AMS Weather, Ocean, and Climate Studies courses are offered as 4-5 credit laboratory courses with 2-3 lectures and 1-2 lab sessions per week. Students are assigned a text chapter before each week's meetings. Lab time is used for discussion of the daily and weekly news, completion of labs in the eInvestigations Manual and/or current Weather, Ocean, or Climate Studies activities, and critical thinking exercises. The instructor grades work in the traditional way or has students enter their responses on a course management system website for automated scoring and instant feedback.
AMS Weather, Ocean, and Climate Studies are each offered as a completely online class that may begin or end any time of the year or may be an open ended self-paced course. For the typical asynchronous class the instructor assigns text readings and Investigations Manual activities, and may use RealTime Portals materials including the Math Skills activities to round out the student's work. Instructors form online collaborative study groups and communicate with students through e-mail, an online discussion board or via chat. Group discussions can focus on the daily and weekly news, as well as the critical thinking exercises. The instructor uses a course management system for overall course organization as well as student response and testing.
Non-traditional students, often in the workforce, are flocking to courses that deliver high quality learning in a variety of new ways that directly meet their needs as busy adult learners. The typical blended course offers most course content online but provides an opportunity for the class to interact in the live classroom several times during the term. This method provides many advantages from secure testing environments to opportunities for group lab activities to the recognized benefit of getting students together, even if only a few times, to meet the instructor and each other and discuss course content. Class meetings are often held on weekends and evenings and may be as many or few as scheduling needs dictate. Some courses make the live meetings optional when a part of new "flex-class" programs. Accelerated degree programs where a cohort of students take a single class over a five week period frequently find this delivery method ideal. It also works well for short "winterim" and summer session programs.
The instructor offers 2-3 weekly large on-campus lectures and students complete textbook readings and end-of-chapter review and critical thinking questions. Testing is done in-class. The instructor may use the RealTime Portals for discussions of the daily/weekly news and current weather maps and data. Math Skills (on the Portal page) may be assigned as homework.