When this edition hits the newsstands, I will be on Day 8 teaching a four-week experiential marine sciences field course for high school students from all over the country. With the heart of the Salish Sea ecosystem as a backdrop, the course provides opportunities for the students to immerse themselves in academic content in and out of the classroom, research project development, data collection and analysis, and communicating their questions and results to a broad audience. Last year, we had 18 students that worked with dozens of faculty, graduate students, and mentors to produce novel research across multiple marine science disciplines, culminating with a poster session open to the entire island community. This year, however, will be different. We’re doing it all virtually using the explosion of telepresence platforms and resources to facilitate the student’s exposure to the same rigorous experience, just separated by thousands of miles of physical distance.
The miracle that has been continued, effective education in this time of crisis will likely transform the way people teach and are taught for generations to come. Academy Board member Scott Chapman recently offered our community the opportunity to join us in moving our organization and resources forward with the introduction of an AAUS-created and maintained learning management system being hosted on one of our servers. This fully customizable e-learning platform will be available at the end of this summer to member organizations planning on offering a Fall scientific diving course, whether the course includes only the academic modules or the in-water evolutions as well. With input from these beta tests, we will refine the interface and content with plans to release it to all members for the 2021 year and beyond. We’ve also moved our New DSO Orientation to this system and have started adding the components of an AAUS Scientific Diving Instructor Crossover course, which will be available to our members before the end of the year.
Our Academy Board has been working to address significant issues that are testing the fabric of our society. Know that we are also working hard on behalf of our entire Academy to protect this organization for future generations of scientific divers.
University of Washington