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

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM


BOSS, Stephen K., Dept. of Geosciences, Univ of Arkansas, 113 Ozark Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701, BELLER, Caroline, Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction, Univ of Arkansas, 204 Graduate Education Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701, HEHR, L.H., Center for Math & Science Education, Univ of Arkansas, 106 Ozark Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701 and HEHR, J.G., Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences, Univ of Arkansas, 525 Old Main, Fayetteville, AR 72701, sboss@uark.edu

A complete, online Earth System Science course for honors students and pre-service teachers was developed entirely from Internet resources. Course activities utilized web-based content available from government agencies, research laboratories, data archives, and academic institutions in hands-on, inquiry-based exercises to illustrate Earth system processes. The effectiveness of online exercises utilizing these data was evaluated using pre- and post-test results to gauge student attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of science. Students included non-science majors, science majors, and science education majors. Results of the pre-test indicated students had a non-process based view of science as a series of “stand alone” facts, and expressed many factual misconceptions regarding Earth processes irrespective of discipline. Post-test results indicated a clear majority of students developed a more process-based understanding of Earth systems, developed an appreciation for the complexity of Earth systems, became more aware of the interconnectedness of Earth systems and the scales of Earth processes, became more aware of the relevance of understanding science as an intellectual process, and became more aware of the relevance of pedagogical issues related to learning science. Interestingly, the greatest changes in perceptions of science were observed among liberal arts majors, followed by science education majors. Attitudes and perceptions of science among science majors showed some change toward a more comprehensive view of science as an intellectual process. This experimental course demonstrated the potential benefits of integrating technology with hands-on, inquiry-based learning and innovative pedagogy as a means of enhancing science education for all students.