An internet based aviation meteorology course

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 4:00 PM
B214 (GWCC)
Donna F. Tucker, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Presentation PDF (25.2 kB)

The University of Kansas has begun offering an aviation meteorology course which is taught entirely over the Internet. The course is not self paced, however. It is taught during the regular semester with due dates of assignments throughout the semester. This course is expected to have a mixture of students some of whom may be atmospheric science majors and some of whom will be from other majors.

The course has a prerequisite of an introductory meteorology course. An introductory aerospace engineering course which includes a number of meteorological topics may be used as an alternative prerequisite. Thus, the course does not need to spend an extensive amount of time covering introductory meteorology but can concentrate on specific aviation topics. The course is not calculus based.

Students learn about various data sources and the advantages and disadvantages of various types of data and numerical model output for determining aviation hazards. Examples are given of the uses of various data sources for aviation weather. One of the goals of the course is for students to be able to create displays of meteorological data. The students learn to create some simple displays using the Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer (IDV). Some examples include alternative displays of surface data and construction of cross sections showing winds from numerical model analysis and forecast fields along a flight route. Students also learn to look at sounding data with BUFKIT.

Web based resources are used throughout the course including materials developed by the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology Education and Training (COMET) and posted on the Meted web site. Students also learn about the various aviation forecast products produced by the National Weather Service.

This course will be an elective course for all the students that take it. Offering it over the Internet means that students are not hindered from taking it because of scheduling conflicts. It also means that students from off campus can take the course. A number of community colleges in Kansas offer introductory meteorology but no other courses in meteorology. Aviation is an important industry in Kansas both for manufacturing and for its agricultural applications. An Internet course must provide more detailed directions for students, however. Exercises must have very explicit directions because no demos can be done in class. Assignments are small and frequent to make sure that students keep up with the work. Hopefully, in the future, the course will expand and be of interest to students from outside Kansas.