309-11 Web-Based and GIS-Based Curricula Developed with Support from the NASA Earth Observing System Higher-Education Alliance ("GeoBrain") at Middle Tennessee State University

Wednesday, 8 October 2008
George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E
Mark Abolins and Miller Wylie, Department of Geosciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
GIS-based and web-based curricula were developed at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) with major support from the NASA Earth Observing System Higher-Education Alliance (“GeoBrain”) and additional support from Tennessee Space Grant and the NSF StepMT program. Two particularly noteworthy curricula are (1) a GIS-based global volcano activity and (2) the free on-line textbook “Physical Regions and Features of the United States.” Both incorporate Earth Observing System data as well as data from other public sources. The first is a ~1.5 hour activity requiring ESRI GIS software and utilizing instructional approaches pioneered by the NSF SAGUARO project. The volcano activity has been completed by hundreds of MTSU Earth Science students. The second is an outgrowth of the out-of-print hardcopy textbook “Natural Landscapes of the United States” (5th ed., 1995) and is intended as a supplemental text for undergraduate geoscience courses. The text was updated and completely re-written by principal author Jim Henry and was illustrated by undergraduate Miller Wylie. The first is part of the searchable collection at the “On the Cutting Edge” geoscience educator professional development web site and both are accessible through the participant page for the “On the Cutting Edge Teaching with New Geoscience Tools” workshop (held February 10-12, 2008 in Amherst, MA).