Big Data: Access to Online Datasets and Data Visualization Tools

Friday, 13 February 2015: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room LL21F (San Jose Convention Center)
Scott Glen,Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) promises to reshape the way ocean science is conducted by providing ocean researchers with access to near real-time data, the ability to control/configure sensors and mobile assets, high-bandwidth infrastructure for images and data visualization and modeling tools to conduct their research. Recent advances in the delivery of web-based education, and the use of visualization technology in educational contexts, have led to the development of on-line platforms for instruction that engage students in active scientific inquiry by collecting and analyzing real world data. The OOI Education and Public Engagement (EPE) team is leveraging these technologies for ocean education. EPE is constructing a series of software tools and a web-based collaboration portal to support engagement of undergraduate students. These tools will enable educators and developers to enhance their undergraduate education programs using real-time and streaming data provided by the OOI.

The EPE team conducted several early surveys and meetings with undergraduate oceanography professors while the system was being designed. Information gained toward successful software design was immeasurable in its usefulness. During the last year of development, however, EPE realized they needed direct feedback from professors performing in classroom testing of the beta software with students.

With support from NSF, the EPE team conducted a pilot implementation of the EPE tools including the Data Investigation Builder and the Concept Mapping tools in collaboration with the NSF funded Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) network.  Several CCURI professors and two Rutgers University professors implemented materials in their Introduction to Oceanography classes over the Spring semester 2014.  This partnership between CCURI and EPE will enable a new approach to oceanography research, where scientists, students and the public can explore and research the ocean in real-time from their classrooms, offices, dorm rooms, and even their homes. The face of an oceanographer will be expanded well beyond the professor at sea to a student at home viewing and analyzing exactly the same data at exactly the same time.