Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 31 Issue 01

View Issue TOC
Volume 31, No. 1
Pages 138 - 146

Education and Public Engagement in OOI: Lessons Learned from the Field

Janice McDonnell Annette deCharonC. Sage LichtenwalnerKristin Hunter-ThomsonCatherine HalversenOscar SchofieldScott GlennCarrie FerraroCarla LauterJames Hewlett
Article Abstract

The Ocean Observing Initiative (OOI) was designed to advance understanding of complex oceanographic processes by acquiring large quantities of data at six key locations in the world ocean. The OOI Education and Public Engagement (EPE) Implementing Organization has built an educational cyberinfrastructure and developed interactive tools targeted for undergraduate-level learners that enable easy access to OOI data, images, and video. To develop the suite of OOI education tools, EPE used an iterative design process, including needs assessment, tool prototyping, and usability testing in undergraduate classrooms. Data visualization and concept mapping tools were envisioned as a way to help undergraduates link concepts students see in oceanography textbooks to real-world phenomena. A Data Investigation Builder (DIB) was constructed to assist professors in designing data activities. During the usability testing, professors provided valuable feedback that allowed EPE to improve the tools. Based on the lessons learned from EPE, in 2016 we developed a new prototype set of Data Explorations that were more modular and easier to integrate into an undergraduate lecture or problem set. This paper reviews how the EPE toolset was developed, including establishment of requirements for the tools and incorporation of lessons learned from the user needs assessment and the results of usability testing of prototype tools.


McDonnell, J., A. deCharon, C.S. Lichtenwalner, K. Hunter-Thomson, C. Halversen, O. Schofield, S. Glenn, C. Ferraro, C. Lauter, and J. Hewlett. 2018. Education and public engagement in OOI: Lessons learned from the field. Oceanography 31(1):138–146, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2018.122.


Adams, L.G., and G. Matsumoto. 2009. Commentary: Enhancing ocean literacy using real-time data. Oceanography 22(2):12–13, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.55.

Brown, P.L., and S.K. Abell. 2007. Examining the learning cycle. Science and Children 44:58–59.

Bybee, R.W., J. Taylor, A. Gardner, P. Van Scotter, J. Carlson Powell, A. Westbrook, and N. Landes. 2006. The BSCS 5E Instructional Model: Origins, Effectiveness, & Application. BSCS, Colorado Springs, CO, 80 pp., https://uteach.wiki.uml.edu/file/view/UTeach_5Es.pdf/355111234/UTeach_5Es.pdf.

Chinn, C.A., and W. Brewer. 1998. An empirical test of a taxonomy of responses to anomalous data in science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 35(6):623–654, https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199808)35:6<623::AID-TEA3>​3.0.CO;2-O.

deCharon, A., L. Duguay, J. McDonnell, C. Peach, C. Companion, C. Herren, P. Harcourt, T. Repa, C. Ferraro, P. Kwon, and others. 2013. Concept mapping workshops: Helping ocean scientists represent and communicate science. Oceanography 26(1):98–105, https://doi.org/​10.5670/oceanog.2013.08.

deCharon, A., L. Smith, and C. Companion 2015. Characterizing complex marine systems and technology using visualized vocabularies. Marine Technology Society Journal 49(4):53–63, https://doi.org/10.4031/MTSJ.49.4.2.

Hays, J.D., S. Pfirman, B. Blumenthal, K. Kastens, and W. Menke. 2000. Earth science instruction with digital data. Computers & Geosciences 26(6):657–668, https://doi.org/​10.1016/​S0098-3004(99)00101-6.

Hug, B., and K.L. McNeill. 2008. Use of first-hand and second-hand data in science: Does data type influence classroom conversations? International Journal of Science Education 30(13):1,725–1,751, https://doi.org/10.1080/09500690701506945.

Hunter-Thomson, K., S. Lichtenwalner, and J. McDonnell. 2017. Incorporating observatory data into oceanography courses. Eos 98, https://doi.org/​10.1029/2017EO087369.

Kastens, K. 2011. Learning to learn from data. Earth and Mind: The blog, http://serc.carleton.edu/​earthandmind/​posts/​datalearningpro.html.

Krumhansl, R., A. Busey, K. Krumhansl, J. Foster, and C. Peach. 2013. Visualizing Oceans of Data: Educational Interface Design. 8 pp., http://www.oceansofdata.org/sites/oceansofdata.org/files/MTS-2013.pdf.

Lawson, A.E. 2002. The learning cycle. Pp. 51–76 in A Love of Discovery: Science Education—The Second Career of Robert Karplus. R.G. Fuller, ed., Springer.

Manduca, C.A., and D.W. Mogk. 2002. Using Data in Undergraduate Science Classrooms: Final Report on An Interdisciplinary Workshop Held at Carleton College, April 2002. Carleton College, Science Education Resource Center.

Matsumoto, G., J. Bursek, R. Czujko, A. deCharon, S. Franks, S. Gilman, A. Holt-Cline, D. Keith, D. Malmquist, J. McDonnell, and others. 2006. Ocean Research and Interactive Observatory Networks (ORION) Education and Public Awareness Draft Strategic Plan. http://oceanleadership.org/​wp-content/​uploads/​2009/07/OOI_ORIONEducationPlan_4_0.pdf.

McDonnell, J., S. Lichtenwalner, S. Glenn, C. Ferraro, K. Hunter-Thomson, and J. Hewlett. 2015. The challenges and opportunities of using data in teaching from the perspective of undergraduate oceanography professors. Marine Technology Science Journal 49(4):76–85, https://doi.org/10.4031/MTSJ.49.4.9.

National Science Board. 2007. A National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System. National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.

Oceans of Data Institute. 2015. Building Global Interest in Data Literacy: A Dialogue Workshop Report. Oceans of Data Institute, 24 pp., http://oceansofdata.org/our-work/building-global-​interest-data-literacy-dialogue-workshop-report.

Pfirman, S., F. Lawrenz, G. Chin-Leo, K. St. John, R. Kinzler, S. Pompea, and B. Herbert. 2011. COSEE Decadal Review Committee Report. http://www.cosee.net/files/coseenet/COSEE Decadal Review Report final 092411 3.pdf.

Sampson, V., and D. Clark. 2008. Assessment of the ways students generate arguments in science education: Current perspectives and recommendations for future directions. Science Education 92(3):447–472, https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.20276.

Simoniello, C., L. Spence, N. Deans, and J. McDonnell. 2010. Developing an education and outreach program for the US. IOOS: Eyes on the ocean, hands-on learning. Marine Technology Society Journal 44(6):176–184.

Trujillo, A,, and H. Thurman. 2016. Essentials of Oceanography, 12th ed. Pearson Press, 624 pp.