Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) action for Earth and Space Science Education

Geoscience Education & ICON practices

Authors from the Geoscience Education community wrote three commentaries on ICON that are now published as a single manuscript. Themes included: 1) the Practice of Geoscience Education, 2) Geoscience Education Research, and 3) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice. Together, the manuscript provides a community vision for improving and advancing geoscience education through our collaborative practices. Below is the full citation that annotates the writing team structure. The article also acknowledges those who contributed ideas through feedback forms or who attended meetings.

  • Conceptual Team: Sarah K. Fortner, Cathryn A. Manduca, Hendratta N. Ali, Casey M. Saup, DEIJ Writing Leads: Samuel C. Nyarko, Shannon Othus-Gault, Viranga Perera, Vincent C. H. Tong, Geoscience Education Practice Writing Leads: Anne U. Gold,Tanya Furman, Geoscience Education Research Writing Leads: Leilani Arthurs, Bridget K. Mulvey, Kristen St. John, DEIJ Writing Team: Joel G. Singley,Elijah Thomas Johnson, Molly Witter, Geoscience Education Practice Writing Team: Rebecca L. Batchelor, Deron T. Carter,M. Chantale Damas, Lynsey LeMay, Karen M. Layou, Russanne Low, Hui Hui Wang, Kai Olson-Sawyer, Amy Pallant, Katherine Ryker, Geoscience Education Research Writing Team: Laura Lukes, Nicole LaDue, Katherine Ryker, Kaatje J. van der Hoeven Kraft, Geoscience Education Perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) Science. Earth and Space Science (2022): e2022EA002298.

The article highlights that geoscience educators and researchers have a long tradition of using ICON approaches. Examples include things such as the development of a community framework for geoscience education research, supporting collections and analysis of data on teaching and learning in undergraduate geoscience courses across the United States; creation of freely accessible teaching activities by interdisciplinary teams; community activities to address racism in the geosciences in the United States; and robust open professional development opportunities grounded in peer learning. It also provides new ideas for moving forward to advance equity and justice in how we collaborate, especially advancing participation of systemically non-dominant groups and improving global discussion and international collaboration.

About the Special Collection of Articles on ICON in Earth and Space Sciences

In January 2021, all parts of the international Earth and Space Sciences community were invited to submit commentaries reflecting on using ICON processes (Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked) and FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) to advance their field. Over the following year and a half, a total of 19 geoscience fields contributed commentaries, reflecting on ICON in their sub-discipline. These are now published and freely available in the AGU open-access journal, Earth and Space: Goldman et al., 2022: Integrated, Coordinated, Open, and Networked (ICON) Science to Advance the Geosciences: Introduction and Synthesis of a Special Collection of Commentary Articles.

The Geoscience Education Community Used an ICON Process to Develop Their Article

Early Conceptual Work and Community Building Efforts

The Geoscience Education community used an ICON process to develop their article. As a starting place, the conceptual team (Sarah Fortner, Cathy Manduca, Hendratta Ali, and Casey Saup) met with ICON leadership (James Stegen) during the summer of 2021 to develop ideas for commentary themes and to generate ideas to increase community participation in drafting a community contribution. After developing ideas on three core themes as a small team, the the conceptual team hosted a forum. Central goals of the forum were to discuss community interest in generating commentaries using an ICON process, and determining whether the themes we initially developed were the right themes to write about. Nearly 20 people in geoscience education including leaders of education activities at AGU, GSA and NAGT contributed thoughts and invested in establishing this effort. In addition, there was leadership from a number of community projects and communities including SAGE2YC and the NAGT HBCU Working Group. The endorsement of this activity by the participants provided both capacity for engaging participants across geoscience education,  as well as securing resources from NAGT and AGU to move the project forward.   We had limited global participation in this forum, and as a result, the commentary largely reflect US view points. Outcomes of the forum included confirming broad community interest in the three proposed themes, securing community support for the writing project, including forming and establishing writing team leadership and writing teams, and establishing a process and timeline for drafting and completing the commentary drafts.

Shortly after the forum, the conceptual team and community members participating in the forum helped build writing teams and secured community and advertising support to seek input from the  AGU Education Section, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and its Division of Geoscience Education Research and Division of Teacher Education, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Working Group, the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, and the National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy and Water Education. Targeted recruitment by the conceptual team and engaged communities helped to establish the leadership and membership for three writing teams.  Special attention was given to recruiting participants and communities with diverse identities, research and practice perspectives, and who represented a variety institutional settings. This included reaching out to people individually who might bring in missing perspectives.

We had no trouble establishing writing team leadership and writing teams that represented a diversity of institutional settings, career settings, and identities. In total, there were 29 authors and those authors with approximately another 10-20 people attending forums or contributing ideas to the idea form.  Approximately ~80 people participated in the project in total via the open forum, writing teams, open forums &  web form to contribute ideas.

NAGT Website, Writing Team Leadership, and Open Input Process Was Central to Writing Process

NAGT provided this project website, which was used to announce draft phases and modes for community inputs. An interest list was also curated to support interested community members with updates on project development. Major input phases were announced through the NAGT email list and social media platforms. Most importantly, each commentary team had two to three leaders who supported timeline management and draft development. Writing leads also contributed conceptual and organizational ideas as part of their work, participating fully in draft development, while the conceptual team encouraged broad contributions. To support community input we used multiple modes to gather community input including:

  • online, asynchronous opportunities (feedback forms, Google Docs) to solicit community contributions and comments on the key points to make in the commentaries
  • synchronous virtual sessions to discuss key points 
  • online, asynchronous opportunities to contribute details, examples, and thoughts that expanded key points made 
  • online, asynchronous opportunities to provide feedback on the draft commentaries.


Timeline For Community Input and Draft Development

To support iterative draft development and transparency in the evolving commentaries we used the timeline below for developing commentaries in stages.

  • October 6, 2021: Deadline for establishment of writing teams and writing team leadership. A feedback form was posted for community input for each commentary. Writing teams were provided with private workspaces to support management.
  • October 6-16, 2021: This was an open input period for contributing big ideas. This was announced using the NAGT email list and social media, and writing leads were encouraged to reach out to contributing audiences. 
  • October 19, 2021: After reviewing community input and discussing input with writing teams, writing team leads posted key ideas generated by the community. They also identified times for open meetings and community discussion.
  • October 19-26, 2021: Writing team leads hosted synchronous discussion sessions to support community discussion and refinement of key points. Additional feedback was also provided asynchronously using the feedback forms. 
  • October 29, 2021: Final key points were generated by writing teams and posted for community review. 
  • First week of November until-November 15, 2021: Community input was sought to identify evidence to support key points (e.g. literature and examples of ICON collaboration). After this period ended, writing teams composed full drafts of their commentaries.
  • November 30, 2021: Writing teams posted full drafts of their commentaries that included both key points and supporting evidence.
  • Dec 1, 2021-January 1, 2022: The community provided comments on full drafts and writing teams worked on draft revisions.
  • January -February 1, 2022: Writing teams completed revisions and submitted their commentaries.
  • April, 2022:The submission was returned from peer review and writing teams supported minor revisions.
  • May, 2022: The article was published.  

As a whole, the management structure and built community supported a successful community writing effort, that used elements of ICON especially coordination, networking to construct the community manuscript. Future efforts should clarify authoring expectations up front, such as how to annotate the team structures and the authoring credit systems that will be used.

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