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COSIA Observation Report
Category: For Graduate Students, For Educators
Resource Type: PDF
Date Posted: 05/10/2009

Tran, L.U. & Randol, S. (2008). Communicating Ocean Science to Informal Audiences: An evaluation of students’ activities. (Evaluation report). Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Hall of Science.

Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA) is a National Science Foundation-funded project designed to teach university science students (undergraduate and graduate level) how to communicate science using research and theory from science education. The project supports partnerships between science faculty at universities and educators at nearby informal science educational institutions (ISEIs) to teach this course that was developed by science educators at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). As a part of the original COSIA grant, there were six university and ISEI partnerships:

  1. Hampton University (HU) and Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center (VAq)
  2. Rutgers University (RU) and Liberty Science Center (LSC)
  3. Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and Birch Aquarium (BA)
  4. Oregon State University (OSU) and Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC)
  5. University of Southern California (USC) and Aquarium of the Pacific (AOP)
  6. University of California Berkeley (UCB) and Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS)

This investigation was conducted during the second year of the grant, and evaluated the activities designed by COSIA students at all the sites. We documented how the students implemented the activities they designed for the course, how they interacted with the public, and how the public responded to their activities, the science they communicated, and their presence as “future” scientists. For this report, COSIA students will also be referred to as facilitators. It was necessary to keep in mind that while these facilitators were formally learning about teaching and communication skills, they were still novices. Nonetheless, findings could inform course developers and instructors on how facilitators applied what they were taught, and also offer recommendations for improvement to the course.

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