Use of Social Media in Expanding Weather Discussion Opportunities
The purpose of this paper is to present experiences in extending student weather discussions from classroom and laboratory setting to social media, as applied in Synoptic Meteorology course at California University of Pennsylvania. Weather discussion is an essential pedagogical approach to develop meteorology student's data analysis skills and encourage students to be aware of current weather events. It also provides an instructor an opportunity to assess students' conceptual knowledge in a way that is usually not possible other types of assessments. Additionally, weather discussion allows an instructor to give students instantaneous feedback on their presentations and thus guide their problems solving efforts. Common limitations of using weather discussions in synoptic meteorology courses is the fact that they are often given on a weekly schedule that is not modified in response to significant weather events, and the discussion is usually limited in time. Ubiquitous social media outlets provided for a new approach to mitigate some of those limitations was to extend the in-class weather discussions to social media.
The approach to extend our weather discussions to social media can be summarized as following. We chose three social media sites: Twitter, Facebook and Google+. We chose not to include our university's learning management system, Desire 2 Learn, as information is not easily shared between social media and that platform. Next step was to define a mission statement of this project, and set rules of conduct. Also, a grading policy was developed in such a way to encourage student participation, but also reward scientific accuracy and good weather analysis and forecasting techniques.
Discussion and Future Work
Because this is a presentation of a project that will be implemented from September to December 2014 we cannot present results in this extended abstract. What we hope for is to enhance student learning and encourage discussion about the use of social media in meteorology education among professionals from different institutions. We will also encourage interested parties to join us in developing collaboration efforts between different meteorology programs in creating an weather discussion platform that would foster communication between students enrolled in various meteorology programs in the Unites States and globally.