6.3 Improving Active Learning in Aviation Meteorology

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 11:00 AM
258C (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Daniel J. Halperin, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ., Daytona Beach, FL; and T. A. Guinn and R. Eicher

Aviation Weather is one of two introductory meteorology courses required for both meteorology majors as well as two additional aviation-focused majors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL (ERAU-DB). In addition, the course is also required for the over 270 students minoring in applied meteorology. Because of the high demand, there are 16-18 thirty-seat sections of this course taught by five faculty members, serving ~500 students per year. The goal is to provide a standard experience for the students, regardless of instructor. Therefore, all sections are assessed using the same set of homework/lab assignments and exams. Furthermore, the lecture materials are also standardized and have been primarily PowerPoint based.

Student feedback from end of course (EOC) evaluations indicated a strong desire to decrease the use of PowerPoint slides (i.e., “death by Powerpoint”) and increase the use of active-learning techniques during class. We therefore partnered with the ERAU-DB Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) to redesign the course by incorporating a variety of proven active-learning techniques to make the course more engaging and to enhance student understanding. These techniques included: use of classroom response systems; inverting the classroom; micro-labs using the “think, pair, share” strategy; daily online quizzes; and reformatting lecture slides to use the “assertion-evidence” method of presentation.

This presentation will discuss the many changes made to the course and their collective effectiveness. These changes were initially made in only roughly half of the course sections. Common assessments among all sections allowed for a quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of the course changes between the control group (those who taught the traditional version of the course) and the change group (those who incorporated the active-learning methods). Initial results show the sections that included the active-learning techniques exhibited higher mean exam scores. Indirect assessments via EOC evaluations were also overwhelmingly positive about the course changes.

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