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Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA) - Final Evaluation Report & Case Studies


Mark St. John, Michelle Phillips, Inverness Research Inc.


Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA) is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project consisting of six three-way partnerships between the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) and an informal science education institution (ISEI) partnered with an institution of higher education (IHE). Together, educators from the ISEI (often aquaria) and the IHE prepare and implement a course designed and adapted by the Lawrence Hall of Science. This course introduces college students (usually science majors) to inquiry-based pedagogy and learning theory. Together with the ISEI educators, the college students then design and implement activities to teach ocean science concepts to visitors on the ISEI "floor". The long-view goal of the COSIA project is to develop ocean science literacy at all levels and to encourage broad public understanding of science and environmental stewardship.

This report is designed primarily to speak to the funder of this project, the ISE division of NSF; however, we hope that it will also provide helpful information for the designers of other similar initiatives, distilling more general lessons learned about the design and implementation of partnerships like COSIA. Importantly, we would also like this report to inform COSIA leadership and partners, as they move forward with the COSIA Network project. After summarizing our external evaluation activities, this document presents our current findings of COSIA, using research and theory as a way to further explain the salient defining features and to convey what the project has accomplished. We finish this report by presenting Inverness Research's perspective on COSIA as an investment and a network of partnerships.

Accompanying this summative evaluation report are three COSIA case studies, which illuminate and portray the work summarized in this report in a more detailed, context-based manner. We recommend that anyone wishing to get a better sense of how these partnerships operate on the ground read these case studies.

Intended Audience

Museum Educators, Science Educators and Administrators, Reform Leaders and Funders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Date published

June 2010

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.

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Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA): Final Evaluation Report (27 pp)

Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA): Case Studies (52 pp)



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