The models, developed within DAS-UIUC specifically for this project, are simple-yet-effective Java™ applications where students have the ability to observe and/or manipulate a specific aspect or process of nature (greenhouse gases, agricultural growing seasons, air pollution, etc.) as well as illustrate basic course elements (contouring, sounding analysis, etc.). These models help the students discover relationships between different elements of nature – allowing them to log journal entries or chart or even export data to a spreadsheet for further analysis. The students can either use the programs in a free-discovery or as directed by the supporting curricula.
The first use case for this collection is ATMOS 100: Introduction to Meteorology, a general education course provided by DAS-UIUC. It is a course taken by many first and second year students – many with little experience in either scientific thought or computers. The collection is being tested in the summer 2002 term, with full implementation following in the fall 2002 semester, where students will use these resources one hour per week in hands-on sessions in a computer lab.
The models can be adapted to other scenarios as well. These programs are compatible with the Visual Geophysical Exploration Environment (VGEE) collection, with some having the ability to link into VGEE datasets. Furthermore, instructors can tailor their own curricula around the existing models. The ATMOS 100 collection will be submitted to DLESE so that instructors anywhere can access it anytime. Delivery is an important feature to any collection, and in this case it is enabled by using new technologies such as Web Start™, developed by Sun Microsystems, are used to allow execution of Java™ applications over the Internet with a single click.
Supplementary URL: http://www.atmos.uiuc.edu/courses/atmos100/index.html