87th AMS Annual Meeting

Sunday, 14 January 2007
Implementing AMS Online Weather Studies and Online Ocean Studies at Columbia Union College
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Serhii Kalynovskyi, Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD
Columbia Union College (Takoma Park, MD) is liberal arts, 4-year, minority-serving (more then 70% of student population) institution in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. About half of the students come from Mid-Atlantic and other states and half from the local community. The college is located only a mile away from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) headquarters, making meteorology and oceanography courses both relevant and practical. In addition, the college's faculty and administration believe that curriculum developed by American Meteorological Society (AMS) with funding from the National Science Foundation is an ideal offering for satisfying general education requirements in the area of science, which was the topic of our previous presentation at the 14th AMS Symposium on Education.

The Online Weather Studies class has been offered three times and received positive evaluations. The class was chosen as an honors course taught in the fall of 2005. In spring of 2006 its instructor received a special grant to teach it in the summer of 2006. The first two times the class was taught in a traditional format, as a 4-credit (3 lecture+1 lab) general education science class. The course was taught in a computerized physics lab, which allowed easy incorporation of work with the AMS course website, computer animations, maps and other online materials in the class. A VantagePro 2 automatic meteorological station was purchased in order to make meteorological observations part of the curriculum. The course also included two field trips: local NWS forecast office in Sterling, VA and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Currently, a completely online class is being taught utilizing Desire2Learn as a course management system.

An Online Ocean Studies class has been scheduled for a first time offering in the fall of 2006. The course will be taught in the traditional format, as a general education 4-credit-hours science class. An aggressive advertising campaign emphasized course involvement with major contemporary environmental issues. A field (boat) trip to Chesapeake Bay, utilizing the educational program of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, is planned as well as field trips to NOAA facilities. This class will also be taught in a computerized lab and utilize opportunities provided by modern educational and oceanographic technology. By the time this presentation is made the course will be completed and the presentation will contain the instructor's evaluation of his fresh teaching experience.

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