87th AMS Annual Meeting

Sunday, 14 January 2007
Teaching Online Ocean Studies at Sacramento City College, Sacramento, California
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Michael Hunter, Sacramento City College, Sacramento, CA
Through the Online Ocean Studies National Dissemination/Diversity Project, Online Ocean Studies will be offered for the Sacramento City College in Fall 2006 as an online course; Blackboard will be used as our course-management system.

Sacramento City College is a community college within the Los Rios Community College District, serving the mid-region Sacramento community. Sacramento City College has a diverse student population of 22,000, with 21.8% Asian, 16.4% Latino, 12.4% African-Americans, 14.5% “other” or non-white, and 34.8% whites. 41.5% of our students are over the age of 24, and more than 70% of students in our district work while attending college.

Online Weather Studies has been taught here for several semesters, and Online Ocean Studies has been taught once as an experimental course. Currently, the Department of Geography offers no traditional oceanography or meteorology courses. Students are mostly non-major. We have a higher percentage of non-white students than most other science courses.

Sacramento City College's Distance Education (DE) mandate offers learning opportunities outside of classroom, usually from home or a conveniently located off-campus site. DE allows students to earn college credits with fewer on-campus hours. These courses are designed to fit busy schedules and advance academic goals with a challenging educational experience. SCC is committed to giving our DE students the same individual support, academic standards, and experienced faculty found in our classrooms - plus the freedom to choose the learning mode: hybrid, interactive television, online, or telecourse.

Online Ocean Studies will be a valuable addition to the Sacramento City College's course catalog helping meet the needs of students in need of general education courses. It will also serve the needs of the increasing number of non-traditional students. It meets a natural sciences general education requirement at local four-year institutions.

Sacramento is situated near a major river input to the central California Delta. Our delta is an extremely large multi-bay estuarine ecosystem just inland from San Francisco Bay. The local Pacific Ocean is a main determinate of the Delta region's water and weather conditions. Of concern to all of California, local Delta issues involve shipping, pollution, water supplies, fishery concerns, and the many other ways that we impact the health of this ecosystem. The relevance of ocean stewardship for our region is an excellent platform to increase the interest in science for our many non-traditional students.

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