12th Symposium on Education



Richard L. Myers, Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, AK

In the fall of 2002 AMS' Online Weather Studies was substituted as the main mode of delivery for Alaska Pacific University's 300-level meteorology course: Meteorology: Weather and Climate. This course was traditionally offered on a 2-year cycle in the spring semester alternating with a 300-level course in oceanography. The use of AMS Online Weather Studies offered several curricular advantages. Foremost among these was giving students the opportunity to enroll in APU's meteorology course each semester. The former format, in which the course was offered only once every two years, precluded many students from enrolling due to scheduling difficulties. Another advantage was that the course is now taught by a full-time faculty member in the Environmental Science Department rather than the Academic Dean or an adjunct. The Dean was formerly a full-time faculty member whose specialty was in meteorology. The Dean's administrative duties limited his availability to teach the meteorology course. The last time APU's meteorology course was offered it was taught by an adjunct.

Alaska Pacific University is a small liberal arts institution located in Anchorage, Alaska. Enrollment is approximately 600 FTE, with approximately 20% of these students majoring in environmental science. The environmental science degree has several tracks. These include biology, earth science, marine biology, and environmental policy. Meteorology: Weather and Climate is an upper division course that typically has an enrollment of approximately ten students every two years.

AMS Online Weather Studies will form the heart of APU's Meteorology: Weather and Climate course during the Spring Semester, 2003. Two students enrolled in the course during the Fall Semester, 2002. One of these intends to graduate in December and the other couldn't take the regularly scheduled course in the spring. More students enrolling in the Meteorology: Weather and Climate course should continue as students realize that the opportunity exists to take the course each semester.

In order to offer the course at the 300-level and make it more meaningful to environmental science majors, a significant project is required. Students are required to apply meteorological data to a practical problem. Additionally, students must apply concepts from a required sophomore level statistics course in their project Specific examples include examining the relationship between meteorological conditions and air pollution. Anchorage is listed as non-attainment area for carbon monoxide and the city also has a problem with particulates. Students examine the relationship between CO and particulate levels and weather data. Another practical project is the use of meteorological data in water quality studies. For example, students complete the meteorological portions of a water management plan for a National Park. The latter can be modeled after work the instructor recently performed for Katmai National Park, Alaska. The main goal with the project is to help students integrate the AMS Online Weather Studies content with other courses in our curriculum and apply this knowledge to address practical environmental science issues.

Poster Session 1, Poster Session: K-12, Popular and University Educational Initiatives
Sunday, 9 February 2003, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

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