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Field Notes

Tewksbury, Others Win U.S. Award for Teaching Website

Barbara Tewksbury, the Upson Chair for Public Discourse and professor of geosciences, is part of a team honored with a national award for a Web site developed to improve undergraduate geoscience education.

The site, On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty was awarded the 2009 Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Science magazine. One of the most widely used resources on the Web site is the online course design tutorial that Tewksbury developed.

"We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award," Tewksbury said. "Many of the resources on our Web site are broadly applicable to teaching in any field, and this award will make our resources more visible to those outside the geosciences."

On the Cutting Edge has received more than $8 million in National Science Foundation funding over the past eight years to catalyze improvements in undergraduate geoscience education by offering face-to-face and virtual workshops for geoscience faculty and by developing an extensive Web collection. The project has offered more than 50 workshops reaching a remarkable cross-section of college and university geoscience faculty: More than 25 percent of all geoscience faculty members in the nation have attended a Cutting Edge workshop.

The project is the work of Tewksbury and three collaborators: Heather Macdonald (College of William and Mary), David Mogk (Montana State University) and Cathryn Manduca (Carleton College). They and several co-authors contributed an essay on the project to the Feb. 26 issue of Science magazine, observing: "Beyond the impacts on individual faculty, the On the Cutting Edge program has created a new culture; faculty learn from one another and share resources to improve teaching."
 

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