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Polar (NSF 15-114): Using Polar Science Data to Evaluate Media Claims in the Undergraduate Classroom


Project start
Project end
Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

Project details

Science / project summary

This award supports efforts to leverage the extensive National Science Foundation investment in polar sciences, polar infrastructure, and science education research and development to promote an informed citizenry and the next generation of polar scientists. It responds to the objectives outlined in DCL 15-114. The University of Delaware (UD), will convert the Spring offering of an existing large-enrollment, non-major environmental science course into a course that is polar-focused, student-centered and employs a data-intensive active-learning pedagogy. The Fall offering of this course will continue to be a traditional lecture course. In the Spring course offering, students will work directly with polar data in an introductory R-based programing framework and use these data to evaluate media claims about polar regions. Students will also experience the human dimension of polar research through interactions with a range of polar scientists. Over the course of the project, ~170 non-major students will be immersed in polar science through this data-driven course. The impact of this project will extend well beyond the award period through continued offerings at UD and through development of at least twenty data visualizations and three Problem-Based-Learning (PBL) problems. The course will be delivered three times over three years, with yearly revision based on assessments of student learning, faculty performance, and workshops with a cohort of UD polar scientists and active-learning researchers. They will compare student learning using the active-learning pedagogy to student learning via the traditional lecture course. Results will be disseminated to a broad network of educators and researchers through a collaborative polar science outreach network and through active-learning databases, e.g., PBL Clearinghouse, Science Education Resource Center (SERC), and the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.