avatar for Michael Hubenthal

Michael Hubenthal

Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology
Senior Education Specialist
At IRIS*, I am responsible for the development, management and evaluation of the teacher/instructor professional development programing, the undergraduate internship program, and the development and testing of educational products for formal and informal educational settings.
*IRIS is a consortium of over 120 US universities dedicated to the operation of science facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data.

POSTER TITLE: Learning scientific computing online: Exploring the impact of an online skill building workshop for advanced geoscience undergraduates during the pandemic
POSTER SESSION LINK: https://zoom.us/j/99988561382
POSTER PREVIEW VIDEO: https://padlet.com/stephanielvendetti/jdneykglmzv10ypk/wish/1227174429

ABSTRACT: COVID-19 led to the suspension of many summer research opportunities for STEM students. In response, a free, online, not-for-credit, Seismology Skill Building Workshop was offered to increase undergraduates' knowledge, skills, self-efficacy, and interest in observational seismology and scientific computing. Registrations were received from 760 undergraduates representing 60 different countries. U.S. participants consisted of 59% women and 29% from populations traditionally underrepresented in geoscience. The workshop design consisted of a tailored Linux virtual machine, regular webinars, a Slack workspace, and tutorial-style active e-learning assignments. Every other week for 12 weeks, a module with ~6 assignments was released covering Linux, data retrieval, Python, Jupyter notebooks, various seismic analysis packages. Grounded in constructivism, participants learned by doing, reflecting, receiving real-time automated feedback, and chances to re-answer questions for diminishing partial credit. Evaluation included registration data, pre-/post surveys, and LMS performance data. 440 completed at least 1 assignment, 224 completed at least 80% of the assignments, and 191 completed all 35 assignments, significantly higher than most comparable large-scale, open-access courses. Participants invested ~6 hours/week and averaged 88% accuracy on assignments. A preliminary investigations finds >60% normalized gain in scientific computing skills and evidence the inclusive design attracted and retained a diverse population. However, the data also suggests that benefits may not have been evenly experienced. Using the Expectancy-Value Theory as a lens we explore factors that may have contributed to students’ success in learning scientific computing, handling data and thinking like a scientist. We also make recommendations for implementing and studying future scientific computing workshops regardless of the scientific discipline.
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