The Undergraduate "Consulting Classroom": Field, Research, and Practicum Experiences

Croft, Paul J. ; Ha, Juyoung

Année de publication
The use of field, research, and practicum experiences in the atmospheric and related sciences within higher education's under-graduate curriculum is not new. However, how such experiences are employed and integrated according to pedagogical principles and methods while providing authentic research experiences to the students beyond the capstone are more critical questions. The framework of the “Meteorological Instrumentation” course offered at Kean University in the context of the environmental sciences demonstrates the integration of the theoretical principles of atmospheric and environmental sciences with application in the classroom through field, research, and practicum settings. The course is topically focused on an overarching research project posed as a current issue or problem to be resolved, and choreographed through creation and management of a “consulting classroom” that provides a professional setting for cross-training. This simulation of a consulting environment during the semester requires significant logistical planning as well as flexibility for adjustment of the course to be responsive to the students and their learning. The combined experiences provide authentic research and professional opportunities for students who may use content area from all of their science subject matter in an integrated and transdisciplinary manner. No formal assessment has been made as the methods and structures of the course have undergone iterative changes over time to develop and improve student learning outcomes. However, artifacts and anecdotal evidence over several course cycles suggest that students are achieving course learning objectives and effectively acquiring and improving their professional skill sets. The discussion presented herein offers a synthesis different from a capstone experience that is relevant to scientific communities, educators, and employers.

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