Event Title

Introduction to Oceanography: A focus on science communication through inquiry-based techniques

Presentation Abstract

A unique approach to introductory oceanography facilitates student understanding by integrating boat-based research and science content knowledge through the study of the local estuary. 60 Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) students participate in two research cruises in the 10-week quarter, utilizing a YSI instrument and CastAway CTD for dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and pH. Additional tools collect water samples with a Niskin for micronutrient cycling and a Ponar grab for benthic sediment to be tested for heavy metals. Each class contributes new data to the longitudinal study that was established 10 years ago. Class and laboratory time are a balance between the introduction of content knowledge of physical, geological, and chemical oceanography and facilitation of student research projects. A systems-based approach is used as students build on their understanding of the local estuarine environment and distinguish between regional and global processes. Inquiry-based techniques are used as students ask their own questions and design small-group research projects to investigate, analyze and interpret their data set while showing a command of the course content. Furthermore, students share their results at undergraduate research showcase events. Mastery of content knowledge, science writing and communication skills are measured through individual essay exams and a group research paper. Student self-reflection in 2015 showed that 95% of the students recognized improvement of their science writing skills and the value of systems-thinking in providing a deep coverage of oceanography. Further pre- and post-surveys will be analyzed to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach.

Session Title

Salish Sea Studies: An integrating context for teaching, research, and community engagement

Conference Track

Engagement

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Introduction to Oceanography: A focus on science communication through inquiry-based techniques

2016SSEC

A unique approach to introductory oceanography facilitates student understanding by integrating boat-based research and science content knowledge through the study of the local estuary. 60 Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) students participate in two research cruises in the 10-week quarter, utilizing a YSI instrument and CastAway CTD for dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and pH. Additional tools collect water samples with a Niskin for micronutrient cycling and a Ponar grab for benthic sediment to be tested for heavy metals. Each class contributes new data to the longitudinal study that was established 10 years ago. Class and laboratory time are a balance between the introduction of content knowledge of physical, geological, and chemical oceanography and facilitation of student research projects. A systems-based approach is used as students build on their understanding of the local estuarine environment and distinguish between regional and global processes. Inquiry-based techniques are used as students ask their own questions and design small-group research projects to investigate, analyze and interpret their data set while showing a command of the course content. Furthermore, students share their results at undergraduate research showcase events. Mastery of content knowledge, science writing and communication skills are measured through individual essay exams and a group research paper. Student self-reflection in 2015 showed that 95% of the students recognized improvement of their science writing skills and the value of systems-thinking in providing a deep coverage of oceanography. Further pre- and post-surveys will be analyzed to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach.