A Successful Introduction of Authentic Research Early in an Undergraduate Atmospheric Science Program
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An authentic research experience can be successfully built into a course and yield benefits noted in other types of research experiences that are usually limited to only a small subset of the students and often later in their academic careers. Research modules assist the current research of the module author and provide students some experience in working with atmospheric data, analysis software, and numerical models. A scaffolding structure of the course is important for successful student outcomes. Activities early in the course develop conceptual models that supply background knowledge and give students an opportunity to develop and refine their understanding and closely align with the activities of the research project. Students found working in teams, as well as their larger learning community useful for discussing the research goals and results. The importance of their work to the research goals of other groups motivated students to work through setbacks, and the authenticity of the research allowed them to encounter realistic problems, setbacks, and solutions as well as to gain a better understanding of their own interest in pursuing a research career. Ideally, the sophomore-level laboratory presented here would be the first of a series of research-based laboratories that students would experience in their atmospheric science curriculum, increasing in complexity each year as the students acquire more background knowledge in atmospheric science. The sophomore-level laboratory has now been implemented twice, and a new junior-level laboratory has been implemented once. Future work will continue to evaluate the students' progress in understanding atmospheric science research and the benefits to the students. © 2012 American Meteorological Society.
author list (cited authors)
Quardokus, K., Lasher-Trapp, S., & Riggs, E. M.