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2007.07.31 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO to Host Conference on Online Science Course Design Aug. 5-8

Omaha - More than 80 university educators from around the nation will be attending meetings and sessions on designing online courses that target elementary, middle and secondary school science teachers starting Sunday, Aug. 5, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Experts and officials from both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) will attend the Earth System Science Education Alliance’s (ESSEA) Summer Conference.

“Having an event like this on our campus and in Omaha gives us an opportunity to focus on the exciting collaborative work that we’ve done in this area,” said Neal Grandgenett, a UNO professor of teacher education and one of the UNO professors helping to host the conference.  “There is a wealth of interesting ideas and sessions on science curriculum, education initiatives and high technology."

ESSEA is a partnership among universities, colleges, and science education organizations dedicated to improving Earth science education. Led by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), ESSEA is supported by the NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise (ESE). UNO was one of the first 17 institutions to help deliver various independent online Earth Systems Science study courses, which are now being enhanced and redesigned.

“This summer conference encourages communication and cooperation,” said Robert Shuster, UNO associate professor of geology and another UNO professor assisting in organizing the conference.  “There also will be an exchange on what classroom materials and techniques help explain science in interesting and compelling ways.”

The Lauritzen Gardens will host the welcome reception for the conference on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m. Conference sessions begin Monday, Aug. 6, with a breakfast and introduction presentation at UNO’s William H. and Dorothy Thompson Center. UNO Chancellor John Christensen will give brief opening remarks at 8:30 a.m. The conference runs through Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Workshops and presentations are widely varied, Grandgenett said. Some of the topic areas include:

* Education modules focused on NASA data, earth exploration, and polar information;

* Problem-based learning; and

* Earth system science initiatives.

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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