The role of research in online curriculum development: The case of EarthLabs climate change and earth system modules

TitleThe role of research in online curriculum development: The case of EarthLabs climate change and earth system modules
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMcNeal, KS, Libarkin, JC, Ledley, TShapiro, Bardar, E, Haddad, N, Ellins, K, Dutta, S
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Pagination560 - 577
Date Published2014/11//
ISBN Number10899995
Keywords*Original 959, 1RRP, 2AWB, CLIMATIC changes, CURRICULUM planning, EARTH sciences -- Study & teaching, Eye tracking, Include, Include RRP, Inquiry-based learning, Online courses, R1 FINAL INCLUDE, Round1 Include, Round2 Include AWB
AbstractThis study reports on an effort to illustrate the coupling of educational research with ongoing curriculum development to promote effective and evidence-based online learning. The research findings have been used to inform the EarthLabs curriculum development team as they revise existing modules and create new modules, in order to represent the ways in which such research findings can be used to improve similar online curriculum materials and enhance student learning outcomes. EarthLabs curriculum is a suite of online inquiry-based activities that promote understanding of Earth system science. Assessments were employed to understand student learning about complex climate systems as a result of their engagement with the online EarthLabs curriculum. Collection of pre- and postcourse student assessment data (n = 205), classroom observations during implementation (n = 6), teacher interviews (n = 7), and eye-tracking data (n = 49) were included in the study. Qualitative and quantitative findings show that EarthLabs classroom implementation significantly improves students' conceptual and systems understanding and that students and external users are appropriately engaged with the online materials. These findings have been applied to evaluating the efficacy of the EarthLabs program in reaching target programmatic and learning goals, as well as to developing a broader understanding of the cognitive challenges students have in navigating complex Earth systems phenomena, where continued EarthLabs program revision has occurred through design-based research.
Short TitleJournal of Geoscience Education