AboutProjectsEducation & OutreachLessons Learned
sea star image

Welcome to COSEE-NE’s new web page designed to provide ocean science researchers with resources, ideas, inspiration, and tools to become effectively involved in education and outreach.

The content on this page will be updated monthly to continue to provide information on planning education and outreach activities.


Thinking Like an Educator

For many scientists, developing education and outreach (E&O) activities may seem like a foreign concept. In fact, the process that educators use to plan, implement, and evaluate E&O activities is very similar to the process that scientists use in their own endeavors.

In science, a new project often begins with an observation that suggests a question to pursue. Observations in education can come from data collected through audience needs assessments. Learning about your audience before expending resources on a project helps to increase both the likeliness of success and the impact of the activity.

A new scientific idea doesn’t go forward (or get funded!) without a review of the literature. There is also a body of literature related to E&O, including evaluation results and information on effective practices. Remember, most E&O project ideas are not novel! Chances are, someone has already piloted an E&O activity similar to the one you are proposing. It is important to learn from the experiences of others before starting from scratch.

While a scientist develops a hypothesis to frame the question in a way that can be tested, educators start by determining the goal of the project. Without the goal explicitly stated, it won’t be possible to evaluate for success. Once the need and the goal for a particular program have been established, the planning and development process begins.

The actual “experiment” in the realm of E&O is the implementation of the project. As in scientific research, a significant amount of resources, including collaborators with specific skills, are often dedicated to this step.

The data collection and analysis in E&O is done through the process of evaluation. Often a professional evaluator performs this task. Once the project has been evaluated, it is equally important to disseminate the results so that others may learn from the experience.

Exploring ways to fund projects that develop from the current work is a one more parallel that science draws with E&O. For educators, sustainability of the project or activity is an important consideration that should be discussed during the program planning phase.

Keeping these ideas in mind while planning your education and outreach efforts will help to both increase the likelihood of success as well as make the most effective use of your time and money.

Each month, this page will provide more information on each of these areas covered in the article above. For immediate help with any of these areas, consult with an education and outreach expert at your institution.

Tell us what you think!



» Home » About » Projects » Education & Outreach » Lessons Learned
COSEE-NE for Researchers site developed and maintained by:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
193 Oyster Pond Road, MS #2, Woods Hole, MA 02543-1525

WHOI Logo  
design by The Blue Ocean