Ocean Tracks: College Edition – Promoting Data Literacy in Science Education at the Undergraduate Level
Monday, 14 December 2015: 16:50
303 (Moscone South)
Ocean Tracks is a Web-based interactive learning experience which allows users to explore the migrations of marine apex predators, and the way their behaviors relate to the physical and chemical environment surrounding them. Ocean Tracks provides access to data from the Tagging of Pelagic Predators (TOPP) program, NOAA’s Global Drifter Program, and Earth-orbiting satellites via the Ocean Tracks interactive map interface; customized data analysis tools; multimedia supports; along with laboratory modules customized for undergraduate student use. It is part of a broader portfolio of projects comprising the Oceans of Data Institute, dedicated to transforming education to prepare citizens for a data-intensive world. Although originally developed for use in high school science classrooms, the Ocean Tracks interface and associated curriculum has generated interest among instructors at the undergraduate level, who wanted to engage their students in hands-on work with real scientific datasets. In 2014, EDC and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography received funding from NSF’s IUSE program for Ocean Tracks: College Edition, to investigate how a learning model that includes a data interface, set of analysis tools, and curricula can be used to motivate students to learn and do science with real data; bringing opportunities to engage broad student populations, including both in-classroom and remote, on-line participants, in scientific practice. Phase 1, completed in the summer of 2015, was a needs assessment, consisting of a survey and interviews with students in oceanography classes at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Palomar Community College; a document review of course syllabi and primary textbooks used in current college marine science courses across the country; and interviews and a national survey of marine science faculty. We will present the results of this work, and will discuss new curriculum materials that are being classroom tested in the fall of 2015.