OOI Data Labs Workshops: Equipping professors with the tools to tap into a fire hose of ocean data for undergraduate education

Anna Pfeiffer-Herbert, Stockton University, Galloway, NJ, United States, Dax Christian Soule, CUNY Queens College, Flushing, NY, United States, Brooke Arlite Love, Western Washington University, Shannon Point Marine Center, Bellingham, WA, United States, Ellen A R Iverson, Carleton College, SERC, Northfield, MN, United States, Ellen Altermatt, Carleton College, Science Education Resource Center, Northfield, MN, United States, Janice D McDonnell, Rutgers University New Brunswick, Department of Youth Development, New Brunswick, NJ, United States, Charles Sage Lichtenwalner, Rutgers University, Marine and Coastal Sciences, New Brunswick, NJ, United States, Catherine Halversen, University of California Berkeley, Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA, United States, Kristin I Hunter-thomson, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States and Denise Bristol, Hillsborough Community College, Biological and Earth Sciences, Ruskin, FL, United States
Large data streams from the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) provide a window into many topics taught in introductory oceanography courses, including tectonic plate boundaries, density stratification, coastal upwelling, and seasonal cycles of primary production. Undergraduate students would benefit from exposure to these real-world data, especially as many of them may go on to careers centered on big data. However, barriers exist between the research-grade data supplied by OOI and the undergraduate oceanography classroom. First, working with authentic data containing noise and gaps is cognitively challenging for students. Second, professors, especially at teaching-focused institutions, often do not have the time or tools on hand to make relevant data sets classroom-ready. We report on the successful implementation of development workshops for professors at community college and primarily undergraduate institutions. The OOI Data Labs workshops incorporated background on the OOI program, Python Jupyter notebooks for data access, and a backwards design pedagogical framework. Participants worked in small groups to design interactive graph activities with OOI data. Evaluations were carried out at the end of each day, allowing for just-in-time modifications to the scope and focus of the workshop tailored to the needs of each group. This workshop model addresses barriers by providing participants with the time and support needed to develop student friendly data products, and the pedagogical framework for successful student engagement with the activities. On end-of-workshop surveys, respondents (n = 51) unanimously reported very high satisfaction with the learning experience and very strongly agreed that the workshop goal of “developing skills and knowledge to use OOI data effectively in undergraduate teaching to help students to be more expert users of data” was met (mean = 4.69 on a 5-point scale). Our team encourages the use of this model to grow the network of educators that are able to bring OOI and similar large data sets into the oceanography classroom.