Progress Implementing the AMS Online Climate Studies Course at North Carolina Central University

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Harris E. Williams, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC

Online Climate Studies is offered in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). The course is structured to an audience of undergraduate student. NCCU, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), is one of the 16 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina system. NCCU is an expanding university with a culturally diverse student body of over eight thousand-five hundred and is projected by the University of North Carolina to have over ten thousand students within the next three years. The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences was started in 1960 by Dr. Theodore R. Speigner. In 2006 the department merged with the Department of Environmental Science, thus forming the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences. However, it will continue to be a major producer of students trained in Geography and the Earth Sciences. The undergraduate degrees offered are in geography and environmental science while the graduate degree program (MS) is in the earth sciences. Although the graduate degree program is about 15-years old, it has produced qualified students with the M.S. degree in the Earth Sciences. Four Master of Science degrees were conferred this past semester. This 3000-level course is taught to students from all disciplines. Students majoring in Geography and Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Biology Criminal Justice, Psychology and other disciplines elect to enroll in the class to gain practical knowledge centering on Climate and Weather. Students not only gain valuable information, but satisfy general curiosities regarding the climates, especially in the United States. Test results indicate that comprehension levels exceed the average. The class is taught hands-on in an interactive learning environment. The Online Climate classes are limited by the availability of computer workstations. The numbers range between (20-30) students each semester. With-out exception, all the students have given the course very good reviews. The introduction of the Online Climate Studies on NCCU's campus as well as other campuses is a major boost to their programs. It also helps smaller institutions that have limited resources to offer courses that may not otherwise be accessible to their students. Online Climate Studies has been a very useful and popular course in the Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences curriculum at North Carolina Central University in Durham North Carolina. The learning experience this summer for the week of May 19 24, 2013, at the AMS Climate Studies Diversity project workshop in Silver Spring, MD was very fulfilling and rewarding. There were presentations from climate science speakers in the morning of May 20th . On Tuesday, May 21 we took a field trip to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. There we were given presentations and tours at NASA. We attended workshop activities at AAAS. We also visited the Smithsonian museums which included Ocean Hall exhibit at the National Museum of National History and National Air and Space Museum. On Thursday, May 23 we had a very exciting field trip to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and to the Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation (BCCSO) where we received presentations and tours. The presentations and tour from Howard University students and professors was also a highlight in a week that was full of information about climate science, excitement and discovery. This was a very busy and educational week that included a great deal of information, contacts, sharing of information and getting a chance to meet other professors who are also teaching the Online Climate Studies course.