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AMS Weather Studies Course Information
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Course Management System Integration

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Frequently Asked Questions

Raymond Giddings
Anupa Asokan
Katie O'Neill

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Frequently Asked Questions
about AMS Weather Studies


We have compiled several common questions about offering the AMS Weather Studies course and have posted their answers below. Should your question not be answered in this listing, please:

Question Topics

Gaining Approval to Offer the Course

Q. I am a professor who would like to offer the course, but getting a new course approved is very difficult and time consuming. Do you have any advice?

A. There might already be a course in your college catalog, such as “weather and climate” which could serve as a home for AMS Weather Studies. The course can be offered with a title other than Weather Studies. Remember that AMS Weather Studies is a very versatile offering which may be easily adapted to many course descriptions and situations. Be sure to check lists of infrequently offered or banked/archived courses. Also, look into courses offered by other disciplines that could be cross-listed with your own. In some cases, the course is offered as a “special topics” or “directed reading course.”back to top

Q. I will have to submit a detailed proposal to the curriculum committee to get the course approved. Can I get a syllabus for the course?

A. Because the course is offered in so many ways and by individual faculty members at many colleges, AMS does not provide a syllabus for the course. However, a course schedule and syllabus can easily be constructed from information found on the Textbook info page, the Investigations Manual info page, and by viewing the real-time course delivery schedule.back to top

Q. Is the course suitable to be offered as a lab science course?

A. To offer AMS Weather Studies as a lab science course, you will need to obtain an institutional license. We strongly recommend that you have your students use the complete course package, which includes the Textbook and Investigations Manual withRealTime Weather Portal (course website) access. The twice weekly investigations (found in the Investigations Manual and RealTime Weather Portal) are considered by many to be ideal lab exercises with a mix of hands-on exploration, data manipulation and analysis, as well as map and graph work. These investigations are similar to activites found in many typical lab manuals, except that in the case of AMS Weather Studies, they are based on current and/or real-world weather situations. Offering the course with additional semester hour credit adds value because there are no additional licensing fees or book costs.back to top

Q. What is the major advantage to incorporating the real-time aspects of the course (in addition to using the Textbook and Investigations Manual)?

A. The real-time aspect has been proven to heighten student interest and extends learning because other weather variables may be considered along with the specific topic of the lesson. A Weather Summary is available each weekday when the course is offered and a variety of real-time weather data, maps, radar and satellite images as well as forecast products are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from the RealTime Weather Portal. In lab settings, the real-time analysis offers the ability to fashion additional exercises around current weather data that connect to the daily summary and the weekly investigations.back to top

Faculty Background

Q. What kind of background does the instructor need to offer the course?

A. Specific qualifications needed for offering AMS Weather Studies will depend on local course requirements and the departmental and curricular policies in effect at your institution. AMS Weather Studies can be offered by instructors with a broad range of backgrounds. The course's turnkey package design and accompanying faculty manual (included in the Faculty Resource material) allow AMS Weather Studies to be successfully implemented by instructors new to teaching meteorology. The course can be offered in a variety of departments including: meteorology, mathematics and physical science, physics, biology, geography, and earth science. In some cases, the course will be offered as part of a career degree program, for example, in teacher education, geotechnologies, aviation, conservation, and natural resources.back to top

Q. If I do not have a lot of formal training in atmospheric science, will I feel comfortable offering the course?

A. The course materials are presented in such a way that an instructor in most science and/or mathematics departments should have no difficulty offering the course. The AMS Weather Studies complete Course Package includes everything needed for your success. While one might wish to add supplementary materials in some situations, the course as packaged is a robust introduction to meteorology. Collegial assistance from AMS professional meteorologists, earth scientists, and educators will be available to faculty members offering the course. A Faculty Website and comprehensive Faculty Resource material (available via dropbox) provide answer keys to exercises, a large test-question bank, and suggestions for offering the course in various ways.back to top

Q. How much mathematics is needed for the course?

A. While atmospheric science is a quantitative science, this introductory course does not require extensive mathematics preparation beyond basic algebra. Instructors who would like to expose students to mathematical applications of meteorology are invited to incorporate the optional weekly Math Skills Challenge found on the course website.

Q. If I offer this course as a distance education course over the web, how will I give exams and communicate with my students?

A. Making this course a totally online experience for students depends on local institutional needs and technical capabilities. Most institutions have an Office of Information Technology, Distance Education, or Continuing Education department, which provides assistance with these kinds of issues. They may also assist you in developing your own course management website for administering the course. Modern technology allows a wide range of distance education implementations. In most cases, though, the course will successfully be delivered via the accompanying RealTime Weather Portal and the use of phone, fax, or e-mail for communication with students. back to top

Course Management Systems

Q. Can AMS Weather Studies be administered using course management systems such as Blackboard and WebCT?

A. Many colleges offer the course using Blackboard, WebCT, or other course management systems. These systems are used in traditional lecture/laboratory and distance learning offerings. AMS recommends you check with your college administration to see if this is a requirement. For colleges using course management systems, we provide all textbook chapter, Investigations Manual, Current Weather Studies, and test bank questions as files compatible with Respondus, test generation software for which your institution may have a license. Respondus opens formatted files and converts them to various course management system files.back to top

Q. My college requires that I use a course management system and I have no experience with such a program. Where should I go for assistance?

A. First, contact your Office of Information Technology, Distance Education, or Continuing Education. This office will typically help you set up your course management system and website. Please contact AMS if you would like to speak with other AMS Weather Studies faculty members using the same course management system.back to top

Quality and Integrity Issues

Q. This is an innovative delivery method. How successful has it been?

A. AMS Weather Studies has been introduced at over 490 institutions since its national implementation in Fall Semester 1999. This course was rigorously assessed by the Spring Semester 1999 pilot study colleges and assessed again by licensed colleges in Fall Semester 2001. Course instructors have used AMS Weather Studies in a variety of instructional settings (including on-campus lecture/lab and fully online) with great success. back to top

Q. Can we count on the quality and integrity of this course?

A. The course itself bears the seal of a distinguished professional scientific society which has been in existence since 1919. The AMS Education Program has delivered quality educational programs in meteorology, oceanography, and climate science in partnerships with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SUNY College at Brockport, United States Naval Academy, the Office of Naval Research, and the Naval Meteorological and Oceanographic Command. Major funding of many programs, including the initial development of AMS Weather Studies and the Geosciences Diversity Project, has been from the National Science Foundation. Meteorological data is delivered via NOAA's National Weather Service's National Centers for Environmental Prediction. In addition, several national experts in education and meteorology have contributed to the development of the course insuring its scientific integrity.back to top

Textbook Issues

Q. How may I order an evaluation copy of the textbook (and Investigations Manual)?

A. If you are interested in using the Weather Studies Textbook (or Textbook and Investigations Manual) in a current or future course offering, you may request an examination copy.

If you would like to order the book for personal use, please visit the AMS Online Store and select "Weather Studies."

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Q. How will textbooks and other course materials be handled?

A. AMS Weather Studies course materials will be sold by college or local bookstores as an Access Card, which includes directions and a coupon for students to download their material. Institutions licensing the full course typically have their bookstores order the Weather Studies Textbook and Investigations Manual packaged together, but may also purchase these items separately.

Q. What specific information do I need to provide the bookstore?

A. Click here for a PDF file containing detailed course materials information for your bookstore.

Q. How do bookstores place an order?

A. Bookstores should send a purchase order to us by mail, fax or email.

AMS Weather Studies
1200 New York Ave NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005-3928
Fax: 202-737-0445

Bookstores are encouraged to call 202-737-1043 if there are any further questions.back to top

Course Licensing Fee and Costs

Q. How much does it cost to license AMS Weather Studies?

A. The Course License is only $149 and extends from August 15th to August 14th the following year. This is a flat fee and allows the licensee to offer the course in an unlimited number of course sections throughout the year. Visit the License Procedure page for details.

Q. I am a professor who would like to offer the course but I don’t know where I would get the licensing fee? Who pays for the course?

A. The licensing fee has been reduced to enable most departments to cover its cost as a petty cash expenditure. Additionally, you might talk to your Office of Distance or Continuing Education about their potential to offer assistance in providing funding for this course. Also, check with your academic vice president, dean, business or budget office to see if there is a budget category to cover these types of costs. Inquire about how other courses your institution is offering which have license fees manage these cost arrangements.back to top

Q. Can students be assessed a special fee to cover the costs of the course?

A. Covering the cost of the license fees for the course is a local matter that has to be determined by your institution.

Q. Can the course be licensed for use by schools using a quarter system or for an intersession or a summer session?

A. AMS Weather Studies can be offered at any time by using the Textbook and Investigations Manual, which are designed to function together as a complete course. (Colleges offering the course during fall and spring semesters are strongly encouraged to incorporate Current Weather Studies investigations available on the RealTime Weather Portal.) If it is offered at times other than during the real-time offering of the course in fall and spring, the online Daily Weather Summary component will not be available in its complete version. However, the learner will be directed to other real-time weather summaries.back to top

Q. Can one license be used on multiple campuses?

A. Generally, the answer is no. One license covers the course being offered as many times during the licensed period as wanted on the campus that purchased the license. Offering the course through instructors on one campus that has enrollment open to other campuses requires only one license. Offering the course on different campuses through different instructors requires additional licenses. For further clarification, please contact us.

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