Previous Education Initiatives

Many outcomes of EOAS science education initiatives are disseminated at scholarly meetings and in peer reviewed publications.


The Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences has been a leader in science education research and development since before the Carl Weiman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI, 2007 - 2014).

The projects below are some of the initiatives that have contributed to our experience in, and reputation for, educational innovation.

For scholarly contributions from EOAS education activities, see this PDF page.

Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative - CWSEI

In 2007, EOAS became the first department in UBC’s Faculty of science to be approved for the 7 year Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI). The aim was to increase the effectiveness of post-secondary science education for all undergraduate students taking courses offered by our Department.

A summary of EOAS’s activities can be seen here with an EOAS-specific summary report here. A journalistic description of the initiative can be seen via the Medium article here. The video below is embedded in that article.

The UBC CWSEI website was newly renovated in December 2020 and includes extensive information about the project, how it was conducted in EOAS and other departments in the Faculty of Science, details of project outcomes in terms of improved student learning, enhanced faculty teaching practices and published research. There are also extensive resources for instructors, tools for educational research, educational transformation guidelines and recommended reading.

Paired Teaching

In 2014, UBC’s Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and Physics and Astronomy departments received generous funding from the Harris family to pilot paired teaching as a follow-up to the CWSEI (see above). During the project, 27 instructors across these two departments taught 18 courses to over 2,500 students in the pilot program, and research was disseminated through several scholarly publications. A two page summary of paired teaching research and practice in EOAS can be seen here.

The success of the program led to its full implementation as standard practice in UBC Science, supported by the Dean and department heads. In 2018, paired teaching became part of the package offered to new faculty in all UBC Science departments. EOAS also uses paired teaching practices to support the transitioning of teaching duties from an instructor experienced with a course to another who is new to that course.

Curriculum development partnership with U. Central Asia

In 2017 UBC’s departments of EOAS and Geography embarked on an ambitious partnership with the University of Central Asia (UCA) to design, develop and transfer a 22-course curriculum making up UCA’s new undergraduate B.Sc. program in Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) focusing on issues of importance to mountain societies. The project was coordinated out of EOAS and employed 11 scientists with science or geoscience education expertise to build this diverse set of courses spanning introductory science to specialist courses in environmental and geological sciences. The photograph below shows student residences at the UCA campus in Khorog, Tajikistan, in the heart of the Pamir Mountains.

A project blog was maintained while courses were being developed between 2017 and 2019.

Other educational research or development projects

2019-2020: Empowering Students to Engage With, and Contribute to, Multi-Disciplinary Learning Activities Using Open, Interactive Virtual Geoscience Field Sites and Specimens. Small TLEF, S. Sutherland, F. Jones. Project summary here.

2018-2019: Piloting the integration of Geographical Information Systems into existing courses in EOAS. Small TLEF, S. Whadcoat and S. McDougall. Project summary and poster here. Their progress blogsite is here.

2017-2019: Mineral Concept Inventory: PhD thesis chapter by Emily Scribner. The whole PhD can be found here.

2017-2019: Increasing Authentic Pedagogy in ENVR 200 using Community Focused Videos. Small TLEF, T. Ivanochko. Project summary with poster here.

2016-2019: Development of cost effective strategies for teaching, learning and assessing scientific reasoning abilities in large face-to-face and distance education general science courses. Large TLEF, S. Harris, F. Jones and instructors. Project summary and annual progress posters here.

2015-2016: Roleplaying to Enhance Student Decision-making Skills in the Online Components of Blended Flipped Science Course ATSC 113. Small TLEF, R. Stull. Page summary with poster here.

2013-2015: Earth and Ocean Science: Interactive resources and corresponding pedagogies for blended and distance education courses. Large TLEF, S. Harris, F. Jones and instructors. Project summary and annual progress posters here, and a demo of some resources here.