Online Weather Studies Diversity Project: Enhancing an HBCU weather and climate course

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Sunday, 29 January 2006
Online Weather Studies Diversity Project: Enhancing an HBCU weather and climate course
Exhibit Hall A2 (Georgia World Congress Center)
David A. Padgett, Tennessee State Univ., Nashville, TN

Poster PDF (215.3 kB)

Tennessee State University (TSU) is one of about 115 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. Enrollment is just over 9,000 with an undergraduate population that is over 85 percent African American. Most students enroll in Weather and Climate (GEOG 3500) to fulfill upper-division general elective requirements. Growing numbers of pre-service and active k-12 teachers are taking the course to meet degree and certification requirements. Online Weather Studies (OWS) materials are being used to enhance the course content in an effort to increase students' interest. Currently, TSU has no formal earth sciences program. Only a Minor in Geography is available with approximately 20 students currently electing to complete it. Among the learning objectives met through incorporating the OWS material are for students to be able to: 1.) interpret weather and climate maps and remote sensing imagery, 2.) understand concepts of scale, space, and time with respect to atmospheric processes, and 3.) develop and effectively employ an extensive vocabulary of atmospheric science terminology. The dynamic, technical, and "real time" nature of the OWS content is expected to result in increased student enrollment in the course and in the Geography Minor program. Also expected is more k-12 teacher participation in TSU's partnership in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program. A larger mission is that of attracting African American students to research and career opportunities in the earth sciences. A completely on-line offering of GEOG 3500 supported by OWS content is being developed and will begin to be taught during the summer of 2006.