87th AMS Annual Meeting

Sunday, 14 January 2007
Progress in the Implementation Of Online Ocean Studies in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences at North Carolina Central University
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Harris E. Williams, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
The Online Ocean Studies course is presented in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). The course is structured to an audience of mainly undergraduate students. NCCU, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), is one of the 16 constitute institutions of the University of North Carolina system. NCCU is an expanding university with a culturally diverse student body of over eight thousand and is projected by the University of North Carolina to have over ten thousand students within the next ten years.

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences was started in 1960 by Dr. Theodore R. Speigner. It has been a major producer of students trained in Geography and the Earth Sciences. The undergraduate degree program (BS) is in Geography while the graduate degree program (MS) is in the Earth Sciences. Although the graduate degree program is only about 10-years old, it has produced qualified students with the M.S. degrees in the Earth Sciences.

The Online Ocean Studies at NCCU is a 2000- level course, taught to students from across all disciplines. Students majoring in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Biology Criminal Justice, Psychology and other disciplines elect to enroll in the class to gain practical knowledge centering on ocean dynamics. Students not only gain valuable information but satisfy general curiosities regarding the oceans. Test results indicate that comprehension levels exceed the average. The class is taught hands-on in an interactive learning format. In the first two weeks of the semester, before the first exercises for the new semester are online, teh standard modules (from AA to CB are presented). Students get to discuss real world oceanographic problems. They are introduced to some of the problems of navigating a ship into port, ocean pollution, the monitoring of ocean salinity and temperature, fisheries and bychatches, and our national policy toward the oceans.

The Online Ocean classes are limited by the availability of computers. Students in the Online Ocean classes have averaged a little over ten (10) students per semester. This number is expected to increase rather rapidly to between twenty and thirty (20 to 30) students each semester, with an increasing student population and class popularity.

Students taking the Online Ocean course have performed quite well with an overall average of (90) to (100) percent on the tests. Without exception, all the students have given the course very good reviews.

The introduction of the Online Ocean Studies on NCCU's campus as well as other campuses is a major boost to the programs. It supports those institutions who aspire to develop more formal offerings in oceanography studies.

Online Ocean Studies has been a very useful and popular course in the Geography and Earth Sciences curriculum at North Carolina Central University in Durham North Carolina.

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