Course Development

Educational Modules Development Each Learning Community of the ISLS Academy will produce an educational module. Educational modules may be as simple as webpages, or instructional materials that demonstrate how individuals in that learning community's watershed can improve the quality of water leaving their community. The learning module development in and of itself will act as an internship for high school students because the learning modules will be determined by the school's LC team in cooperation with the outside mentors. The learning modules being developed will be accessible on-line as well as for face-to-face use and will incorporate applications used by scientists, professionals or agency officials in the LC's local environment. The concept behind this high school science internship project is to provide a previously unmet need of the agency or group in the local community; or of science classes in the school. At the same time, the idea is to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM majors and science education. Because each internship is modeled around developing an educational module in their community, students will have an excellent opportunity to actively engage in learning by teaching, either directly or by developing on-line courses and web pages. In addition, each LC school team will include an undergraduate intern who will assist in development of materials during the 8 day institute and then mentor the LC high school students for an additional 5 weeks as they continue their research back in their home districts in building their learning modules to be adapted to distinct local needs. The undergraduates will serve as a link between the agency mentors, university professors and the LCs. A Hiram College graduate assistant will coordinate the 5 week summer internship experiences. A goal will be to make learning modules wireless accessible by PDAs and Netbooks. The modules will be started during the summer institute with development continuing throughout the summer on an informal basis determined by each learning community.   Professional Meeting Presentation Each school's LC will be mentored on-line through participation in iGoogle, Moodle, and Sakai - the open source courseware supported by the Ohio Board of Regents through the Ohio Learning Network. In this way each LC will be added as a member institution in the Open Source Pilot program of OLN. In addition, mentors will provide advice, assistance, and encouragement promoting the individual disciplinary discourse that helps students think critically about the core content of STEM fields and that attract them by example into careers in teaching. Our low student to faculty ratio reflects our commitment to the success of each student. Following the summer institute and summer development of LCs, the on-line project will be punctuated by 3 one-day LC showcases (in September, January and April) where the student-teacher-mentor teams share examples of their work and learn from one another about challenges and failures as well as successes, and will be attended by the mentors from private industry and government agencies. We include in the grant the cost of attending the Learning Libraries, and Technology conference in March of 2008, with the hopes that each Learning Community will present and students will interact with educators throughout the State of Ohio.