2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM



, prothero@magic.ucsb.edu

Multi-media and Internet technology allow the access and display of a wide variety of earth data. Some of these data form the basis for learning activities in UCSB’s large general education oceanography course. Students study plate tectonics using elevation, earthquake, volcano, age, and heat flow data. The atmosphere and ocean structure are studied using online wind, temperature and salinity data. Other data types support the investigation of monsoons, El-Nino, greenhouse effect, climate change, etc. Connections are made to impacts on society by asking students to write technical position papers.

Our approach implements activities that include a)data exploration, b)theory, c)underlying physical principles, d)group discussions, e)in-class presentations, and f)written scientific papers. Data explorations are initiated in a lab setting, while theory and underlying physical principle s are presented and assessed in the course textbook, online homework assignments, lectures, online quizzes, and online thought questions. Students are required to write two scientific papers that summarize their findings. Students rate the writing assignments as providing the most effective learning experience in the course.

The oceanography course is supported by “EarthEd-Online” software, created by W. Prothero. It supports student entry and both automatic and manual grading of all of the course assignments. Students can compute their current grade at any time. Assignments that are not graded automatically are presented to the instructor in a format that is efficient to grade. For example, when writing assignments are graded, the instructor can insert comments from a pre-determined list, or enter a custom comment. Rubric item scores are also entered on the screen, and returned to the student when the paper, and comments are returned online.

Collaboration software is being created that will allow group online projects. Student response has been positive.

For more information, see: http://oceanography.geol.ucsb.edu/