Robert Chen
Principal Investigator
Alan Friedman
Adrienne Sponberg
Director of Public Affairs and co-editor, Limnology & Oceanography Bulletin
Arthur Eisenkraft
Carol Baldassari
Kristin Uiterwyk
Project Manager
2012 Update
 The COSEE OCEAN Team visiting its partner the New York Hall of Science
The COSEE OCEAN Team visiting its partner the New York Hall of Science
COSEE OCEAN is bridging existing networks to promote ocean literacy, connect ocean scientists with educators, and produce cross-network products. A collection of hands-on activities, a guide to making simple scientist videos, a model workshop for early career ocean scientists, a district-wide adoption of a high quality ocean curriculum, an inquiry group focused on Ocean Literacy, and an international COSEE Center have resulted from strategically linking the COSEE Network with existing scientist and educator networks. COSEE OCEAN has also been studying ocean education networks through social network analysis (SNA) in an attempt to measure the characteristics that make educational networks effective, efficient, and sustainable. COSEE OCEAN looks forward to continuing to provide key links in a network that engages and enables ocean scientists to broaden the impacts of their research and to build a global awareness of ocean literacy.

Best of COSEE Hands-On Activities

As part of our goal to link the COSEE Network with the broader ocean sciences community, COSEE OCEAN recently reached out to COSEE Centers across the Network to gather each Center’s three best hands-on ocean science activities. The response from COSEE Centers was tremendous, and COSEE OCEAN used those activities to develop a searchable CD of more than 60 excellent ocean science lessons. The goal of the project is to get high quality and COSEE-tested teaching activities into the hands of scientists so they that have activities to do when they visit or work with K-2 audiences. The CD is easily searchable by topic, duration, literacy principle and grade level. Approximately 3800 copies of the CD were distributed to ocean scientists at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City in February. Several copies were also provided to COSEE China, which intends to translate many of the activities for their own use. The contents of the CD are now also available online. Given the great feedback about the activities to date, COSEE OCEAN is looking into ways to expand the distribution of the material to a wider audience, and is exploring opportunities to expand this project to include additional hands-on ocean science activities that meet the standard of excellence.

Ocean Sciences Meeting

 Ocean Sciences Meeting banner

In February 2012, COSEE made its biggest showing yet at an Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM). In addition to distributing 3800 of the “Best of” CD described above, COSEE OCEAN also facilitated a pre-conference professional development workshop with 25 early career scientists. The workshop consisted of four key topics: Deconstruct your science (presented by Annette DeCharon, COSEE-Ocean Systems), Understand how people learn (presented by Catherine Halversen, COSEE California), Build new knowledge in a diversity learners (presented by Janice McDonnell, COSEE NOW), and Broaden your impacts through effective networking (presented by Bob Chen, COSEE OCEAN). The four topics were repeated as lunch workshops Monday through Thursday of the conference. The ASLO Minority Program, ASLO Early Career Committee and the OSM Student committee partnered with COSEE OCEAN to advertise the workshops and provide lunches. Attendance was high throughout the week (ranging from 75 to 110 participants), with many participants attending multiple sessions.

COSEE OCEAN also provided an outreach consulting booth in the exhibit hall, contiguous with the COSEE booth. Communication professionals with expertise in reaching various audiences (e.g., K-2, media, policymakers) were available to chat with conference attendees during the week. Those attendees who stopped by had productive conversations with outreach specialists. Many were students who were interested in outreach careers as well as early career professionals who were trying to determine how to get started in broadening the impact of their research.

Make Your Own Science Video Guidebook

COSEE OCEAN recently published Make Your Own Video: A Simple Guide to Communicating Your Research Effectively. Now that many of us carry high-quality cameras in the form of smart phones and tablets, making short videos is within the reach of everyone. The guidebook is for scientists and grad students who are interested in communicating about their work and might be thinking about video as a way to do it, but might need some tips on getting started. The guidebook contains 7 easy to follow steps plus plenty of helpful tips. Download the guidebook here (PDF). In addition, a Make Your Own Science Video blog is now online, for the use of the growing community of science videomakers. COSEE OCEAN gave a presentation about the guidebook at the Ocean Sciences Meeting titled The 3-Minute Solution: Communicating Your Research in Short, Effective Videos. It was well-attended and well-received; over the course of the conference over 150 copies of the guidebook were handed out and 20 people signed up to start making videos. In the coming months COSEE OCEAN will be targeting specific scientists to add their videos to the Ocean Science Sequence curriculum now being piloted in two Boston area school districts. (See below.)

Ocean Science Sequence

The Ocean Science Sequence (developed by COSEE California and the Lawrence Hall of Science) is being piloted in Boston and Milton (MA) public schools in grades 3-5. Milton adopted the curriculum district-wide in 2012, and has had the curriculum translated into French for its French Immersion program. Boston Public Schools piloted the curriculum in 7 classes in 2011, and are in the process of expanding that pilot into another 12-15 classes this year. Boston is currently in the process of evaluating the Ocean Science Sequence to determine whether or not it will be implemented district-wide in the coming years. COSEE OCEAN is also looking at the potential to develop short videos, made by scientists, to supplement some of the lessons in the Ocean Science Sequence. A preliminary list of topic areas has been identified, and work is being done to explore those opportunities further.

Inquiry Group

COSEE OCEAN has formed an Inquiry Group on the subject of Ocean Literacy resources. An outline for a final report has been developed, including a discussion on Ocean Literacy evaluation – how do we know how well Ocean Literacy educational efforts are doing? The report will also define the boundaries of what Ocean Literacy is. A further goal of the Inquiry Group is to publish an expandable web document ready for distribution in early 2013. The online document will be a living catalog of activities, a wiki-style list of Ocean Literacy-related programs and resources (e.g., curriculum, stand-alone activities, websites, videos, feature films, etc.). Contexts and audiences for resources being explored include Informal Science Education Institutions, community and 4-year colleges and universities, the public and private sectors, policymaking bodies, and family settings.


Map of China 

From February 29 to March 10, 2012, COSEE OCEAN PIs Bob Chen and Arthur Eisenkraft traveled around China to inject some excitement and activity into the COSEE China network. Starting in Xiamen, Bob and Arthur observed high school and middle school classes in Physics, Geography, Chemistry and Physics Lab at the Xiamen University-affiliated Keji High School. Then they headed back to Xiamen University to offer a workshop on teaching and learning and Ocean Literacy to 30 faculty members and graduate students. The workshop was well-received and got the Xiamen academic community thinking about their teaching of ocean sciences. On Saturday, Arthur and Bob ran a 6-hour workshop for 25 science teachers demonstrating the 7E model of instruction by actively engaging participants in determining the size of a nucleus and whether ice will melt faster in fresh or salt water. The engaged group of teachers refused an offer to end early, eager to learn everything the two had to offer.

Moving north, Bob and Arthur presented a workshop for 20 faculty members and graduate students at Ocean University of China in Qingdao; observed a high school science class and did eye exercises between classes as is customary; and then returned to Ocean University to present a workshop for 18 teachers. Bob also taught 9 hours of a course in Marine Biogeochemistry to 20 graduate students. His interactive teaching style, though different from the Chinese norm, was well-received by students and faculty members.

Arthur then continued on to visit Beijing Normal University; greeted 2000 elementary schoolchildren (and had them doing a "wave” followed by explaining that the wave moved, but they didn’t); taught a lesson to 200 high school students; and offered a workshop for 200 science teachers at the highest rated high school in China.

Overall, Bob and Arthur found that the educational system in China was very strong in some aspects (much stronger in classroom behavior, for example) and very consistent across the curriculum, but that it did not often include student-centered questioning. Many potential collaborations and activities were discussed, with the most likely area of focus to be undergraduate general education courses and an Introduction to Ocean Sciences. In the meantime, COSEE China is developing its own resources, with a full-time staff person as well as a website.

Social Network Analysis


Last but certainly not least, COSEE OCEAN’s overarching interest in networks - how they work and how to best make good use of them -is the theme that ties all of COSEE OCEAN’s activities together. Over the last two years we have developed a particular interest in exploring how Ocean Literacy education networks work. We conducted a Social Network Analyses (SNA) of our own COSEE OCEAN network and also of the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC) and then compared the two. We presented a poster on our results at the Workshop on Information Workshops (WIN) 2011. We then analyzed further results of the NEOSEC SNA, and presented a poster at the 3rd Workshop on Complex Networks at the Florida Institute of Technology. This international workshop on complex networks aims to bring together researchers and practitioners working on areas related to complex networks.

Our work will also be published in a special edition of the Studies in Computational Intelligence series by Springer-Verlag To read the complete abstract Ripple Effects: Small-Scale Investigations Into the Sustainability of Ocean Science Education Networks go here (PDF, 1.5 MB).

Submitted by COSEE OCEAN team members