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The CIRTL Network: 25 Research Universities Preparing a National Faculty to Advance STEM Undergraduate LearningProject PI: Robert D. Mathieu (University of Wisconsin—Madison)
Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at research universities will shape the future of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate education in the United States. These future faculty, trained at research universities, flow into the STEM faculties of more than 4,400 research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community and tribal colleges. The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) uses graduate education as the leverage point to develop a national STEM faculty with the capability and commitment to implement and improve effective teaching and learning practices for all students.
Research universities can and will prepare STEM future faculty to be both forefront researchers and excellent teachers. In 2011 nearly 1500 future faculty from across STEM participated in the learning communities of the six research universities in the prototype CIRTL Network. A decade of research and evaluation demonstrates that STEM future faulty in such CIRTL learning communities understand, employ, and can advance high-impact teaching practices.
Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) PathwayProject PIs: Tamara Ledley (TERC), Frank Niepold (NOAA), Susan Buhr (CIRES), Cynthia Howell (NREL), Cathy Manduca (Carleton College, SERC)
The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network or CLEAN Pathway project will build on the efforts of the Climate Literacy Network and the establishment of the US Global Change Research Program to steward a broad collection of educational resources that facilitate students teachers and citizens becoming climate literate and informed about the climates influence on you and society and your influence on climate. The focus of our efforts will be to integrate the effective use of the resources across all educational levels with a particular focus on the middle-school through undergraduate levels grades 6-16 as well as to citizens through formal and informal education venues and communities.
The workshop will bring together educators experienced in teaching with geoscience data, curriculum developers, students, and servers of large geoscience data sets who have education as one of their intended audiences, along with technologists and learning scientists. Sessions will address learning goals and learning performances for the data-savvy college graduate, obstacles to teaching and learning with geoscience data, instructional sequences that foster learning from data, interface design for making data more accessible to student users, and how EarthCube can support students in comparing model output with empirical data. At the end of the project, we will provide a report to the NSF and the EarthCube community addressing the education drivers impacting the design of EarthCube and current challenges in teaching and learning with data that EarthCube could help overcome, with recommendations for the design of EarthCube's cyberinfrastructure and associated social structures.
EET provides step-by-step instructions for using Earth science datasets and scientific tools in educational settings. Chapters walk users through case studies in which they use data and analysis tools to explore important issues and concepts in Earth system science. Chapters are designed for use by K-12 teachers, undergraduate faculty, and their students. Each chapter features specific datasets and analysis or visualization tools, and provides enough experience and in-depth knowledge of the resource to enable an educator to use it, apply it to other teaching contexts, or help students use the resource to explore and investigate aspects of the Earth system. Winner of a 2011 AAAS Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) Prize
Earth Learning Idea will publish a new idea for teaching Earth science every week during 2008—the International Year of Planet Earth. The ideas are specifically designed for classrooms with minimal resources - anywhere on Earth, while encouraging interactive teaching and the development of thinking and investigational skills in pupils. The ideas are aimed primarily at pre-service teacher trainers, as they will reach the widest teacher audience, but also welcomes interested teachers to subscribe. Each Earth Learning Idea will be accompanied by a blog, to encourage the development of a global discussion network of those interested in Earth science education. The Earth Learning Ideas will appear one per month during September—December and one per week thereafter and are being produced by voluntary effort with no funding.
Faculty Development to Support High Impact Activities that Transform Undergraduate Geoscience EducationProject PIs: Jill Singer (Buffalo State College) and Jeff Ryan (University of South Florida)
The objective of this project is to provide professional development (workshops) and online resources to help faculty prepare and submit competitive proposals to NSF-EHR educational funding programs (TUES, ATE) and related disciplinary funding programs (GeoEd, OEDG). The target audiences are all teaching faculty qualified to submit proposals to these programs, which a special emphasis on reaching faculty teaching at 2-year colleges and minority-serving institutions, critical classes of institutions for the geosciences from which proposal submissions have for a long time been frustratingly poor, in terms of both quality and quantity.
Instructional Approaches to Promote Access and Inclusion in the GeosciencesProject PI: Christopher Atchison(Georgia State University )
The design and presentation of this course will be informed by current research focused on students with disabilities and understanding not only the external, physical barriers to access and inclusion to the geoscience curriculum, but also the internal, personal, psychological and social challenges that these students face away from public view. This short course will be entirely facilitated by members of the International Advisory for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD). Student members of the IAGD with disabilities will offer examples of best instructional practices for accommodation and inclusion. These students will share insights on what barriers they have encountered and what has helped them overcome these barriers in the pursuit of degrees in the geosciences.
This Center focuses on the contribution of geoscience to the grand challenges facing society, particularly resource issues (minerals,water, food) and environmental issues (climate change, hazards, waste disposal, environmental degradation). Work is focused at two levels: lower division courses designed to build a broad based understanding of the challenges and the role of geoscience, science and social science in the solutions; and upper division courses and degree programs designed to develop a geoscience workforce prepared to work collaboratively with experts from STEM, social science, business and industry. Inter-institutional curriculum development teams are developing and testing course materials in the full spectrum of institutional settings. These will be published on line and available in print with a full set of materials for faculty supporting implementation on the SERC website. A set of pilot programs will demonstrate department, institutional and multi-campus approaches to curriculum and program structures that enroll general education, STEM and Social Science majors, future teachers, and geoscience students in these courses. An integrated assessment program will measure the impact of new course materials and programs on students a) Earth science literacy including their understanding of the role of geoscience in addressing the grand challenges facing society, b) ability to address interdisciplinary open ended problems, and c) understanding of the process of science. A professional development program integrated with On the Cutting Edge and Building Strong Geoscience Departments programs will support widespread adaption and adoption of course materials and program structures. An overarching evaluation will research the impact of the program at the course, departmental and institutional levels focused on understanding how the program is influencing changes in instruction and program design, and the subsequent impact on enrollment and learning in courses addressing the role of geoscience in solving societal grand challenges.
Mars for Earthlings (MFE) is an integrated introductory geology with Mars planetary science course. Students will access, analyze and utilize Mars data to further understand geologic laws, principles, and processes. The target audiences are undergraduates seeking to fulfill their general science education requirements and/or STEM declared undergraduate majors. The goal, however, is to make all lesson modules accessible on the SERC website and NASA-SMD workspace for geoscience educators to use in their own courses. Content will leverage heavily on Mars-analog studies and lab/inquiry-style learning.
The Math You Need, When You Need It modules cover quantitative topics that are important in introductory geoscience courses. Each topic includes a page for the instructor, quantitative information for the students, a set of practice problems and culminates in an on-line quiz that is automatically graded and submitted to the instructor. The project is designed to give students the quantitative knowledge that they need, just before they need to use it in their concurrent geoscience course. This program includes pre- and post-testing and self-paced modules.
The NAGT/DLESE On the Cutting Edge project helps geoscience faculty stay up-to-date with both geoscience research and teaching methods. The workshop series and website combine to provide professional development opportunities, resources, and opportunities for faculty to interact on-line and in person with colleagues around the world who are focused on improving their teaching. An integral aspect of the project is development of an expanding community of geoscience educators with a strong and diverse leadership. Winner of a 2010 AAAS Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) Prize
Project EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry & Exploration) is developing flexible classroom activity modules designed to (1) improve quantitative and reasoning skills; (2) develop the ability to engage in scientific discourse and argument; and (3) increase students' engagement in science. A team of interdisciplinary faculty from private and public research universities and undergraduate institutions have developed these modules to meet a series of pedagogical goals intended for a broad range of undergraduate class sizes and skill levels that include (1) developing skills required to manipulate large datasets at different scales to conduct inquiry-based investigations; (2) developing students' reasoning about statistical variation; and (3) fostering accurate student conceptions about the nature of environmental science. This project is funded by an NSF TUES grant (NSF DEB 1245707).
Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL): Mobilizing Disciplinary Societies on Behalf of our Students ... and our PlanetProject PIs: Susan Elrod (AACU) and Cathy MIddlecamps (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Project Kaleidoscope, Mobilizing STEM Education for a Sustainable Future, and the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability (DANS) are joining expertise on behalf of students to increase their learning in undergraduate STEM courses, and better prepare them for the real-world 21st century "Big Questions" that relate to real-world issues such as energy, air and water quality, and climate change.
Big Questions, as defined in the Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) initiative of the AAC&U, are those of value, fundamental, and enduring, that have "vexed human beings down through the ages." Big Questions directly connect to sustainability, how we live our lives, the choices we make, and our obligations to other people and to the natural world. We are promoting undergraduate STEM courses that: 1) provide more knowledge about real-world issues (e.g. energy, water, air quality, climate change); 2) connect these real-world issues to the concepts of sustainability; 3) offer students opportunities to analyze and implement choices that can help solve societal problems so they are better able to act on their choices both immediately and as future citizens and professionals.
To accomplish this work, we will engage, support, and connect with a select group of disciplinary societies in strategic ways that leverage their membership, programs and influence.
Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-year Colleges through Workshops and Web Resources
Project PIs: Eric Baer (Highline COmmunity College), Bob Blodgett (Austin Community College), Jan Hodder (University of Oregon), Cathy Manduca (Carleton College), and Heather Macdonald (College of William and Mary)
This program will offer professional development opportunities to two-year college faculty over a three year period (2012-2014). These will include two national workshops as well as several types of dissemination workshops that follow from the national workshops, a website building on the existing GEO2yc website, and a leadership development program.
Transforming Geoscience Preparation for K-8 Pre-Service TeachersProject PI: Tim Flood (St. Norbert College)
This project is designed to synthesize content, process and pedagogy for K-8 pre-service teachers by integrating two existing courses, Introduction to Geology GEOL 105, and Science Methods EDUC 285. The two courses (4-credits each) will become a yearlong (8 credit course). A continuum of "learning earth science" and "how to teach earth science" will be the classroom focus. This same integration will occur in the laboratory portion. In addition to learning skills and problem solving techniques, students will develop methods of how to teach these concepts. Finally, a model, four-day intensive field course will be tested. If significant, it will become a required component to the education curriculum.
WILSIM is an educational tool that helps undergraduate students understand how landscapes evolve under different scenarios. The site includes a pre-test, post-test, and a user survey to evaluate how well the simulator achieve its goals.
Building Strong Geoscience Departments is a project focused on helping geoscience departments adapt and prosper in a changing and challenging environment. Through workshops, a website, and sessions at professional meetings, this project aims to stimulate discussions and disseminate community expertise on topics such as approaches to core content and curriculum, retaining and recruiting top faculty and students, and maintaining the department as a valued institutional partner.
DWEL provides easy access to high quality digital resources related to the science, policy and economics of water. Experienced, practicing K-12 teachers who know the needs of their students and their peers are reviewing and selecting these exemplary resources, which best support teaching along core science concepts. The discovery tool allows users to search the library catalog by content area, grade level, resource type and by national science standards. Resources in the collection include high quality graphics, animations, visualizations, databases, simulations, and text resources.
Two-year colleges (2YC) play an important role in the science and mathematics education of undergraduate students, enrolling approximately 45% of all undergraduate students in the country. With their diverse student populations, 2YC also have an important role in broadening participation in STEM fields including the geosciences. They also play an important role in contributing to the geoscience workforce, teaching science to pre-service K-12 teachers, and producing earth-science literate citizens. A planning workshop in the summer of 2010 will bring together faculty from two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and representatives from professional societies and organizations to learn more about geoscience in TYC and their potential for increasing diversity in the geosciences and to discuss how to best support this important community.
The MARGINS program has been granted a NSF-CCLI grant to develop web-based undergraduate classroom teaching modules in cooperation with the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College. As a part of this collaboration, a series of workshops for researchers and educators is underway. These workshops facilitate the creation of mini-lessons which are learning materials that repurpose data and resources developed through MARGINS for use in examining earth processes in undergraduate classrooms from a multidisciplinary perspective.
The Starting Point project is exploring the ability of on-line resources to catalyze improvements in undergraduate teaching. The goal is to develop a resource that intimately integrates pedagogy with teaching resources and fully supports a virtual community of educators.
The goal of the workshop is to develop a consensus framework for enhancing atmospheric science and climate literacy in our nation that is informed by the participation of teachers, scientists, informal educators, policy makers, and parents. The workshop will build on the work of numerous organizations and subgroups that have sought to define standards and benchmarks for science education in general and, more specifically, to identify key concepts and linkages among weather, climate, and ocean literacy. A consensus framework will be drafted during the workshop and will be revised based upon further review and feedback from participants in meetings of the nation's leading goescience and science education societies, such as AGU, AMS, NSTA. As a result of broad community involvement, the framework will establish a foundation on which decision makers may more effectively shape the nation's priorities and strategies for research and education and prepare a diverse population of scientists to serve our atmospheric and climate endeavors for decades to come.