Map of workshop participant locations (compiled from COSEE-West workshops, 2009-2011)
COSEE-West developed online workshops to give marine scientists and engineers the opportunity to provide ocean science content to a much larger audience of formal and informal educators then previous Los Angeles-area based in-person workshops. These workshops are free and offered in partnership with the College of Exploration on their website. They were designed to provide an expert introduction to a current topic in ocean science and to give educators supportive references, visual materials and teaching ideas for sharing the content with students.
The typical workshop was three weeks long and had a new pre-recorded science content lecture each week. The featured scientist answered questions and interacted with participants online throughout the week. The scientists represented a wide range of universities and science hubs including the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Two variations of the online workshop model were created. In the "Professor Model", a professor shared three undergraduate class lectures and then mentored the graduate students who answered participants’ questions. In the "Field Experience Model" the online workshop was held during an undergraduate field research course. Three content lectures were presented and followed by undergraduates’ field research projects: the educators in the online workshops followed these presentations to learn concepts and protocols, and they also provided feedback to the undergraduates on their communication skills.
Scientist presenters often recruited their graduate students to help respond to individual comments and questions for both Models. An unexpected outcome of the online workshops was the opportunity they gave the graduate students to practice their communication skills. The 12 COSEE-West online workshops covered a wide range of topics that included harmful algal blooms, coral reefs, the poles, ocean observing systems, climate change and sea level rise, coral reef research in French Polynesia, marine protected areas, evolution in the marine environment and research beneath the sea floor.
The workshops were designed to be user friendly. They were conducted asynchronously to let participants access information and participate at any time of day and in any time zone. The workshops offered participants the opportunity to earn graduate credit or a certificate of completion. In addition, workshops offered flexibility for viewers by dividing the pre-recorded lectures into sections so participants could bookmark them and view them in separate chapters. The workshops reached hundreds of participants at locations across the United States and around the world, a truly global audience that fits the idea of "One Ocean". Most participants were formal and informal educators and many others were students, scientists and personnel from government agencies and non-government organizations. Participants in the workshops valued these on line workshops and surveys indicated that the personal interaction with scientists and experts in ocean science has always been a highly regarded feature of these educational programs.
All workshops have been archived online and include keynote presentations, discussions between scientists and participants, and resources collected for each workshop topic (see links under resources).
Scrolling slideshow - click on any image to enlarge
Image 1: Ocean X Factor: Life Beneath the Deep, 2012
Image 2: Coastal Ocean Observing Systems - An Eye on the Ocean (lecture by Dr. Burt Jones), 2011
Image 3: Coastal Ocean Observing Systems - An Eye on the Ocean (question and answer session), 2011
Image 4: Tiny But Toxic! Harmful Algal Blooms: The Science, Technology, and You!” (resource pages), 2011
COSEE-West strives to improve K-12 ocean science education through activities that provide high quality science content and resources for K-12 teachers and informal educators.
Linda Duguay College of Letters, Arts and Sciences University of Southern California