Davatzes and Tim Shipley, and co-conveners Andrea Bair and Barbra Sobhani! The Rendezvous brings together researchers and practitioners working in all aspects of undergraduate Earth education, including a mix of college faculty, graduate students, and K-12 teachers from all disciplines who are interested in improving their teaching about Earth. Our program is designed to appeal to everyone from the instructor attending their first Earth education-themed meeting, to experienced STEM education researchers, to administrators who want to better support students in their programs. Among many options, participants can learn about new teaching approaches, discover opportunities to get involved in research programs, prepare for an academic career, or discuss how to approach teaching and learning challenges in their classroom. Consider joining the Rendezvous for 2- or 3-day blocks, or for the whole week-long (5-day) event.
Disciplinary Societies and Community Colleges
Through an NSF funded conference, we convened a virtual workshop series, involving disciplinary societies and two-year college faculty from 11 different disciplines, to develop action plans and networks aimed at expanding collaborations between two-year colleges and disciplinary societies. A culminating workshop report that shares the outcomes will be published online following the series.
Community Contribution Tool
Through a new NSF funded project we'll be developing the 'Community Contribution Tool.' This tool will provide a way for educators who've used SERC-hosted activities to share their experiences back with the community. Have you modified an activity, combined it with new data, or want to share how it played out with your students? With this new tool you'll be able to document and share those resources and experiences directly through the existing activity page. These community contributions will be displayed within the original activity page, allowing educators to learn from each other's real-world experiences.
SERC's For Higher Ed portal provides faculty, program leads, department chairs, and learning centers with direct access to resources that help improve teaching and learning, design courses and programs, create inter-institutional networks, support career paths, and more. Recently updated resources in the portal include Broaden Participation in STEM and Making and Sustaining Institutional Change.