Paper No. 42-9
Presentation Time: 3:50 PM
ONLINE SKILL BUILDING WORKSHOPS TO BROADEN PARTICIPATION IN UNDERGRADUATE STEM
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of many summer research opportunities for STEM students. In response, the IRIS Education and Outreach program, in collaboration with Miami University, offered a free online Seismology Skill Building Workshop to increase undergraduates' knowledge, skills, self-efficacy, and interest in observational seismology and scientific computing. In 2020, registrations were received from 760 undergraduates representing 60 different countries. U.S. participants consisted of 59% women and 29% underrepresented minorities, a higher percentage than recent undergraduate geoscience degrees (46% women, 15% URM), indicating the inclusive design can contribute to diversifying the geosciences. The workshop design consisted of a tailored Linux virtual machine, regular webinars, a Slack workspace, tutorial-style active e-learning assignments, and an optional final project. Every other week for 12 weeks, a module with ~6 assignments was released to build skills with Linux, GMT, SAC, webservices, seismic network processing, Python, ObsPy, and Jupyter notebooks. A final module focused on competitiveness for graduate school, summer internships, and professional jobs. Evaluation of the workshop relied on registration data, pre-/post- surveys, and performance data from the learning management system. 440 completed at least one assignment, 224 completed at least 80% of the assignments, and 191 completed all 35 assignments, significantly higher than most comparable large-scale, open-access courses (e.g., MOOCs). Participants invested ~6 hours per week and averaged a score of 88% on assignments. We identified >60% normalized gain in scientific computing skills. Regardless of the degree of completion, participants perceived the workshop quite positively: on average 96% described it as high to very high quality, 83% satisfied to very satisfied with their experience, and 70% very likely to recommend to peers. Preliminary analysis of pre/post survey data compared to initiation and completion rates map well to student perceptions of expectancy, value, and cost, motivating interventions to enhance student persistence in future workshop iterations. A second workshop occurred in 2021, with plans to continue offering it for at least the next 3 summers.