Western Illinois University and EOL: Virtual Learning Labs in an Instruments class

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Redina L. Herman, Western Illinois Univ., Macomb, IL; and A. Rockwell
Manuscript (147.1 kB)

"Virtual Learning Labs" were created through collaboration with the NCAR Earth Observing Lab (EOL) for the Principles of Meteorological Instruments class at Western Illinois University (WIU). WIU is a teaching university that caters primarily to first-generation college students. About half of our students come from the Chicago area and the other half come from the rural mid-west. Junior and Senior-level meteorology majors were enrolled in the Instruments class. There were four Virtual Learning Labs, representing four of EOL's facilities (Remote Sensing Facility [RSF], In-Situ Sensing Facility [ISF] and Research Aviation Facility [RAF], and Field Project Service [FPS]). Each of these labs was led by the professor (locally) and an EOL scientist (remotely, via Skype). Before the lab, students were asked to do a web search to explore the EOL scientist's areas of expertise so that they came prepared to ask questions and fully participate in a meaningful discussion. A piece of EOL instrumentation was shipped to the class so that the students could work with the instrument while the EOL scientist explained its operation and assisted with the lab exploration. This allowed our students the opportunity to directly interact with EOL scientists and use equipment that would otherwise not be available.