Communicating Ocean Sciences College Courses
Prepare future scientists to communicate their science knowledge more effectively by offering one of these two innovative courses at your college or university
The Communicating Ocean Sciences are two university-level courses for undergraduate and graduate students in science-related majors, and are now currently taught at more than 25 colleges and universities around the United States.
- COS K–12 (Communicating Ocean Sciences to K-12 Students) is team-taught by a scientist and a formal educator and provides students with experience communicating science to schoolchildren in K–12 classrooms.
- COSIA (Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences) is team-taught by a scientist and an informal educator, and students have the opportunity to communicate their scientific knowledge in informal science education (ISE) institutions.
Communicating Ocean Sciences is an innovative way of connecting scientists with the public. It uses K–12 classrooms and informal science education institutions as training grounds for young scientists to learn to communicate science to general audiences. In turn, the public has the opportunity to interact directly with the next generation of scientists. Meanwhile, as they teach either courses, scientists are challenged to reflect upon how they teach in other courses, and in most cases, they change their practices to incorporate ideas presented in the COS K–12 and COSIA courses.
The courses have undergone a rigorous design and development process, and are based on current research and theory on learning, teaching, and professional development. Written curricula are available to guide instruction of both courses.
Goals of the Courses
In the Communicating Ocean Sciences courses, ocean and climate scientists from colleges and universities and master educators from formal and informal environments work together to address the following goals:
- Introduce undergraduate and graduate students—the future scientists—to the importance of education, outreach, and the broader impact of ocean sciences research.
- Improve the ability of the scientists teaching the COS courses to communicate scientific concepts and research to their undergraduate students.
- Provide both graduate and undergraduate students and scientists with direct experience using exemplary, research-based instructional materials that model constructivist pedagogy—the idea that people learn by actively interacting with their social and physical environment.
- Promote thoughtful, mutually beneficial collaborations between scientists and educators as they co-teach the courses.
- Provide K–12 students from underrepresented populations and visitors to ISE institutions with significant ocean sciences instruction and college and university role models.
In 2005, COS K-12 and Communicating Chemistry/Physics/Astronomy received the prestigious Educational Initiatives Award from the University of California, Berkeley, which is presented annually to a department or unit on the Berkeley campus in recognition of distinctive contributions to undergraduate education.
Community & Continued Learning
The COS-RoP Network has evolved to offer course instructors a means to connect with one another across the country and share resources and experiences. Visit the Network website and join the community to learn more about the courses and download course syllabi, written curricula, and information about upcoming Instructors’ Workshops.
Development of COS K-12 was funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant OCE-0215500 and OCE-0731182.
Development of COSIA was funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant #ESI-0540417.
Development of the COS-RoP Network was funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant # NSF DRL-0917614.