89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 13 January 2009: 8:45 AM
Developing Inquiry-Based Learning Modules for Integration into Introductory Atmospheric Science Courses for Non-Majors
Room 125B (Phoenix Convention Center)
James Tobin, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; and R. M. Mosier, C. C. Reed, C. Schumacher, and U. Karadkar
Graduate students and faculty at Texas A&M University have used a useful web-based learning tool called Walden's Path as the cornerstone of new inquiry-based learning modules for incorporation into introductory atmospheric science courses for non-majors. In addition to guided learning paths, the modules include lecture slides, small group in-class activities, and a “clicker” question database.

From the students' perspective, the web-based component of the modules provides the benefit of a guided self-study in topics that may otherwise be covered solely by lecture and limited in-class demonstrations. Walden's Path provides students with a guided tour of the Internet, including both existing web sites and web pages created specifically for each module. Students may, at their own pace, deviate from the path and find as much information about the subject as they wish, or stick to the path and find the minimum amount of knowledge expected of them. The small group in-class activities are also meant to enhance the inquiry-based learning process.

From the instructors' standpoint, the modules create some consistency among the different sections of introductory meteorology for non-majors and provide a full suite of teaching tools for topics that may not be within their specific field of expertise. The instructors can choose to use all or part of the module in their class instruction.

Each learning module is designed to use one week of class time. Modules available for the fall semester of 2008 cover air pollution meteorology, climate and climate change, severe weather, and tropical cyclones.

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