Synoptic Meteorology in a Blended Online Environment: Results from UCAR and Member University Collaboration

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 11:45 AM
125AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Andrea M. Smith, UCAR, Boulder, CO

In fall semester 2014, Millersville University's senior-level synoptic meteorology course will be taught via a partnership between its Earth Sciences department and the University Visits in Scientific Interaction and Teaching Program (UVisit) within University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). The instructor will travel to Millersville two times during the semester, resulting in approximately three weeks of face-to-face instruction. The remainder of the semester will feature units of online instruction, in both synchronous and asynchronous formats.

To achieve high-quality instruction in both a quantitative treatment of synoptic-dynamic theory as well as hands-on application of the theory in the labs, a two-pronged approach will be used. A combination of instructor-created video learning objects and online learning modules from UCAR's COMET® Program will be presented to students asynchronously to enhance learning of quantitative materials. New interactive learning widgets from the COMET® Program, along with instructor-created laboratory activities will also be presented asynchronously to allow students to explore and apply their theoretical knowledge.

Weekly synchronous sessions will tie theory and application together through instructor and student-led briefings on current weather. Small groups of students will create video-based weather briefings offline, after which they will be uploaded and distributed to the class for viewing. These pre-recorded student briefings will be then be analyzed and discussed during the following week's synchronous session. Finally, the synchronous sessions will serve as a critical time for not only student-instructor interaction, but also student-student interaction and team-building in general.

A general overview and summary of course outcomes, including student opinion surveys and performance, will be presented at the January meeting.