Tuesday, 15 January 2002: 3:00 PM
The Weather Communications Option
The Weather Communications Option, which satisfies the requirement for professional electives needed to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in meteorology at The Pennsylvania State University, offers four sequential courses that afford students the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience in science writing, teaching, weather forecasting, broadcasting, industry, climatology and forensic meteorology. Seven instructors who compose the Weather Communications Group team-teach the first two courses, WeatherCom I and WeatherCom II. The first course is a survey of the seven professional areas, while the second course offers five-week workshops that combine related fields. In a workshop that emphasized principles of science writing and teaching, two small teams of seniors developed web-based teaching modules for incoming freshmen majors to learn how to use and interpret short-range computer forecasting models. The aim of these local outreach modules is to better prepare freshmen to become contributing members of Campus Weather Service, which is a student-run organization with approximately 150 members that supplies forecasts for small radio stations, the school newspaper and a local cable television station. Besides serving as an effective environment for freshmen to actively learn, it afforded each member of the design teams the opportunity to incorporate parts of the project into their electronic portfolios, which the Weather Communications Group believes can be pivotal to students interviewing for professional positions in related fields. Pedagogical undertones, design strategies, rubrics and other modes of assessment for students enrolled in the workshop will be discussed, along with an electronic presentation of some of the students' work.