Redesigning GEO100 Earth Systems Science Reed A Schwimmer

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Redesigning GEO-100 Earth Systems Science Reed A. Schwimmer Geological and Marine Sciences First-Year Experience

Redesigning GEO-100 Earth Systems Science Reed A. Schwimmer Geological and Marine Sciences First-Year Experience Faculty Development Day August 21, 2006

How are courses commonly designed? • Make list of content items important to coverage

How are courses commonly designed? • Make list of content items important to coverage of the field • Develop syllabus by organizing items into topical outline • Flesh out topical items in lectures, discussions, labs • Test knowledge learned in course On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

What’s missing? • Articulation of what your students need • Articulation of goals beyond

What’s missing? • Articulation of what your students need • Articulation of goals beyond content/ coverage goals • Deliberate consideration of strategies to achieve goals beyond content goals • Plan for evaluation of success On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

An alternative goals-based approach • Brings same kind of introspection, intellectual rigor, systematic documentation,

An alternative goals-based approach • Brings same kind of introspection, intellectual rigor, systematic documentation, and evaluation to teaching that each of us brings to our research • Really shakes the tree and designs the course from the bottom up • Assessment falls out naturally On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

Step 1: Context and audience The course design process begins with answering the following:

Step 1: Context and audience The course design process begins with answering the following: • Who are my students? • What do they need? • Can’t set goals effectively until these questions are answered • What are the constraints and support structure? On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

GEO-100 Audience • Freshmen to seniors • Science and non-science majors • Course is

GEO-100 Audience • Freshmen to seniors • Science and non-science majors • Course is a requirement or elective • Not active learners; they haven’t been taught how to learn

Step 2: Develop overarching goal(s) • Teaching is commonly viewed as being teacher-centered •

Step 2: Develop overarching goal(s) • Teaching is commonly viewed as being teacher-centered • Commonly reinforced by how we phrase course goals: “I want to expose my students to…. ” or “I want to teach my students that…” or “I want to show students that…” On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

Instead…goals can be studentcentered • “At the end of this course, students will be

Instead…goals can be studentcentered • “At the end of this course, students will be able to…” • What do you want the students to be able to DO at the end of the semester? • This focuses beyond the semester – what value has the course added to student lives, abilities, and skill sets? On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

So you don’t want students to… list… explain… calculate… identify… describe… know about… recognize…

So you don’t want students to… list… explain… calculate… identify… describe… know about… recognize… paraphrase … prepare… On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

Instead, you want to facilitate higher-order thinking tasks derive… predict… analyze… design… interpret… synthesize…

Instead, you want to facilitate higher-order thinking tasks derive… predict… analyze… design… interpret… synthesize… formulate… evaluate… create… On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

GEO-100 Overall goals 1. Students will be able to derive the relationships between process

GEO-100 Overall goals 1. Students will be able to derive the relationships between process and product. 2. Students will be able to synthesize the interactions between different Earth systems (e. g. , lithosphere, biosphere, atmosphere).

From these goals, course content can then be selected • Choose broad content topics

From these goals, course content can then be selected • Choose broad content topics that will help you achieve your goals. • Then for each topic, select content items that you want the student to master. • “How will you give students practice in doing…” • You don’t need to cover “everything. ” On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

The problem with textbooks • Chapters are arranged around specific topics, not the connecting

The problem with textbooks • Chapters are arranged around specific topics, not the connecting processes • Each chapter is treated as a separate entity • Not organized to emphasize these connections

Example of table of contents from an Earth science textbook

Example of table of contents from an Earth science textbook

One solution… • Develop the overall goal(s) early and keep focusing on it throughout

One solution… • Develop the overall goal(s) early and keep focusing on it throughout the course. • Use concept maps to illustrate the interrelationships within this goal. • Have students demonstrate their understanding by creating concept maps.

Three levels of concept maps 1. Connecting concepts and terms within a topic (within

Three levels of concept maps 1. Connecting concepts and terms within a topic (within a chapter) 2. Connecting concepts between topics (across chapters) 3. Connecting concepts to the overarching goal (generally not done in textbooks)

TILT OF EARTH’S AXIS ASTRONOMICAL PROCESSES • SHAPE OF ORBIT • TILT ANGLE •

TILT OF EARTH’S AXIS ASTRONOMICAL PROCESSES • SHAPE OF ORBIT • TILT ANGLE • AXIS WOBBLE summer SEASONS winter SUNLIGHT ANGLE AND DURATION SURFACE AIR TEMP AIR DENSITY CHANGES RISING OR FALLING AIR MASSES warm AIR PRESSURE DIFFERENCES cool HIGH L H LOW WIND

Option 1 – Students arrange topics into a flowchart TILT OF EARTH’S AXIS warm

Option 1 – Students arrange topics into a flowchart TILT OF EARTH’S AXIS warm summer SEASONS winter WIND RISING OR FALLING AIR MASSES cool L H SURFACE AIR TEMP AIR DENSITY CHANGES SUNLIGHT ANGLE AND DURATION ASTRONOMICAL PROCESSES • SHAPE OF ORBIT • TILT ANGLE • AXIS WOBBLE AIR PRESSURE DIFFERENCES HIGH LOW

Option 2 – Students describe the connections. SEASONS ASTRONOMICAL PROCESSES SHAPE OF ORBIT TILT

Option 2 – Students describe the connections. SEASONS ASTRONOMICAL PROCESSES SHAPE OF ORBIT TILT ANGLE AXIS WOBBLE summer winter TILT OF EARTH’S AXIS SUNLIGHT ANGLE AND DURATION SURFACE AIR TEMP AIR DENSITY CHANGES RISING OR FALLING AIR MASSES warm L H HEAT ENERGY CONC. AIR PRESSURE DIFFERENCES HIGH KINETIC ACTIVITY CONCENTRATION LOW EQUILIBRIUM DIFFUSION WIND

Option 3 – Students create their own flow chart. Concept SUNLIGHT ANGLE AND DURATION

Option 3 – Students create their own flow chart. Concept SUNLIGHT ANGLE AND DURATION SURFACE AIR TEMP ASTRONOMICAL PROCESSES WIND RISING OR FALLING AIR MASSES AIR PRESSURE DIFFERENCES SEASONS Connections TILT OF EARTH’S AXIS SHAPE OF ORBIT TILT ANGLE AXIS WOBBLE AIR DENSITY CHANGES HEAT ENERGY CONC. KINETIC ACTIVITY CONCENTRATION EQUILIBRIUM DIFFUSION

Final thoughts… • As you enter a classroom, ask yourself this question: “If there

Final thoughts… • As you enter a classroom, ask yourself this question: “If there were no students in the classroom, could I do what I am planning to do? ” If the answer is yes, General Ruben Cubero, Dean of the don’t do it. Faculty, United States Air Force Academy (Novak et al. , 1999, Just-in-Time Teaching) • If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. • Same goes for teaching. If the only tool in your teaching toolbox is lecturing, then…. On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty