04/18/2012 08:36 am ET Updated Apr 18, 2012

Professor Teresa Greely Teaches Marine Biology Class From Middle Of Atlantic Ocean With Skype

This semester, University of Southern Florida Marine Science Professor Teresa Greely teaches in classrooms all over the world from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s all possible through new advances in video conferencing. Greely uses Skype when she speaks to classes at USF and in participating universities in other countries from the expansive research vessel the JOIDES Resolution. The international scientific effort of Greely and her crew transforms what could be an ordinary oceanography lecture into a live Q+A with participants from 15 nations available to chime in whenever necessary.

The JOIDES Resolution is on six-week scientific journey through the Lesser Antilles, exploring the volcanic processes and activity along an area formed by the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Historically, it’s hosted intense seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the occasional tsunami.

The journey is part of the massive Ocean Drilling Program, an international effort funded by the National Science Foundation and 22 nations to study the history of the world’s ocean basins and the earth’s subsea crust. The 10-year program is so extensive some scientists describe it as the ocean’s version of the Hubble Telescope program.

Greely, a marine biologist who heads up notable education and outreach efforts at the College of Marine Science, is the expedition’s education officer – a position which has had her teaching college students, public school teachers and scientific groups around the world about the JOIDES Resolution mission.

“I am here as a scientific educator. My job is to translate the science that is happening on board,” Greely explained to a group of USF Honors College students.

“It is nice to be able to 'see' the students in the class via Skype and hearing their response to the different visuals from the vessel,” Greely said. “This is not your typical classroom and it is wonderful to have USF students experience this at sea learning.”

For more, check out Professor Greely’s blog.



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