A comparison of implementing the AMS Weather Studies course in a traditional vs online classroom

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Kelly Esslinger, Arizona Western College, Yuma, AZ

Within the education community there are strong opinions on whether a science course can be adequately taught using an online setting. The AMS Online Weather Studies curriculum is able to be adapted in both an online and traditional setting. The traditional setting allows the teacher to supplement the AMS material with demonstrations and hands-on experience, which would not be available in the online setting. The online setting is appealing to an increasing number of students for its flexibility.

The Online Weather Studies curriculum has been offered at Arizona Western College for several years, primarily in an online setting. In the fall of 2009, it will be offered in both an online and traditional setting. Using the same assessment standards, a comparison will be made between the two courses to verify whether or not students are achieving similar success. Student feedback will be presented, along with methodologies used for each course and assessment results.

Arizona Western College is a community college in Yuma, Arizona. It serves approximately 12,000 students, of which 57% are female. Yuma serves a large Hispanic community, and college demographics include 47% Hispanic, 33% White. The median age of the student is 24 years.