83rd Annual

Sunday, 9 February 2003
AMS Online Weather Studies: Where Do I Begin?
M. Carol Walker, Columbia Basin College, Pasco, WA
Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington is in the process of developing an online degree in which it is necessary to include some lab/science classes. Dr. Lorence, the dean of the Math/Science division, shared with me the flyer from AMS regarding its Diversity Program for the Online Weather Studies course. I agreed to take on the challenge even though my computer skills were limited. What better way is there to learn than by doing? The first step toward implementing the course was attending the AMS Online Weather Studies week-long workshop in Kansas City, MO in May of 2002. That has since led to many other steps and sidesteps along the way to prepare the course for its spring quarter debut.

I have very little background in meteorology, so it has been necessary to learn the subject matter. “Taking the online course” gave me a wonderful insight into a student’s view of the presentation of the subject matter. In this process, I also researched other sites to enhance the prepared material.

Discussions with the Dean of Communications Technology instigated action in several directions. I applied for and received some funding to help compensate for the time required for me to develop the course. It was necessary to prepare a syllabus early in October 2002 so that the Curriculum Committee could review and accept the course for transfer distribution. I wanted to learn how to use WebCT to better communicate with my students; this required some workshops and lots of individual tutoring. Columbia Basin College’s webmaster is in the process of preparing my website. Advertising for the course has been handled by the Director of Communications; this includes the campus newsletter/bulletin and the local newspaper.

Through all the studying and training I have become much more comfortable with the computer. We at Columbia Basin College look forward to our first online lab/science course in the earth sciences. CBC extends many thanks to AMS for accepting its science department into the diversity program and for all the support from AMS in the organizational phase of this project.

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