Collaboration Between Two Classes Brings Mutual Benefit


A new initiative at Cal Maritime is creating collaboration between courses to enhance the quality of education for students. The effort is funded through a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant to conduct oceanographic surveys aboard the school's Training Ship Cub — one of Cal Maritime's small training vessels.

The study integrates the Navigation Piloting Lab and the Oceanographic Instruments and Analysis Lab. The combined courses conducted weekly oceanographic surveys of the San Francisco Estuary in the spring. Students from both classes worked together to develop voyage plans and navigate to sampling stations where students deployed newly-acquired, state-of the- art oceanographic sampling instrumentation.

"We believed that the introduction of a real-life mission would improve student engagement by providing added purpose to the class periods," said Dr. Alex Parker, assistant professor of oceanography. "By working side by side, students would gain proficiency in ocean literacy and navigation and vessel operations without being taught those subjects in a formal classroom setting. The data that the students collected has real scientific value during a year of unprecedented rainfall." Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive. "Working with my peers in both fields of study has given me opportunities to teach what I am passionate about, and learn from the expertise of others," said Shaun Teter, a marine transportation student pursuing a minor in marine science.

A paper describing the project has been accepted for presentation to the International Association of Maritime Universities. Authors of the paper are Parker, Maritime Vocational Instructor Tamara Burback, Marine Transportation Professor and Department Chair Steve Browne, Maritime Vocational Lecturer Fred Reiman, and Cal Maritime Cadet Emily Shimada.