Paper No. 0
Presentation Time: 11:10 AM
PAULINA LAKE: A SURROGATE “OCEAN” FOR TEACHING OCEANOGRAPHY
This curriculum reform obtained NSF funding to purchase modern equipment that was used to develop a field component for an undergraduate oceanography course for non-science majors at Central Oregon Community College. Previous oceanography courses consisted of ten labs that were isolated pieces of a scientific investigation or simplifications of complex processes that did not effectively reinforce or integrate a concept with a realistic application. In addition, the course struggled with the logistical difficulty of providing in-depth oceanographic field experiences for up to 48 students at distant (350 km) coastal locations, resulting in abbreviated experiences that did not reflect the interdisciplinary nature of oceanography. Using a lake as a surrogate ocean exposed students to a more diverse and integrated set of oceanographic experiences. The ocean selected for this project was Paulina Lake located about 40 km from campus in the summit caldera of Newberry volcano. The lab component of the course was modified to include elements of project design, training in the use of a variety of field equipment, sampling techniques and background information on the physics, chemistry, biology and geology of the lake. Three labs were replaced with 6-hour sea-going expeditions on the lake. Small student groups conducted complimentary field experiments from the deck of a large pontoon boat. Experiments included bathymetric surveys, water property measurements and lake basin sediment and rock sampling. Following the expedition, students used additional lab time to process and interpret their data and to prepare a summary poster of their project that they presented to the science department during the last week of class. This approach allowed students to participate in all phases of a scientific investigation by focusing on student-designed projects that included a significant component of data gathering and analysis using modern scientific equipment and techniques. The lake setting provided opportunities for all students to conveniently conduct oceanographic field experiments that otherwise would not have been possible.