The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has been a pioneer in the development of online educational materials since 1996. With changing technology, the AMS has worked with faculty to enhance their online course offerings as well as introduce new educational resources to the e-classroom, including labs and case studies. With support from NSF, NASA, and NOAA, AMS Weather Studies, AMS Ocean Studies, and AMS Climate Studies, are high-caliber, scientifically-authentic, introductory, undergraduate level Earth Science courses that investigate current topics in Earth science through the use of real-world environmental data.
Designed to be adaptable to traditional, hybrid, or online instructional settings, these courses have already been adopted by more than 600 colleges and universities across the United States, with an increasing number offering the courses completely online or in a hybrid learning environment. Currently, out of the schools that report such data, almost half of all AMS Weather Studies offerings are either completely online or in a hybrid learning environment. More than 30% are doing the same with AMS Ocean Studies and almost 40% with AMS Climate Studies.
The courses consist of a fully-integrated set of printed and online learning materials including a comprehensive textbook, Investigations Manual, course website, faculty website, and a faculty resource CD. Instructors can use these materials in any combination that best suits their needs.
Updated yearly, the Investigations Manual contains 30 laboratory activities, two per textbook chapter, and innovatively connects with an optional third online component, Current Weather/Ocean/Climate Studies, via the course website. These online investigations reference data from the NWS, reports from the IPCC, and accompanying real-world data from other lead scientific organizations. The course website is an all-inclusive webpage that provides links to numerous external sources as well as other information to further engage and educate students.
Other course website resources include the Daily Weather Summary (for AMS Weather Studies), updated daily (during the fall and spring semesters) with a comprehensive analysis of the synoptic weather in the United States for the previous 24 hours, as well as historical weather events. The Weekly Weather, Ocean, and Climate News are freshly prepared every Monday with important news from these sciences. Algebra- and calculus-level math applications (AMS Weather Studies only), along with access to COMET modules, chapter self-test questions, and geoscience career information are other resources found on the course website.
In addition, course instructors receive a Faculty CD that contains a faculty manual including learning objectives and suggestions for course implementation, as well as Investigations Manual answer forms compatible with any course management system, test bank questions and answers, textbook images, and PowerPoint® presentations for each chapter.
The Investigations Manual answer forms, found on the faculty CD, are files compatible with Respondus®, test-generating software for which many institutions are licensed (answer forms are also provided in Respondus® format). The faculty member has the option of delivering questions through their course management system to allow automatic scoring and immediate results for their students. This feature allows for full integration to a college's e-learning environment.
AMS Weather Studies, AMS Ocean Studies, and AMS Climate Studies may be implemented as a new institutional course offering, a revision of an existing course, the expansion of an existing course to include a lab component, or may be used to create an online course, particularly as an online lab science. These courses are unique in that they can be offered in completely online, blended, and face-to-face lecture or lecture/laboratory learning environments by experienced science faculty or those new to teaching the subject matter. Mentoring by AMS-trained course instructors is available to all new instructors.
A license is required for institutions using both the textbook and the Investigations Manual. The license includes the textbook, Investigations Manual, and course and faculty websites, or the Investigations Manual and/or course website alone. A textbook-only option is available; however, does not include any of the faculty resources or access to the course and faculty websites.
Central to the American Meteorological Society's development of these courses is their implementation at colleges serving large minority-student populations. Since 2002, the AMS has initiated course implementation through NSF-supported Geoscience Diversity/National Dissemination Projects. Participating U.S. institutions include Historically Black College and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions. As a result of the AMS Ocean Studies Diversity Project, 75 institutions have already offered the course to more than 3000 students. The 145 institutions that participated in the AMS Weather Studies Diversity Project have offered the course to more than 10,000 students. AMS is currently seeking funding to offer similar diversity projects for AMS Climate Studies.
As part of our session, we will present actual excerpts of our course work showcasing our innovative approach to using real-time, current data for events such as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Japan's 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami Event. Attendees will be also provided copies of our coursework and will have the freedom to ask questions that may arise.
AMS Weather Studies, AMS Ocean Studies, and AMS Climate Studies aim to interest all students in the geosciences and increase scientific literacy through the use of real-world data. For more information, please visit http://www.ametsoc.org/amsedu.