Global Learn Day III
Greetings! As someone who has had the good fortune to sail the world ocean by ship, I can enthusiastically register my delight in "surfing" the globe as part of Global Learn Day III. This event truly holds special meaning for me; it unites me with parts of the world that I have not visited in several years. My experiences in these places and the memories they bring capture the essence of what this event is all about: uniting people across the globe to share their stories as human beings on this great Planet Earth.
By sharing our knowledge and experience, not only do we learn about each other's cultures and perspectives, but we also discover the common threads that connect us. I like to tell my students that every one of them is a teacher, that their life stories serve as examples for others. Everyone's life story provides insights into the human experience, teaches us something about the world we live in and stimulates our desire to explore worlds beyond our own.
My story -- the one told on these few pages presented here -- is but one voice among many that could have been heard here today. Yet this voice, my voice, and the story told here, is not my story alone. It has been shaped and welded by the hundreds of thousands of people I have encountered in my 43-year life journey so far. Somewhere in the abyss of my mind, those voices, too, are speaking.
That said, let me welcome you to these pages. For the most part, what you will witness here serves as the foundation for a general education course in oceanography that I teach at Fullerton College. Feel free to browse beyond the links I've chosen above. And if you'd like more information on how to bring this course to your college, by all means, send me an e-mail.
The links on the top left side of this page are a selection of some of my favorite places on the site. They represent a small cross section of the topics we cover in a one semester course, but should give you a good idea of the beauty and breadth that oceanography encompasses. While some of the subject matter may seem advanced, fear not! The study of oceanography, like all good subjects, is a life-long learning process.
The section Education in The Remarkable Ocean World gives you an overview of the multiple learning opportunities that this site and online teaching offer for students. Although teaching is always a work-in-progress, the techniques demonstrated here provide a model from which any online course can be developed. Included here are pearls of wisdom for online students offered by my online students.
In addition to the subject matter links, I invite you to make your contribution to the site by leaving a message in the GLD3 forum. This threaded discussion is moderated by students in my oceanography class. It provides for them an excellent opportunity to hear from "teachers" all over the world.
The next link few links take you to some of the content available on this site. Tales of Oceanography offers an admittedly selective view of the history of oceanography. Some tales I've intentionally omitted and other tales I've intentionally stretched. Such is the fabric from which a non-historian must work. In the three parts presented here, you will find tales of indigenous American peoples, Polynesian explorers, Chinese admirals, Vikings marauders, British conquerors, ruthless pirates, American oceanographers and much more.
The next link, Art and Literature of the Sea, is a selective but growing offering of paintings, poetry and prose created in celebration of the sea. Here you will find paintings from Michelangelo, Monet, Picasso, Rothko, Twombly, Stella and Pollack; written words from Shakespeare, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Chief Seattle, Lewis Thomas, John Steinbeck and Pablo Neruda. And just for fun, I've thrown in a bit of Dr. Seuss and Star Wars. Contributions to this section are most welcome.
The Gaia Hypothesis is one of my favorite topics because its controversial, its implications are mind-boggling and it gets students to thinking. The idea that life controls--or at least influences--our planet has many converts but is there any evidence? You just might be surprised to learn how much control living creatures exert.
Seasons of the Sea encompasses what I consider to be the most important concepts in all oceanography. The idea that all processes in the ocean are interdependent, that physical, chemical, geological and biological processes interact simultaneously throughout the ocean, has become somewhat of a mantra in my classes. But, like Global Learn Day III, the ocean wouldn't be the ocean without interconnections and mutual beneficial cooperation.
I've also provided a brief account of My Travels with Jacques Cousteau, a man who inspired millions. He certainly brought my dreams to life. Though he is no longer with us, the impact of his vision and spirit lives in these pages.
This past summer, I was selected as a NASA Ambassador to the Solar System, part of their expanding volunteer program to inform the public about NASA's missions to outer space. With the discovery of water and oceans on planetary bodies within our solar system, space science becomes particularly relevant to oceanography (isn't everything?!). What's more, on October 10, right after GLD3, the spacecraft Galileo will make its closest flyby ever of Jupiter's moon Io, which is home to the hottest volcanoes in our solar system. Learn more on the NASA Solar System Ambassador Page.
Please feel free to ask any questions or correct any mistakes or erroneous impressions you may find on these pages. And feel free to share your story. There's lots of room here and I would be more than happy to add your contribution to the collection.
Surf long and prosper!