Three years of progress teaching an introductory oceanography class using the American Meteorological Society's Ocean Studies course

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Jacquelyn Hams, Los Angeles Valley College, Valley Glen, CA

Los Angeles Valley College is one of nine multicultural campuses that comprise the Los Angeles Community College District, the largest community college district in the United States. These nine campuses have a combined enrollment of approximately 123,000 students with dozens of satellite locations in the greater Los Angeles area. The majority of the campuses, including Los Angeles Valley College, are classified as Hispanic Serving Institutions as defined by the Department of Education.

The American Meteorological Society Ocean Studies curriculum has been offered in various formats at Los Angeles Valley College since spring 2007. The Ocean Studies curriculum was first offered as part of the Oceanography 10 two-unit Laboratory course taught in the online format. The online investigations from the AMS Online Ocean Studies curriculum website were incorporated as laboratory assignments in the spring 2007, fall 2007, and spring 2008 semesters. During the fall 2008 semester, the Ocean Studies Investigation Manual was adopted for the Oceanography 10 Laboratory online course. The Ocean Studies textbook and Ocean Studies Investigation Manual were adopted for use in the web-enhanced introductory Oceanography lecture course in fall 2008 and are currently used for the lecture course which is taught in the hybrid format. The Ocean Studies curriculum offered in the hybrid format appears to be the most successful at Los Angeles Valley College based on the student comments and final grades. This success may be attributed to the need for students to have some face-to-face interaction with the instructor.

The American Meteorological Society Ocean Studies curriculum is beneficial to students in several ways. Students develop graph reading skills, gain experience in solving fundamental mathematical equations and conversions, and are exposed to the same data sets analyzed by scientists.