8.6 Communication and Atmospheric Dynamics—More than Just Derivations

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 3:00 PM
Ballroom C (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Teresa M. Bals-Elsholz, Valparaiso Univ., Valparaiso, IN; and A. J. Stepanek and K. H. Goebbert

Communication has always been a component of the Atmospheric Dynamics course sequence at Valparaiso University. The second semester course carried the brunt of the communication with student-lead map discussions and a monumental 10-12 page topic-synopsis paper. Over the past two years, we have altered our approach to communication for both the map discussions and the synopsis paper.

Map discussions are a key feature of second semester Atmospheric Dynamics lab. Teams of students (generally 2-3) lead each week’s discussion. Students present the overall picture of the atmosphere, while highlighting the past week’s class topics. January discussions might focus on circulations and vorticity, while February’s lead into vorticity tendency and advections, and April’s with full-fledge Quasi-Geostrophic diagnostic and prognostic discussions. All students are encouraged to engage in the discussion, whether by asking or answering questions, or physically identifying features on the projection system.

As part of a university initiative to include writing throughout a student’s academic career, faculty engaged in workshops to learn how to teach writing. As a result, the way writing has been included in Atmospheric Dynamics has evolved over the last three years. This past and current academic year has expanded the writing assignment into a series of assignments. In much the same way that first semester Atmospheric Dynamics starts with the fundamental first principles and builds skills and equations to a more complex understanding of jet streak dynamics in the second semester, so too the writing assignments in the fall start with a basic article synopsis and build to the final spring paper.

Highlights of how communication is incorporated into Atmospheric Dynamics will be presented.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner