Sunday, 14 January 2007
AMS Online Weather Studies Course at Gallaudet University
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Gallaudet University in Washington, DC is a liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. With a small faculty available to satisfy student academic needs in many areas, it offers a limited range of earth sciences courses through its departments of biology, and chemistry/physics. Several years ago, an introductory earth sciences and astronomy course was instituted that is co-taught by biology and chemistry/physics faculty and that has experienced increasing enrollment. For 10 years, we have conducted GLOBE Program training workshops for teachers and have a weather station installed on campus. The AMS Online Weather course will be offered during the Fall 2006 semester as a 3 credit Special Topics course with no laboratory. The online format and extensive resources offered by the AMS Weather course were major factors considered in adopting the course. We are considering establishing the course with a laboratory as a regular course offering. During this Fall, we also hope to initiate a modest balloon flight program in collaboration with the District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium and NASA to make observations of the atmosphere and motivate more students to consider opportunities in earth and space science. Instrument package preparation and balloon launches could be included in several of our courses to illustrate important principles of science and give students a first-hand experience with scientific exploration. Having the capabilty to instrument and conduct local balloon launches will greatly impact our future weather course planning.