7.4 STEM Education through a Distance Meteorology Class: Studying Weather and Climate as a Network of Observers in Alaska

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 11:15 AM
North 229AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Richard L. Collins, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK; and S. M. Holland

Weather and Climate of Alaska (course ATM101X) is a class where undergraduate students in Alaska study weather and climate by sharing their observations, analysis, and interpretations of weather they have experienced with classmates across the state. This four-credit freshman-level undergraduate class meets core laboratory science requirements for bachelors’ and associates’ degrees at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Since spring 2012 students in 30 communities across Alaska have completed the class. Students record their local weather by sky watching and making measurements of the weather conditions. They then interpret the weather they document by combining their own measurements with station data and maps from the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS station data also allows student to validate their own measurements. The students provide video reports (or screencasts) online that present their measurements, analysis, and interpretation. Student then review these videos and discuss each others work through online peer discussion. The roles and responsibilities of the students are typical of those found in learner-centered classes and include working as a team, participating in discovery learning, evaluating learning, presenting publicly, developing problem solving strategies and skills, solving authentic problems, reflecting, demonstrating use of feedback, and taking risks. The class was developed with sponsorship from the NASA-funded Alaska Space Grant Program (ASGP). The class meets ASGP goals in STEM education. The class supports access for students across Alaska to laboratory STEM classes, is relevant to NASA’s mission of STEM education, and provides a permanent and sustainable educational opportunity in the core curriculum. In this presentation we discuss the principles and practices we have employed, lessons learned, and future goals in developing and delivering this distance STEM class. We invite feedback from attendees on addressing the AMS themes of interdisciplinary, international, and inclusion.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner