2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


LIMSON, Mel and DESHARNAIS, Bob, Biological Sciences - Virtual Courseware Project, California State University Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032, mlimson@exchange.calstatela.edu

The Virtual Courseware Project, funded by the National Science Foundation and the California State University, will demonstrate online interactive inquiry-based simulation activities for earth science topics. Participants will be guided through online activities, assignments, and student assessments on topics such as earthquakes, Earth's energy balance, future climate change, geological dating, river discharge and flooding, and others available or under development at ScienceCourseware.org. The activities emphasize the scientific method, in which students make observations, propose hypotheses, design experiments, and collect and analyze data generated by the software. The activities include an online assessment quiz that consists of randomized interactive questions. The students' answers are graded automatically and stored in a database server hosted by our institution, and a printable certificate of completion is issued for each student. The instructor can access student and class results, and a learning objectives report allows the instructor to quickly gauge how well the key concepts were understood. The simulations are designed to enhance traditional curricula and provide a supplement to experimental field work. Since 1997, more than 2 million learners in K-12 schools and universities around the world have completed one or more of the activities and the rate of usage continues to grow.