The OOI represents a ground-breaking approach to ocean science research, with high resolution, long-term observations openly accessible online. The OOI represents a tremendous opportunity for teaching faculty, whether at institutions located at or away from the coast, to incorporate real-time data into their oceanography lessons to help students understand and visualize oceanographic concepts and events. However, as many educators have found, there is often a barrier of entry for educators to integrate OOI data into their curriculum as the data are high-resolution and served in real time with minimal processing and quality control. This requires an initial investment by the educator in order to find, select, quality control, and translate data into usable formats.
While there are a number of challenges, there are also many benefits to using real data, such as data provided by the OOI, in science education. For a good overview of both, check out Using Authentic Data from NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative in Undergraduate Teaching: An Invitation.
Data Nuggets are designed to break down barriers of entry and provide easily accessible, quality-controlled data that can easily be integrated into an existing curriculum. For example, particularly dense datasets have been downsampled and made available as CSV files for easy use in a classroom setting. Our goal is to facilitate the use of data for education and training purposes to engage the next generation of scientific researchers in oceanographic research and the OOI.