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Ariel Anbar checking out rock samples in boulder

Education through eXploration: Reimagining learning in a digital age

Ariel Anbar, Arizona Statue University biogeochemist

The College of Science and Ecampus present the second speaker, biogeochemist and educator Ariel Anbar, as part of the series, "Innovating Science Online." Through this partnership, faculty learn from educational leaders and innovators around the country who highlight best practices in developing and teaching science courses online.

Ariel Anbar is a President's Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU). He will discuss his large-enrollment online courses "Habitable Worlds" and "Biology Beyond" in a series of workshops and meetings on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The courses are among ASU Online's flagship smart courses and have been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Anbar will share his expertise and research on using emerging technologies such as interactive, adaptive inquiry-driven tutorials, gamification, and Virtual Field Trips (VFT) to build innovative and engaging online science courses. He also will share his vision of how these new technologies provide opportunities to radically shift the traditional paradigm of teaching from instilling "mastery" to giving students instead a flexible set of skills and experiences that enable them to successfully—and independently— navigate the always evolving "unknowns" in any field of knowledge or practice. This approach is centered on questions rather than disciplines.

Anbar and his colleagues develop teaching network platforms through which experiences can be created, deployed, adopted, analyzed, and adapted by far-flung communities of instructors at internet scale.

He will present a free public lecture, "Education Through eXploration: Reimagining Learning in a Digital Age," from 4-5 p.m. in the Learning Innovation Center (LInC) room 200. He will also present two special workshops for science faculty that dive deeper into specifics:

  • A discussion on using third-party providers and developing an online platform from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Kidder 128.
  • A discussion about the effects of online education on student interaction, teaching assistants, and graduate school from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in LInC 268.

Dr. Anbar’s visit to OSU will give science, other STEM faculty, campus leaders and the public the opportunity to learn about:

  • Nurturing students who are problem solvers rather than "fact-regurgitators" and "algorithm-appliers"
  • Designing network platforms that allow for large-enrollment, internet scaling and far-flung communities of instructors and students
  • Engaging students with active learning online
  • Making the most of gamification
  • Deploying Virtual Field Trip technology to get your remote students engaged in "hands-on" experiences by means of robotic Gigapan systems, remotely-manipulable cameras, aerial vehicles, and more
  • Building confidence and fluency in cross-disciplinary work
  • Using new online learning platforms such as Smart Sparrow LLC.

Ariel Anbar is a biogeochemist and educator interested in Earth’s past and future as an inhabited world, and the prospects for life beyond. He directed ASU's NASA-funded Astrobiology Program from 2009-15, and oversees the new Center for Education Through eXploration.

Anbar works to develop and apply new analytical methods in elemental and isotope geochemistry to tease information about ancient environments from the geologic record. His research involves chemical and biochemical experiments, quantum chemical modeling, and geological fieldwork. Anbar has also studied the atmospheric chemistry of present-day Earth and Mars, the bombardment history of the early Earth, and the use of metal stable isotopes in biomedicine. He teaches courses in environmental chemistry and isotope biogeochemistry.

Anbar is a graduate of Harvard and Caltech, and was on the faculty of the University of Rochester before moving to ASU in 2004. The author or co-author of more than 100 refereed papers, Anbar is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, which awarded him the Donath Medal, and a Fellow of both the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry.

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