What Do Introductory Meteorology Students Want to Learn?

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During 2002 and 2003, surveys of introductory meteorology students were conducted at the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin—Madison. These surveys asked which one question about weather and climate each student would most like to have answered in the class, as well as other demographic and educational information. The more than 750 responses that were obtained ran the gamut of meteorology and were not overwhelmingly focused on any one topic, including severe weather. Results from the two universities are nearly identical, with the exception of a greater awareness of climate issues at Wisconsin. Several topics that are most commonly noted by students, such as weather forecasting and atmospheric optics, are given inadequate treatment in many introductory meteorology textbooks and classes. The results of the surveys suggest that an instructor could use students' first-day responses to this kind of question to shape a syllabus that would incorporate student interests, while retaining educational integrity.

Driftmier Engineering Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: John A. Knox, Faculty of Engineering, Driftmier Engineering Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, E-mail: jknox@engr.uga.edu

During 2002 and 2003, surveys of introductory meteorology students were conducted at the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin—Madison. These surveys asked which one question about weather and climate each student would most like to have answered in the class, as well as other demographic and educational information. The more than 750 responses that were obtained ran the gamut of meteorology and were not overwhelmingly focused on any one topic, including severe weather. Results from the two universities are nearly identical, with the exception of a greater awareness of climate issues at Wisconsin. Several topics that are most commonly noted by students, such as weather forecasting and atmospheric optics, are given inadequate treatment in many introductory meteorology textbooks and classes. The results of the surveys suggest that an instructor could use students' first-day responses to this kind of question to shape a syllabus that would incorporate student interests, while retaining educational integrity.

Driftmier Engineering Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: John A. Knox, Faculty of Engineering, Driftmier Engineering Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, E-mail: jknox@engr.uga.edu
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