Communicating Ocean Sciences
Program Description
Communicating Ocean Sciences is an important initiative of COSEE and consists of a variety of innovative college courses designed to improve the communication of complex science concepts using inquiry-based pedagogy.

COSEE California
 Graduate student teaching a lab
Communicating Ocean Sciences
(COS) has been a major component of COSEE California since 2002. It is comprised of a set of two innovative college courses developed by COSEE California at the Lawrence Hall of Science: COS to K-12 Audiences (COS-K12) and COS to Informal Audiences (COSIA). These courses address five critical needs:*To improve the ability of science faculty to communicate science concepts and research;
  • To provide science faculty and students experience using instructional materials that exemplify best practices in science teaching and learning theory;
  • To introduce future scientists (undergraduate and graduate students) to the importance of education, outreach and the “broader impact” of ocean sciences research;
  • To promote mutually beneficial collaborations between scientists and educators co-teaching the course; and
  • To provide K-12 students from underrepresented populations and visitors to science centers with ocean sciences learning opportunities and role models.

COS-K12 Audiences is designed to introduce undergraduate and graduate students in ocean sciences related majors to inquiry-based instructional strategies for communicating their passion for their subject area. These strategies, combined with college students’ content knowledge and enthusiasm for sharing it, equip them to introduce ocean sciences to K-12 students and teachers in local schools. A teaching manual and resource guide providing in-depth instructions, session write-ups and materials lists for teaching the course.

COSIA involves scientists at colleges and universities working with local aquariums and marine science centers to deploy undergraduates and graduate students to teach the public about current discoveries in ocean sciences. This course provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to explore and apply current research on learning and instructional strategies geared toward informal learning environments, and engages them in communicating ocean sciences.

COSEE Island Earth
Current world issues, such as global climate change and collapsing world fisheries, have local and global implications and are tied to ocean processes. The Communicating Ocean Sciences (COS) course was created for students interested in improving their teaching skills and ability to communicate about complex science concepts using inquiry-based pedagogy. The COSEE Island Earth course has been specifically adapted for Hawaii to include important concepts such as traditional knowledge and ways of knowing through a curricular framework that links indigenous concepts of environmental stewardship with ocean literacy principles. Students are also given the opportunity to apply these concepts in an educational setting at partner institutions.

Various versions of this course have been offered at the University of Hawaii Manoa, Maui Community College, and Kapiolani Community College. In addition, a COS course was offered to marine tour operators and education docents in the Kona region of Hawaii Island. This represented a new direction for the program, adapting the course for people who are in the business of providing field-based ocean experiences such as scuba diving and snorkeling excursions, manta ray interactions, as well as those involved in marine conservation outreach. The course includes elements of pedagogical models, practical exercises for teaching using hands-on approaches, and active inquiry, all while teaching basic topics in marine science such as ocean density and circulation, sea level rise from climate change, coral reef biology, algal ecology, marine mammals, and fishes. A critical component of the course structure is the integration of discussion, readings, and practices related to Hawaiian culture and ways of knowing.

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COSEE Alaska
COSEE Alaska developed a two-credit graduate course based on the Communicating Ocean Science Education for use at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Course development was done in partnership with a UAF GK-12 program and co-taught by COSEE Program Manager Marilyn Sigman and Laura Connor, School of Natural Resources and a GK-12 grant PI, in Fairbanks (MSL694) and by Anne Beaudreau, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (SFOS), in Juneau (MSL 692). The course was cross-listed between the SFOS Marine Science and Limnology Program and the Department of Biology and Wildlife.

 Students in the COS course
COSEE Alaska 2013 Communicating Science Syllabus (PDF, 120 KB)

COSEE Centers
The goal of COSEE California is to connect ocean scientists and educators to promote ocean literacy nationwide. COSEE California develops tools, programs, and courses that are in widespread use throughout the National COSEE Network.

COSEE Island Earth is a collaborative initiative among university, government, research, and community partners to improve connections between scientists and educators, inform ocean science educational practices, and enhance ocean literacy in Hawaii.

COSEE Alaska seeks to enhance ocean and climate change literacy in formal and informal audiences and the public. The Center engages ocean scientists, teachers, informal educators and community members in the region in a broad range of programs, including statewide ocean science fairs, teacher workshops, expanded Communicating Ocean Science Workshops and hands-on sessions for scientists at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, plus distance learning and virtual field trips through our website.

Contact Information
COSEE California

Judy Lemus
 COSEE Island Earth
 Judith Lemus
 Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
 University of Hawaii

COSEE Alaska
Laura Conner (School of Natural Resources, University of Alaska Fairbanks)
Anne Beaudreau (UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Juneau)