12th Symposium on Education


Development of In-Class Exercises to Accompany Interactive, Hands-On Meteorology for Undergraduate Non-Majors

Donna J. Charlevoix, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and R. Herman, L. Di Girolamo, and G. M. McFarquhar

The curriculum of the survey course "Introduction to Meteorology" has been modified to comply with a new Quantitative Reasoning, general education requirement implemented by the University of Illinois. The curriculum changes have focused on the incorporation of short, interactive, computer-based exercises that students can complete in a 50-minute class session held in a computer lab. The exercises, termed "Hands-On Meteorology Exercises" (HOME), utilize meteorology software applications developed specifically for this class. The computer applications focus on fundamental atmospheric processes such as stability, extratropical cyclone life cycle, greenhouse effect, and interpretation of weather maps, satellite and radar, as well as many others.

"In-class exercises" were developed as a pedagogical tool to guide students through the HOME applications and to help them extract fundamental information from the topic under investigation. The classroom instructor provided students with an overview of the computer application and then each student was left to investigate deeper on their own, answers questions from the in-class exercises as they progressed through the application. The topic was further investigated via a series of thought-provoking questions at the end of each HOME. The additional questions were occasionally assigned as homework. Other times they were left for the student to complete on their own and were often used on quizzes and exams. Development of the in-class exercises required consideration of: 1) students potential lack of previous knowledge on the subject, 2) students differing computer skills-basic to advanced, 3) assessment techniques that will determine students understanding of material and not be biases by 1) and 2) above.

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Session 5, University Educational Initiatives
Tuesday, 11 February 2003, 1:30 PM-3:00 PM

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