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How Undergraduate Students Learn Atmospheric Science: Characterizing the Current Body of Research

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  • 1 Towson University, Towson, Maryland;
  • | 2 University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado;
  • | 3 Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana;
  • | 4 University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska;
  • | 5 University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma;
  • | 6 Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
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Abstract

Educators can enrich their teaching with best practices, share resources, and contribute to the growing atmospheric science education research community by reading and participating in the scholarship of teaching and learning in atmospheric science. This body of scholarship has grown, particularly over the past 15 years, and is now a sizable literature base that documents and exemplifies numerous teaching innovations in undergraduate atmospheric science education. This literature base benefits the entire atmospheric science community because graduates of atmospheric science programs are better prepared to enter the workforce. This literature base has not yet been examined, however, to see how well the evidence supports education practices in the atmospheric science education literature. In this study, we characterized that evidence and show that the majority of papers we reviewed share education innovations with anecdotal or correlational evidence of effectiveness. While providing useful practitioner knowledge and preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of numerous innovative teaching practices, opportunities exist for increasing readers’ confidence that the innovations caused the learning gains. Additional studies would also help move conclusions toward generalizability across academic institutions and student populations. We make recommendations for advancing atmospheric science education research and encourage atmospheric science educators to actively use the growing body of education literature as well as contribute to advancing atmospheric science education research.

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Corresponding author: Peggy McNeal, pmcneal@towson.edu

Abstract

Educators can enrich their teaching with best practices, share resources, and contribute to the growing atmospheric science education research community by reading and participating in the scholarship of teaching and learning in atmospheric science. This body of scholarship has grown, particularly over the past 15 years, and is now a sizable literature base that documents and exemplifies numerous teaching innovations in undergraduate atmospheric science education. This literature base benefits the entire atmospheric science community because graduates of atmospheric science programs are better prepared to enter the workforce. This literature base has not yet been examined, however, to see how well the evidence supports education practices in the atmospheric science education literature. In this study, we characterized that evidence and show that the majority of papers we reviewed share education innovations with anecdotal or correlational evidence of effectiveness. While providing useful practitioner knowledge and preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of numerous innovative teaching practices, opportunities exist for increasing readers’ confidence that the innovations caused the learning gains. Additional studies would also help move conclusions toward generalizability across academic institutions and student populations. We make recommendations for advancing atmospheric science education research and encourage atmospheric science educators to actively use the growing body of education literature as well as contribute to advancing atmospheric science education research.

CURRENT AFFILIATION: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Corresponding author: Peggy McNeal, pmcneal@towson.edu
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