12th Symposium on Education


Online Weather Studies in the Caribbean

Louis Pérez, University of Puerto Rico, Cayey, Puerto Rico

University of Puerto Rico at Cayey (UPRC), a component of the University of Puerto Rico system (UPR) was specifically established 33 years ago as a public co-educational institution granting Baccalaureate degrees in the Arts, Sciences, Education, and Business Administration. Since its inception the mission of the college is to provide a center for innovation in teaching. One of its major goals is “to upgrade the teaching of Science and Mathematics through the training of teachers specially qualified to fulfill this important phase of education in the public and private elementary and high schools in Puerto Rico”.

The Faculty of Science and Mathematics has four components: the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics-Physics, and the General Sciences Program. To strengthen science education the college has applied and received external support from several federal programs like the Minority Science and Improvement Program (MISIP), Title III and Title V grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the Alliance for Minority Participation (NSF), the MBRS (Minority Biomedical Research Support) Program from the Department of Health and Human Services (1985-present), and the Puerto Rican Center for Science and the Engineering Research Resources sponsored by National Science Foundation. Most recently the Howard Hughes Medical Institute provided funds for a five-year grant to improve the research training of students during their freshman and sophomore years.

During the fall semester of 2002-2003 one course section of Online Weather Studies will be offered to students from the sciences, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers from the private and public schools throughout the island. The in-service teachers participating in the program will receive a scholarship from the Puerto Rico Space Grant Consortium – Cayey Center, to cover the expenses for the course materials and course credits (3).

The course will be offered as “Special Topics in Physics”, a 3 credits learning experience that will meet three times in the semester; at the beginning for an introduction and to administer a questionnaire about course expectations, at the middle to share ideas and experiences (identify difficulties if any), and at the end for final exam and course evaluation. The students participating in the course will have access to the Tutoring and Testing Center that houses 30 XP workstations were they can do their course work in a quite environment with printing and fax capabilities.

This will be the first time that an online course is offer at our institution. For this reason, College Administration is very interested in knowing how students respond to this new Online Course. The institution will use this experience in the development of the online general education program that is expected to be accomplished in the next three years.

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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