Project introduction and background information
Wageningen University is the only university in the Netherlands that offers a course that prepares students for weather forecasting at an operational level at companies and institutes such as MeteoGroup, KNMI and others. To keep this unique position in the field of meteorological education, the course needed to be improved. The role of the weather forecaster is continuously changing, due to developments in society, computer technology and scientific progress. Apart from a forecaster, the meteorologist has also become an interpreter what the forecast implies for the user. Moreover the user groups has become broader and more international (e.g. insurance companies, health agencies, wind energy, etc). This requires new and more various skills and knowledge from students.
Objective and expected outcomes
The proposed innovations aim to 1) introduce advanced meteorological technology, 2) allow for more individual training and different levels, 3) Train the students to tailor and properly communicate a forecast to different types of consumers (i.e. “what does it mean for me as customer”), and 4) skill students in developing meteorological forecasting tools from recent scientific insights.
Results and learnings
- Implementation of new software (Python notebooks) in the course
- Implementation of the aspect of successfully communicating a weather forecast
- Students become more familiar with the scientific knowledge behind a weather forecasting method (scientific approach strengthened)
- Students were stimulated to present special weather phenomena in their home country or their job as junior forecasters at Private weather agencies
- Grading has been made more consistent and transparent using rubrics
- Materials (e.g. weather maps to be analysed) are provided as part of a reader and are handed in by the students electronically. This avoids having to print out the materials at the beginning of the day and having to grade large stacks of paper at the end of the day (see also next point).
- Feedback is given electronically which lowers teacher’s load on correcting assignments, which leaves more time for one-to-one interactions with the students
- Students get in touch and learn how to programme meteorological data in python
Rethink the course from scratch, make a clear structure. Update the tools used to the current state-of-the-art. For more recommendations, please contact Gert-Jan Steeneveld.
A journal publication about the implemented revisions is in preparation at the moment. With the paper that is being written, supplementary material in the form of student works and presentations is being made available.