It was back in 1998 that I began my interest in online education. It was my department chair, Dr. Larry Jon Friesen, who proposed to collaborate with me to create a fully online course out of the Natural History course I had been teaching for years. The synergy between the two of us was fantastic and in less than a year we had created web pages for the entire content of this 4 unit college science course as well as a Field Guide containing 14 self-guided field trips that were the laboratory component of this course. This course (Biology 120 online, Internet Natural History) has been incredibly successful each semester. Dr. Friesen created the web templates and was the web master for this course. As I fine-tuned the challenges and rewards of teaching online I became interested in creating the web pages myself.
Online courses are a wonderful new way to present information. They are not for all students but for the highly motivated and organized student who is self-disciplined, this type of course is a wonderful opportunity. Online education allows the students to plan their own time. Lecture information, presented online, can be viewed any day or time and in the privacy of one's home (if one owns a home computer that is online).
In 2000 I started preparing online materials for my traditional Biological Oceanography (Biology 124) and Marine Biology (Biology 125) courses. I took several web development classes at Santa Barbara City College, offered through our Staff Resource Center by Liz Auchincloss (html teacher extraordinaire) and Dr. Friesen was always available to help me with questions.
In 2002 I was asked to create a new class for Santa Barbara City College to take advantage of telecourse materials that the college was considering adopting. One of the telecourses was entitled The Endless Voyage and was just being developed. It was an updated version of the 20 year old Oceanus course (TV course) that had been highly successful but was outdated. The Endless Voyage is a series of 26, half hour videos and was scheduled for completion in fall of 2003. The preview materials of the course looked great. I developed a new course proposal for a 3 unit, lecture only, marine science course entitled Marine Science, Biology 142, which was to be presented online. To do this I would need to prepare an additional 41 hours of online materials (mostly content but including some exams and quizes) to go along with the 13 hours of video presentations. I had a start with some of the materials I had prepared for online presentation during the preceding two years (materials on Antarctica, gray whales, killer whales, and California tidepools) and proposed a number of new online presentations (El Nino, Hawaii, coral reefs, salmon, marine turtles, elephant seals, abalone, and the arctic) that would compliment the videos and textbook. The videos and textbook tend to be quite physically oriented (traditional 'oceanography') and I wanted to present a course with more of a biological slant. When the curriculum committee approved the course my work began. The course was ready for the 2003/2004 school year.
In 2004 our college decided it could no longer pay for the video rights to The Endless Voyage. We faced some financial uncertainties as was the case in most of California. We decided not to renew our contract for The Endless Voyage starting fall semester 2004. I then had another big project for summer 2004 - creating the online lessons for the material that was covered in the video presentations. Again, I found it thrilling and challenging to create these teaching materials. Starting in fall 2004 the Biology 142, Marine Science, course was a fully-online course without any video component.
Thanks to Dr. Friesen, my friend, inspiration, and online colleague, for his ideas, constant encouragement and support and his development of the title bar and home page image (yes, that wonderful wave) to give my course an exciting and pleasing appearance. Without his help I would not have been able to complete this tremendous job. He also helped me contract two wonderful artists (Alexa Birk and Rebecca Robinson) who created several diagrams and art images that I needed to fill in some of the presentations. Thanks goes to Kathy Gregory, SBCC Teachers Aid, for spending much of her summer work time reading over my course web pages and giving me wonderful suggestions as well as finding those pesky typos that creep into written work somehow. Also thanks to Janet Govean and Ruth Gordon, two of my most outstanding students, for providing another set of eyes to review the course. Finally, a big thanks to my husband, Shane, for his constant support, positive feedback and encouragement as well as listening to my endless chatter about each new lesson I was preparing. This project has been a delight and will be something I will continue to work on for many years.
I have had the opportunity to travel to many places of marine interest, all over the world, during my career and take many photographs. My husband is also a marine biologist and we both enjoy scuba diving and photography. With many friends, all over the world, in marine biology positions, we have had incredible travel opportunities that included our two children as they were growing up. I have used these images in my teaching for 30 years now, mostly as slide presentations. More recently I have been taking digital images. I fully believe that 'a picture is worth 1,000 words.' The development of this online course was a way for me to use many of the new digital images I have been taking as well as slide scans from past travels for use online. Some of the images in the course have pictures of myself, my husband, our daughter and our son. Marine science has been a family affair with our family and this course was an incredible opportunity to format many of these marine adventures into something that could be shared with many people (not just the students listening to my lectures).
By fall 2007 I had completed more online lessons than could be used in a one semester class. In fact, the online content covered everything the printed textbook had as well as course lecture material. The fall semester of 2007 marked the beginning of Marine Science as a fully online, stand-alone, beginning college class with all content (lecture and textbook) available within the online presentation. A course booklet (ISBN 978-1-4243-4227-3, available only through the SBCC bookstore) is required for registered students with the assignments, and sample questions for each of the 24 lessons.
Starting in fall 2009 I fully retired from teaching and Hisaya Fukui took over the Bio 142 course as the intructor. We hope you enjoy your marine science course and this unique opportunity to receive all of your course content online. We are always open to suggestions, comments about material that may not be clear, as well as compliments (of course).
Genevieve (Genny) Anderson
(Revised 29 July 2009)