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Impact of Experiential Ocean Science Education on Scientist-Volunteers’ Knowledge, Teaching Capacities, and NSF Broader-Impacts Endeavors
 Scientist and student
Ocean Inquiry Project (OIP) — a strategic partner of COSEE-Ocean Learning Communities (COSEE-OLC) — connects ocean scientists and members of the public in deep and meaningful learning experiences, while doing rigorous, scientific data collection. OIP operates a boat-based education program to collect data and teach marine volunteers, K-12 and community college audiences about the Puget Sound ecosystem as well as about current ocean science research.

In 2011 OIP sought to understand the impact of these experiences on the participating scientists. Since 1999 more than 70 scientists have served as volunteer instructors during day-long cruises on Puget Sound. The evaluation approach was to interview those who matched the criteria of serving during the COSEE-OLC era (2008 to present). The interviews focused primarily on how OIP experiences affected scientists’ teaching, scientific knowledge and NSF Broader Impacts endeavors. Key findings include that all scientists: 1) reported increased teaching confidence and skills with both formal and informal audiences, and 2) identified Broader Impacts as a critically important service to the public and a serious obligation for scientists, and 3) gained new scientific knowledge during the cruises.

Presented by Fritz Stahr and Andrea Anderson at the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT

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