Engaging New York State Educators for Interactive Online Curriculum Review
Publications: Success Stories - Extension (2022)

From top: The homepage, and educator feedback analytics, developed by NYSG for its new marine debris/plastic pollution educational outreach.


Nate Drag, NYSG Coastal Processes and Hazards Specialist, E: nwd4@cornell.edu, P: 716-645-3612

Kathleen Fallon, NYSG Coastal Processes & Hazards Specialist, E: kmf228@cornell.eduP: 631-632-8730

New York Sea Grant engaged educators and teachers from New York’s Great Lakes and Long Island regions in an interactive review of a new marine debris and plastic pollution curriculum.

Buffalo, NY, August 10, 2022 - Marine debris is an emerging pollution issue in communities and watersheds across New York State, from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean. While a variety of educational resources currently address the ecological impact of marine debris, there is a need for an inter-disciplinary curricula that include physical and social science elements from a local view.  To properly integrate localized perspectives (Great Lakes, Long Island, Hudson River...) into its educational products development, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) routinely gathers the input of NY’s classroom teachers and non-formal educators.

In 2021, NYSG developed a 15-lesson curriculum focused on marine debris and plastic pollution. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the geographic range of New York State preventing in-person curriculum review workshops, NYSG developed an innovative process to gather feedback on its marine debris-plastic pollution curriculum. An online course on a learning management system called Canvas was developed. With this platform, teachers and educators could access the curriculum draft asynchronously at their convenience and provide feedback for analysis. To review each lesson, participants completed a five-question survey to gauge their perceptions and likelihood of usage. Additionally, the surveys gathered suggestions for improvements, appropriate time length, and grade level recommendations.

Ten teachers from Great Lakes and Long Island area schools provided comments and suggestions on all 15 lessons. This feedback was incorporated into revisions to the curriculum and have led to a more robust educational resource. More than 80% of participants stated they enjoyed using the online curriculum review process and would participate in future digital and interactive programs. 

Project Partner:  

• Funding: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

This level of success with an online engagement process will allow New York Sea Grant to efficiently and effectively reach more teachers and educators across the state by combining new digital tools with traditional stakeholder programs.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

New York Sea Grant Home *  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Home

This website was developed with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund, in support of the Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act of 2006. 

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