Implementation of AMS Climate Studies Course at Community College

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Shizuko Watanabe, Eastfield College, Mesquite, TX

Eastfield College is a part of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), located in Mesquite, TX. It is a primary Hispanic serving institution with a student population of over 14,000. American Meteorological Society (AMS) Climate Studies will be implemented as a part of geology course. Our geology program is under the Science and Physical Education Division. Typical students in our geology program are non-science majors who are taking a course to fulfill their requirement for Associate degree or transfer to a university.

The implementation of the course will begin in the fall of 2013. It will be offered as a four credit course that meets twice a week for a 80 minute lecture followed by a 80 minute lab. There is a prerequisite of either Earth Science or Physical Geology for the course. Through the initial implementation phase, two on-campus (face-to-face) sections will be taught by two different instructors. I will teach the morning section, while an adjunct professor will cover the evening section. Each section is capped at 24 students, limited by the number of seats in the geology laboratory room. Laptop computers are available for each student in the laboratory. The course management system used in our college is Blackboard.

I had the opportunity to attend the AMS Climate Studies Course Implementation Workshop in May of 2013. The workshop, consisting of various presentations and field trips, was informative and provided some insights into a successful implementation of AMS Climate Studies. The data and educational resources made available by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in addition to AMS are very valuable for creating in-class activities. The workshop also provided a great networking opportunity with professionals from other institutions as well as other disciplines.

During a 16 week long semester, I plan to cover 13 out of the 15 chapters in the textbook, excluding two static chapters (14 and 15). Student assessments will include lecture tests, lab assignments, group presentations, an individual presentation, and participation (in-class activities). I employ student-centered teaching methods, and plan to engage students through various in-class activities. Throughout the first semester, I will create activities that will incorporate students' analytical, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. Most of the activities will be done in the cooperative learning environment, using student response device (clicker). In addition to face-to-face meetings, I plan to use Blackboard to supplement students' learning. In the future, I plan to seek the possibility of teaching the AMS Climate Studies course online.