Earth Data, Science Writing, and Peer Review in a Large General Education Oceanography Class
Journal of Geoscience education
Writing assignments were introduced to a large introductory Oceanography class at UCSB. The assignments evolved, over a period of 10 years, from papers handed in to the instructor, to online peer reviewed assignments using the calibrated peer review methodology. The assignments required students to acquire and plot data and use these data plots to create scientific arguments in support of a theory. The topics addressed plate tectonics, the Indian monsoon, the Earth's climate, and the world
... and the world fisheries. The course activities were managed by the EarthEd software package, which supports course management functions such as online writing and peer review, image storage and upload, auto-graded homework problems, and course grade computation. Access to Earth data is integrated within the EarthEd software through the "Our Dynamic Planet" CDROM, Global Ocean Data Viewer, and links to other data browsers available on the web. Data representations are captured as images, uploaded to the student's image library (in EarthEd) and then can be edited and linked to the writing assignment text. Convenient commenting, scoring, grade curving, and posting is also implemented. The peer review assignments were successful in providing accurate grades for students, while reducing grading by the instructor by about 70% to 80%. Figure 8 . Distribution of differences between raw peer assigned scores and author assigned scores(left) and difference between teacher and peer assigned scores(right). The teaching assistants graded 21 out of the 61 papers that were submitted. These were selected after the peer grades were computed.