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  1. Alex DeCiccio
  2. Media and Production Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. URI Graduate School of Oceanography Inner Space Center
  1. David Clark
  2. Director
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. David Clark, Inc.
  1. Andrea Gingras
  2. Project Coordinator
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. URI Graduate School of Oceanography
  1. Jessica Kaelblein
  2. Production Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. URI Graduate School of Oceanography Inner Space Center
  1. Brice Loose
  2. Associate Professor of Oceanography
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. URI Graduate School of Oceanography
  1. Holly Morin
  2. Marine Research Associate
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. URI Graduate School of Oceanography Inner Space Center
  1. Mia Otokiak
  2. Junior Technical Advisor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Nunavut Impact Review Board
  1. Gail Scowcroft
  2. Associate Director
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. URI Graduate School of Oceanography Inner Space Center
Presenters’
Choice

Northwest Passage Project

NSF Awards: 1608810

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Graduate, Informal / multi-age

Advancing Reach Through Telepresence Technology (ARTTT)

The Inner Space Center is an internationally recognized facility that broadens the impact of innovative research in ocean exploration.

This video describes the NSF-funded Northwest Passage Project and contains highlights from the project's 2019 research expedition to the Northwest Passage of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago aboard the Swedish Icebreaker Oden. The project brought 18 undergraduate students, six graduate students, and professional communicators together with a team of natural and social scientists into the Arctic's Northwest Passage to conduct multi-disciplinary research, document the participants' experiences, and advance the understanding of this changing Arctic region and the scientific research being conducted there.

The project has documented an innovative, collaborative approach among documentary professionals, ambitious young scientists, and data-driven researchers. This approach provided the public with access to unprecedented areas in real time. Technologically, this project pushed the limits of satellite broadcasting by challenging the status quo. During the 18-day expedition, students and scientists made advancements in cutting-edge research, which was communicated in real time to the project's museum partners' visitors as well as the general public through 50 live interactive broadcasts.

- Inner Space Center

Northwest Passage Project Team

Gail Scowcroft - Principal Investigator, Project Director

Brice Loose - Co-Principal Investigator, Chief Scientist

Dwight Coleman - Co-Principal Investigator

David Clark - Co-Principal Investigator

Andrea Gingras - Project Coordinator

Holly Morin - Expedition Coordinator, Lead Broadcast Host

Christopher Knowlton - Science Coordinator

Alex DeCiccio - Producer

Ryan Campos - Audio Production Lead, Mastering

Derek Sutcliffe - Lead Engineer

Jess Kaelblein - Lead Editor

Benjamin Woods - Editor

Mia Otokiak - Narrator, Inuit Youth, Early Career Scientist

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 4, 2020 | 02:47 p.m.

    Welcome to the discussion about our Northwest Passage Project. The project included an amazing expedition aboard the Swedish Icebreaker Oden. Most of our undergraduate student participants, from five U.S. Minority Serving Institutions, had never been on a research vessel or participated in hands-on research at sea. None of them had been to the Arctic on an icebreaker. These courageous students left home as novices and returned as  student leaders, ready to communicate about their research. Our team has found that these kinds of experiences are one of the best ways to empower students and interest them in STEM careers. We hope you enjoy our video about the expedition. 

  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    President & CEO
    May 4, 2020 | 05:32 p.m.

    Wow, team URI, this is an incredible learning effort. Mobilizing something of this scale must have been quite an effort. How are you identifying outcomes for the learners receiving the programs from the life-feed?

  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 4, 2020 | 08:16 p.m.

    Thank you for your comments and your question, Johnny. This was indeed an amazing multi-disciplinary effort. There were multiple moving parts from planning a full-scale oceanographic research expedition; recruiting, preparing, and engaging a cohort of student participants; designing the technology to broadcast from such high northern latitudes; broadcasting live into museums; and producing a high definition two-hour documentary - all while at sea in the Arctic! Our evaluation team conducted a national baseline study (n=960, mirroring the latest U.S. Census demographic) to determine public understanding of and interest in the changing Arctic region. This greatly helped us In tailoring the public, interactive broadcasts. The evaluation team then conducted exit surveys of the museum visitors and produced a report to help us identify learning outcomes. The evaluators were also able to give us feedback as the broadcasts were occurring, which allowed us to improve them over the course of the expedition. 

     
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    Perrin Teal Sullivan
  • Icon for: David Clark

    David Clark

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 11:28 a.m.

    Hi everyone, and thanks for watching our video.  As a Co-PI and documentary film producer on the project I was impressed by the degree of immersion the students had in a remote Arctic region that few professionals even have the opportunity to visit.  They were engaged 24/7 for 18 days and thrived.  In addition to the many live, interactive broadcasts from the ship we were also able to reach global news outlets during the expedition.  Our team's discovery of micro plastics in the high Arctic and the ship's rescue of a missing acoustic buoy with two year's of whale recordings were two examples.  With our satellite link we were able to supply video of these events and scientist interviews to Reuters News Service who distributed them widely to news outlets.  In addition to an upcoming television broadcast of the documentary, the film will be shown at all of the participating students' colleges, followed by panel discussions with the public and their school peers. The sum of our collective efforts adds up to impressive outreach to diverse audiences. 

  • Icon for: Perrin Chick

    Perrin Chick

    STEM Education Specialist
    May 5, 2020 | 02:01 p.m.

    I have had the Inner Space Center on my personal radar for years. You continue to do such good work. I love how you have integrated communities with researchers through "50 points of contact with your shore-based public" It is these live connections that move people from being passive viewers to passionate and curious participants. I would love to hear some of your behind-the-scenes tips for making those live sessions interactive.

     

  • Icon for: Jessica Kaelblein

    Jessica Kaelblein

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 02:29 p.m.

    Hi Perrin! Thank you for the compliment. Our interactive broadcasts took a lot of coordination between us and the venue facilitators (Alaska Sea Life Center, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Exploratorium). Their ability to promote the programs and physically bring audiences into the room to view the live feeds was so important. What really put the cherry on top was our ability to also receive a return feed on the ship. This allowed us to watch the live program as it was playing. We were able to reference visuals as the audience was seeing them. It also allowed us to look directly at our audiences. Our host and cohosts were able to call on specific individuals and converse with them "face-to-face". This seemed to really surprise and engage our audiences. As you said, it helped them realize they were not just passive viewers, but active participants. We also found it valuable to start the show by engaging the audience in a cheer, followed by a few of their own questions. This initial interactivity starting the show inspired positive energy from the viewers, and encouraged them to interact later on during the Q/A session.

     
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    James Vonesh
  • Icon for: Holly Morin

    Holly Morin

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 02:40 p.m.

    Thank you Perrin for your comments and kind words! To build off what Jessica has included above, as the lead broadcast host for all of the NPP interactions, I just wanted to reinforce the idea of engaging the audience early and often. Kicking things off with an enthusiastic hello, and soliciting a response from the audience was important to do BEFORE significant content delivery began. And then we tried to integrate audience questions throughout the intro and immediately after we came back to camera from pre-produced packages that summarized the science themes for the onboard research.  We really wanted to keep things as conversational as possible between the hosts/co-hosts, and then the ship-based team and shore-based audiences. I think we achieved that during our broadcasts, and that helped make them the success that they were.

     
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    Perrin Chick
  • Icon for: Perrin Chick

    Perrin Chick

    STEM Education Specialist
    May 5, 2020 | 02:52 p.m.

    Holly, It would be great to connect again and continue to talk more about this. Through the ACRES project, we do live virtual professional development. We also use things like a wave, or virtual ice breakers, to create community and focus our efforts on being conversational too. I believe there are many overlaps in our strategies for engagement of remote audiences

  • Icon for: Holly Morin

    Holly Morin

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 09:20 a.m.

    Hi Perrin.  It would be great to chat with you further about things. Let's connect outside of the Showcase and set up a time to talk about the above!

     
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    Andrea Gingras
  • Icon for: Sara Yeo

    Sara Yeo

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 04:29 p.m.

    What a fun way to share an expedition! Thanks for sharing your video. Two questions:

    1. How were groups recruited for public interactions? How were the livestreams publicized?
    2. Do you or the team have any fun stories from the expedition that you could share? And I'm wondering whether these were shared via livestream (these can often humanize scientists and make science more accessible).
     
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    Holly Morin
    Mia Otokiak
  • Icon for: Mia Otokiak

    Mia Otokiak

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 09:16 p.m.

    Hi Sara. Very glad to hear you liked the video! I definitely have a lot of fun stories from the 18 day expedition but I think the most fun was being able to play ping pong (or table tennis) in one of the supply rooms. Being able to play a few games with friends after a hard day of research was always so much fun. And yes! In the couple livestreams I was in I talked about playing ping pong and how fun it was! 

     
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    Sara Yeo
  • Icon for: Holly Morin

    Holly Morin

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 09:48 a.m.

    Many thanks for watching our video, Sara! There were honestly many fun and memorable experiences from the expedition- it truly was an amazing and unique experience to share with such a motivated, intelligent group of students! And yes, we did weave these experiences into our broadcasts, as so many things unfolded in real time, either right before, during, or after an interaction.

    As Expedition Coordinator, there were many memories I have from our journey, that I will honestly keep with me forever. After our full first full day of broadcasts (six interactions in one day, 3 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon, with a quick break for lunch in between), our team was the last group to have the opportunity to visit Beechy Island, where Franklin’s expedition was known to overwinter, and a few of his crew and other folks are buried. The ship held the last helicopter ride for our broadcast team. The weather had been cloudy and cold, all day, but when we flew, the clouds cleared and we had clear skies to see the surrounding, beautiful, Arctic landscape. Then, just outside the island, we noticed a huge pod of beluga whales swimming in the waters just off of Beechy Island- hundreds could be seen in the waters below the helicopter.  It was amazing.  And, as a marine mammal biologist by training, it truly was a special moment for myself (I had to flip my headset microphone up, so that I wouldn’t scream and deafen the pilot and everyone else in the helicopter). Walking along Beechy Island was a surreal experience in itself- so quiet, so stark, yet so beautiful. Sharing that experience with students, and then hearing from historical experts, as well as having our Inuit youth share their perspective on what those grounds meant to them and their communities, only elevated the opportunity. After a successful day of broadcasts, it really was the perfect way to round out that day and something we all talked about during the next day's broadcasts. For one of our students, the Beechy Island visit was a significant experience he highlighted again during our final broadcast of the expedition.  The beluga whale footage and other video taken during this off-ship visit (as well as other experiences during the expedition) was integrated into highlight videos posted to the NPP website (https://northwestpassageproject.org/), integrated as "B-roll" background footage in the broadcasts, reflected upon in student blog posts (also on the website), and then also used in social media posts throughout the expedition.

     

     
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    Sara Yeo
  • Icon for: Andrea Gingras

    Andrea Gingras

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:28 a.m.

    Hi Sara! This was certainly a fun way, for all involved, to share the expedition. Our museum and science center partners (Alaska SeaLife Center, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the Exploratorium) played a major role in recruiting audiences for the live interactions at their venue. Calendar events, postings/signage in the venues, and social media posts brought hundreds of visitors in for the interactions.  

    Social media really played a large role in engaging the public whether through advertising museum and science center live interactions, with the Facebook Live events we hosted, as well as posting updates from the expedition. The Inner Space Center social media platforms were the primary way of sharing information leading up to, throughout, and following the expedition. 

  • Icon for: Sara Yeo

    Sara Yeo

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 02:28 p.m.

    This is great, thank you all for your responses. What a great way to experience science, especially now since we're all staying home!

     
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    Holly Morin
    Andrea Gingras
  • Icon for: Craig Strang

    Craig Strang

    Informal Educator
    May 5, 2020 | 05:23 p.m.

    Really impressive video! Great work. I'm curious to know about your relationships with 1) the students from minority serving institutions, and 2) the Inuit community. How did you engage/involve them, address their particular motivations and priorities? Thanks. Craig

  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 08:21 p.m.

    Hi Craig. It is great to hear from you, and thank you for your comments and questions. 1.) We built a relationship with our five MSI partners through a designated faculty liaison. The five faculty liaisons worked together to offer expanded Arctic-related content in their courses (and at three institutions a new undergraduate course) focused on our project's scientific messages. These courses were used to engage students and helped us to build relationships with the students. We then engaged the students through a seven-part online series to introduce the project, the research themes, and further Arctic science content. These virtual interactions, helped the students to get to know each other, as well as our team members. The students came together for a face-to-face orientation before heading to Greenland where they embarked on the Oden. During the expedition, there was plenty of time for bonding and further engagement. Following the expedition, we have planned on-campus screening events at each MSI of the project's documentary, Frozen Obsession, to be followed by panel discussions with the students and research and film teams. We will also be holding a culminating workshop with the all the participants. In addition to all these activities, the students worked with the science teams to present the results of their experiences at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego. 2.) We had two Inuit representatives as active participants in the project and expedition, one of which has served as our liaison to the Eastern Arctic Inuit communities. Our community liaison paved the way for our participants to visit communities that don't traditionally have visitors. We also had a contingent of community members visit the Oden while it was anchored offshore. Our Inuit participants were able to sensitize our other participants to current Inuit concerns and priorities by sharing stories of the Inuit ways of life, their cultrual history, and their traditional ecological knowledge. This was truly a blessing for all the participants, as well as the project. The Inuit perspective has also been included in the documentary.

     
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    David Clark
  • Icon for: David Clark

    David Clark

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:29 a.m.

    Hi Craig.  To add to Gail's comments, we felt it was important for the students and scientists to visit and engage with a local Inuit community and to involve some Inuit students in our expedition. After all, we were conducting research in their "Nunavut" territory of Canada. We recruited young professional Inuit participants with the help of an educator involved with Ikaarvik, which creates opportunities for Inuit youth to work on research projects.  https://ocean.org/our-work/arctic-connections/i...  One of our Inuit participants, Mia Otokiak reminded me that Inuit are the original Arctic researchers, and have been there for over 1,000 years.

    Especially for the documentary I wanted to put a human face on the changes being experienced in the Arctic and the Inuit are on the front line.  In addition to documenting the science program and student experiences I wanted to include the humanistic perspective of climate change.  Our visit to an Inuit community and interactions there, and having two Inuit participants on the expedition really helped expand everyone's understanding of their culture and their concerns as they confront a changing climate.  We all benefited from this.

  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 5, 2020 | 06:38 p.m.

    Well, first, I love the cameo moment of Mary Miller at the Exploratorium! This project is amazing in so many ways, from the immersion of your student participants to the immersion of the audience "back home." I think you fully achieved your goal of giving people a sense of connection to a place most of us will never visit. I wondered whether your presentations to your audiences made any deliberate connections to their ecosystems -- analogies around change, the connection between melting ice there and SLR here? I'm always curious about mechanisms by which an experience of an extreme example of something far away can be a lens through which to view similar phenemena at a less dramatic scale closer to home.

  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 08:20 p.m.

    Hi Leigh: Thank you for your comments and question. One of our project goals has been to help the museum and science center visitors that participated in the live broadcasts understand that what is happening in the Arctic affects all people around the globe. Our on camera experts did make the connection between climatic warming, melting terrestrial ice, and SLR. They also discussed why it is so important to study the changing Arctic, making it relevant to their own daily lives.

  • Icon for: Brice Loose

    Brice Loose

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 12:26 p.m.

    Hi Leigh:  Indeed, thank you for these kudos and questions.   While we were aboard, we experienced very warm conditions, many degrees above the seasonal average for that time of year. Our visit also coincided with of brushfires on Greenland.  There were so many indicators of unseasonable warmth and drought.   This really drew a stark contrast with students and expeditioner's anticipation and it was a great way for us to emphasize Arctic Amplification - and communicate how the Arctic is like a canary in the climate change coal mine.  

     
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    David Clark
  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 7, 2020 | 03:23 p.m.

    Really interesting stuff, Brice. Thank you. I wished we'd been tuned in. The Gulf of Maine (our home turf) is obviously being hugely impacted by the warming. That's at the heart of the story kids experience in our informal experience. We'll look at what more we can do to make these connections to the Arctic.

     
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    Holly Morin
  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 07:47 p.m.

    How lucky you all are to have had this experience together--these are, indeed, life changing experiences for both those on the excursion and those back in Rhode Island, and all those who were able to connect with you in real time.  Like the exploration of space, the exploration of the Arctic, or Amazon, or Antarctica, or Botswana--have "exploration" in common.  So, bringing scientists into the homes and schools gives students and children a greater understanding of scientific exploration--how great is that!

    Was this a "one off" excursion?  will there be followup work/activity?  what is the capstone required of the students?  will they be invited to co-author scientific papers? and what happens to the team when everyone returns home?

  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 08:24 p.m.

     Hi Nancy: Thank you for your comments and questions. There is follow-up activitiy taking place. Following the expedition, we have planned on-campus screening events at each MSI of the project's documentary, Frozen Obsession, to be followed by panel discussions with the students and research and film teams. The students have a leadership role in these events. We will also be holding a culminating workshop with the all the participants to go over research results and plan next steps. In addition to all these activities, the students worked with the science teams to present the results of their experiences at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego. Data and samples are still being analyzed and many of the students are still actively engaged in this activity. 

  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:31 p.m.

    This is great! thank you.

     
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    Andrea Gingras
  • Icon for: James Vonesh

    James Vonesh

    Researcher
    May 6, 2020 | 01:12 p.m.

    Wonderful project and video. One of the challenges facing field experiences and courses is that because of their nature they are often small group experiences. Often there is a quality versus quantity argument to their justification - e.g., it's true not many get to participate in person, but those who do may have a life-changing experience. This might be true - as a field ecologist I think it is, but it does raise challenges. Who gets access to these experiences? What barriers must be overcome? etc. What I love about this project is the leveraging of students in the field to create STEM content with broad accessibility - kind of having the quality life-changing experiences AND experiences that can impact large numbers of people. Well done!

    This can be hard to do from remote field locations. What technology did you need to pull this off? Do you have data on how many people you reached through your online/broadcasts?

  • Icon for: Jessica Kaelblein

    Jessica Kaelblein

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 04:38 p.m.

    Hi James, love the connections you made. Gail did an excellent job summarizing the challenges of satellite connectivity and the technology we use. I’d like to add to what Gail said and elaborate on our equipment. Marshall cameras were placed all over the ship to provide live feeds of the deck, helipad, and general ship activity. Then our Sony video cameras were used for the broadcasts. I used a DLSR to collect the footage used for B-roll. Our mobile telepresence units (MTUs) are basically a full production facility in a box. A Blackmagic ATEM switcher gave us control over choosing which of the multiple camera feeds we could send to the facility. We have audio mixers for the host microphones, RTS comms rack and belt packs for the on shore director, host, satellite technician and myself (field technician) to communicate during the show. Our director, Alex, could request different cameras, actions, or responses from us in real time. This definitely increased the complexity, but it was crucial to running a smooth and exciting broadcast. Another important piece to help pull off this project was backups. We had back up cameras, mics (wireless and wired), audio mixers, laptops, cabling, even a variety of video conferencing software… this list goes on and on. This was so helpful because we did run into hiccups and equipment malfunctions, but our preparedness allowed us to quickly replace the equipment or change the direction of the show to operate around any errors, while maintaining a relatively seamless program for the audience. We also had our in house studio set up with hosts ready to go incase we lost satellite signal. Each project we do is different, but our ability to creatively solve problems led the effort of connection and accessibility.

    In total we reached approximately 1000 individuals at institutions, and almost 5000 viewers through our Facebook lives.

  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 02:34 p.m.

    Hello James: Thank you for your kind and supportive comments and questions. You hit the nail on the head about the limitations of immersive experiences but the life-changing nature of the experience for those who participate. In designing the program, I wanted to be sure that we engaged undergraduate students who do not traditionally apply for an ocean science REU. I also wanted to be sure we could reach large groups, which could be inspired by seeing diverse faces on camera in real time. One of our more technically savy team members can explain the technology we use, including the mobile telepresence unit (MTU) that we installed on the ship. However, even our Inner Space Center (ISC), a world leader in advanced telepresence technology, had challenges in broadcasting from such a high latitude due to the low angle between Earth and the orbiting satellites. The MTU received the video and audio feed from the cameras we had onboard ship and tranismitted these feeds to a receiving satellite, using the ship's satellite system. The ISC then captured and decoded the signal from the satellite, enhanced it, and then sent it to our partner institutions over the Internet. We had worked with our partner institutions to ensure that their hardware was capable and ready. It is really a dance between all the systems in play to have a seemless, live, interactive broadcast from the field. Another piece of the puzzle was working with the company that provides the ship's satellite service, as they had to provide enough bandwidth to the ship's system during our broadcasts to allow for a good, non-stuttering signal. As I mentioned, our technical team can provide specifics on the hardware and software we use if you'd like that information.  As for how many people we reached, the museum/science center audiences ranged in size from a couple of dozen at Alaska Sea Life Center to approximately 100 per broadcast at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Our Facebook Live events reached more.

  • Icon for: Ivory Toldson

    Ivory Toldson

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 03:03 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing. I recognize the challenge that you may have with informing individuals who will likely never visit the polar arctic the importance of what is going on there. What strategies have you found are successful in communicating this need to broad audiences. What hasn't worked?

  • Icon for: Alex DeCiccio

    Alex DeCiccio

    Lead Presenter
    Media and Production Specialist
    May 6, 2020 | 03:44 p.m.

    Great question Ivory. I’ve worked on projects with varying aspects of connection and sometimes very specific communication goals for a little over 10 years with the Inner Space Center. Plenty of which had elements that worked well but of course non are “perfect.” Although perfection is always an elusive goal!

    In short what doesn’t work is a presentation of pure facts or knowledge. We have found audiences want and thrive in informal settings (even remotely), immediately responsive communications and tying information to personal experiences or stories so the intended message can resonate within the audience. Then the information becomes more relevant for the audience and they now can more easily associate within their own personal experiences.

    We use strategies of documentary and narrative storytelling and science communicaiton methods which we learn from amazing groups around the area. One being the Metcalf Institute. We also intentionally deliver information in categories with varying degrees of of place, storytelling, and emotion to provide at least three points of entry for someone in the audience at hand.

    We want to spend less time convincing and more time connecting with audiences.

    Thanks for a great question!

    - alex

     
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    Ivory Toldson
  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 6, 2020 | 04:07 p.m.

    This is an outstanding project!

    I also had a question related to communication and the importance of connecting with your audience. Do the students receive training as part of the program to help hone their science communication skills?

     
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    Holly Morin
    Alex DeCiccio
  • Icon for: Holly Morin

    Holly Morin

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 04:52 p.m.

    Many thanks for your comment and question, Nicole! Science communication was a key component of the expedition, in the form of not only the interactive broadcasts, but also the blog posts that students were posting to the Northwest Passage Project website. The students did receive some training on best practices with regards to writing blogs, posting to social media, and then how the broadcasts would work, their co-host roles, etc. However, the best training (I feel) came through the actual process of writing the blog posts and conducting the interactive broadcasts. Myself, and other team members, would review blog posts before they were posted, provide comments and iterate with the students when necessary. In a similar fashion, feedback was also provided after each broadcast, so that students could learn, grow, and gain confidence in their roles as co-hosts. Many of the students were also integral members of our field production team, helping with the cameras, lights, reflectors, and more. Thus, they were exposed to the full production process, which was another valuable science communication experience.

     
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    Nicole Freidenfelds
    Alex DeCiccio
  • Icon for: Alex DeCiccio

    Alex DeCiccio

    Lead Presenter
    Media and Production Specialist
    May 6, 2020 | 09:14 p.m.

    Thanks Nicole and well said Holly! I just want to add when scientists - whether early, mid or late career - engage in live and interactive communication activities their skill set of being able to effectively communicate their work is growing and refining in that very action. We on shore also discuss feedback and notes each day with the at sea team. Adapting as we go and working with unpredictable scenarios in the field. Also, live programs present unique opportunities to gather real time feedback from your audience. It is a highly adaptable and flexible approach that rewards a proper plan and a creative team. In the end this benefits the audience you’ve somehow garnered to show up!

    There is some growing research that points to the lack of instructional training in academics for early scientists that is offered by their higher ed institution. This is changing for sure but the lack of communication training while learning to become a professional scientist leads to issues and unnecessary burdens placed on the scientists involved in the project.

    One final point relating to the learning by doing approach - with proper plan and scicomm capacity built beforehand - was also emphasized in the number of programs we conducted. As we say in the video, there were over 50 interactive programs from a rotating group sailing the Northwest Passage to informal science education centers across the U.S. Iterations were constant throughout the 18 day project and really helped hone the skills of the students and ourselves. The feedback from our partner venues was critical as well to meet their audiences, that they see each day, closer to their personal experiences.

     
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  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 7, 2020 | 07:32 a.m.

    Thank you, Alex and Holly, for your thorough responses - much appreciated!

     
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    Andrea Gingras
  • Icon for: David Clark

    David Clark

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 11:04 a.m.

    Hi Sara,

    I'm a bit late but would like to add to Mia and Holly's responses to your question about "fun stories from the NPP expedition". As Holly noted it's a sort of an indescribable feeling to actually be in such a remote, extreme, and stunningly beautiful environment that you know so few people will ever get to experience.  After years of research and planning it is so satisfying to finally "put boots on the tundra" so to speak and experience the place first hand.  

    To add a humanistic and historic perspective to the students' experience in the Arctic we invited a professor of literature who has studied Arctic exploration for decades and written a book about it, to join us.  Her shared insights and knowledge of the history of Arctic exploration greatly enhanced the student's appreciation of the place.  And to me personally it was hugely rewarding that we could enable a scholar to visit this remote region for the first time.  Of course she was blown away by the experience.

    One final story about our Arctic adventure that I wouldn't call fun, but was certainly unique.  Whenever any of our team left the safety of our icebreaker and ventured out on ice, on shore, or in a small boat we always had to be accompanied by what was called a "bear guard".  Polar bears are the apex predators of the Arctic and are dangerous.  Many were spotted from the ship during its travels.  Our Arctic guide always had to fly an aerial survey in the helicopter before we landed on shore or ice to make sure no bears were in the area.  She was armed with a long gun and we always had to stay close to her.  When large groups were ashore the helicopter pilots also stood watch with long guns from a distant perimeter.  Not your normal mode of doing research and shooting a movie but we were happy to have the protection, and there we no incidents.

  • May 7, 2020 | 09:40 p.m.

    What a fantastic opportunity for students.  Thanks for organizing this work.  Is this project research aspects of the program for insights about making STEM more attractive for learners? If so, could you expound on the research your team is conducting?

     
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    Alex DeCiccio
  • Icon for: Alex DeCiccio

    Alex DeCiccio

    Lead Presenter
    Media and Production Specialist
    May 7, 2020 | 09:56 p.m.

    Thanks for the question Michael. For this NSF funded project, there were multiple modes at play from applied science, live and interactive programming, and a feature length documentary. Of course the recruitment and coordination of the student participants was a major part too.  A thread that ran through each aspect of the project was the need to communicate and connect audiences into the important scientific work happening in the Arctic region.

    I'm going to have another member of our team follow up to provide more detail and insight.

    - alex

  • Icon for: Saira Mortier

    Saira Mortier

    Research Program Coordinator
    May 7, 2020 | 10:19 p.m.

    What an incredible way to engage the public! Keep up the amazing work!

     
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    Mia Otokiak

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 10:37 p.m.

    Thank you for the question Michael! Being able to be a student on this expedition where I got to reach audiences all over the world, and conduct research (not only on my home lands and where I was born and raised) but where very little research has been done, was beyond amazing and way more insightful than I could imagine! Participating in the Northwest Passage Project has expanded my love for STEM, as well as my love for passing on the knowledge of STEM to other youth! 

    I am a youth mentor in a program called Ikaarvik and it's a program that wants to show Indigenous youth that they can be involved in science and research in a meaningful way. Ikaarvik has been working with NPP since the beginning and being able to see that the entire NPP crew understood the importance of not only collecting such important STEM data, but also the importance of working with the Inuit community was amazing. 

     
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    Holly Morin
  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 08:53 a.m.

    Good Morning Folks: Thanks to all who have made comments and asked questions about our project. I am wondering if any one who has seen our video has had experience in engaging students, teachers, or the public in real time from the field. What have you found that works, and what challenges have you experienced? Your feedback would be most appreciated.

  • Icon for: Saira Mortier

    Saira Mortier

    Research Program Coordinator
    May 8, 2020 | 01:40 p.m.

    For our project, a citizen (neuro)science game, we've taken a few approaches that have been helpful.

    1. Small, easily digestible lessons from experts that players can stumble across in the appropriate context (for instance, information about axon characteristics near an instance of such).
    2. Expert player-generated guidance comments in-game. Our "power players" can lay down comments along tricky areas to help guide others.
    3. Open communication between scientists, community facilitators, and players via in-game chat.
    4. "Coopetitions" between scientists and players. Everyone works toward a common goal while competing against one another.

    Obviously, some of these are more easily translatable to your context than others. But focusing on that community aspect has been key for us.

     
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    Hester Blum

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 8, 2020 | 11:07 a.m.

    I was honored to join the expedition as a scholar of Arctic literature and history, and it was a transformative experience to visit the regions I have studied for so long, and to bring a humanistic perspective to the expedition's scientific aims. I learned the most from Mia Otokiak and Gibson Porter in talking about Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit or Inuit knowledge; as Mia and Gibson taught us all, Inuit have always been Arctic climate scientists, and continue to contribute to polar science today. I was most blown away by our visit to Beechey Island. In my writing I have sought to counteract the mistaken belief that the Arctic is a barren or forbidding place, hostile to human life. But on the bare shingles of Beechey Island I was struck by how grim that one spit of land was to historical expedition members who died there. It reinforced for me the need to use scientific and humanistic research to tell stories.

     
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  • Small default profile

    Hester Blum

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 8, 2020 | 11:07 a.m.

    I was honored to join the expedition as a scholar of Arctic literature and history, and it was a transformative experience to visit the regions I have studied for so long, and to bring a humanistic perspective to the expedition's scientific aims. I learned the most from Mia Otokiak and Gibson Porter in talking about Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit or Inuit knowledge; as Mia and Gibson taught us all, Inuit have always been Arctic climate scientists, and continue to contribute to polar science today. I was most blown away by our visit to Beechey Island. In my writing I have sought to counteract the mistaken belief that the Arctic is a barren or forbidding place, hostile to human life. But on the bare shingles of Beechey Island I was struck by how grim that one spit of land was to historical expedition members who died there. It reinforced for me the need to use scientific and humanistic research to tell stories.

  • Icon for: Miyoko Chu

    Miyoko Chu

    Senior Director of Communications
    May 9, 2020 | 05:26 p.m.

    Jessica, thanks for sharing the tips above about how to make for an engaging live experience, including the cheer at the beginning and ways to make the audience feel that they've been transported to interact with the scientists. It's really helpful to learn some tips and tricks for creating two-way channels between scientists and their audiences, especially at a time when more and more interactions are by necessity taking place online.

     
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  • Icon for: Andrea Gingras

    Andrea Gingras

    Co-Presenter
    May 9, 2020 | 06:20 p.m.

    Miyoko, yes-- it's definitely a time to learn tips and best practices for online interactions. The biggest take away is to know your audience. We learned a lot from the observations made by our museum and science center partner liaisons. They provided us feedback in real-time about audience retention and engagement that helped us adapt future interactions. One of the biggest comments was to engage the audience early, let them know this is live and an interactive event. Throughout our 25-minute interactions, we asked for questions multiple times (not just at the end) and tried to get a reaction (cheers, etc) to remind them that this was a two-way program. Almost daily check-ins with our partners were key to get this feedback and provide successful interactions. 

     
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  • Icon for: Meena Balgopal

    Meena Balgopal

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 9, 2020 | 06:13 p.m.

    Wonderful video! Thank you for sharing your dynamic project through a dynamic video.

     

     
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    Andrea Gingras
  • Icon for: Holly Morin

    Holly Morin

    Co-Presenter
    May 10, 2020 | 10:34 a.m.

    Thank you, Meena, for taking the time to view our video and for your kind words! It was a multifaceted project, from shore and at sea, that everyone involved with is very proud of. The enthusiasm and energy of our students was SO special and tangible-- it really helped to power the project to the success that it was. Now, it's equally exciting to see that same enthusiasm maintained, post-expedition, and carry these students forward into future STEM endeavors.

  • Icon for: Jessica Kaelblein

    Jessica Kaelblein

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 11:53 a.m.

    Miyoko, thank you so much for your kind words! As Andrea said, it is definitely team effort and a learning process throughout the project. We were confident in our first show design, but by being flexible and open to the feedback, it allowed us to learn and grow and create better shows with each iteration. :)

  • Icon for: David Sittenfeld

    David Sittenfeld

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2020 | 01:01 p.m.

    This video is beautiful and I love the focus on creating an emotional connection to this place that is physically disconnected from many of us on Earth and yet so important for us to understand and protect.  Are there ways that you will plan to engage the public about the science that came out of this as it progresses?  I can imagine you've got a huge fan club around the world now that will be excited to hear when high-profile papers are published, etc, and you could use these as leverage points to start new waves of multi-directional communication.  Or maybe you're already doing this!

     
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    David Clark

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 01:59 p.m.

    Hi David, thanks for your comments and question. To add to Brice, because of URI's Inner Space Center' "telepresence" capability on the ship via satellite, we were able to transmit video clips to our publicist from the Arctic during the expedition, which then were picked up by Reuters News Service and got global attention. Here are two examples.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-...

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-chan...

    I have produced a feature length documentary, "Frozen Obsession" about the expedition that will be broadcast in the coming year and a one-hour version that will be shown at all of the participating colleges where the student participants and scientists will also have a panel discussion after viewing. You are absolutely right that there is an inescapable "emotional connection" when experiencing a place like the Arctic in person. I believe for all of us, not just the students, it was a life changing experience. Documenting the science, the personal experiences of the students and scientists, and stunning beauty of the Arctic will hopefully convey the high stakes consequences of a changing climate and warming Arctic that broad audiences can relate to.

     
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  • Icon for: Brice Loose

    Brice Loose

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 01:13 p.m.

    Hi David,  this is an excellent suggestion and one that we definitely want to pursue.  During the project, we had the help of a publicist to boost visibility of the early project outcomes (including scientific).  Now, we're in the trenches, doing the painstaking lab and data analysis.   These science outcomes will lag behind the peak in NPP's visibility, but we will definitely communicate our results to the community that has coalesced, especially because many in this community are also involved with the data!  

     
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  • Icon for: David Campbelll

    David Campbelll

    Program Director (retired)
    May 11, 2020 | 01:57 p.m.

    So nice to see the outcome of this bold and ambitious project! 

     
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    Holly Morin
  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 03:53 p.m.

    Hi Dave, Thank you for watching our video! This has been a great project, and we are forever grateful for NSF's support. Our program directors, Valentine Kass and Lisa Rom stood by us through all the ship hurdles, and Polar Programs went to bat for us in securing the Oden. Frank Rack in Polar was truly our hero :-) It has been a career highlight of mine to see the impact that the expedition has had on our participants. We will continue to work with them as the science outcomes are produced, despite COVID-19 delaying some of our activities. Our documentary is ready for screening as soon as people can gather again. I hope you are doing well on the ranch! 

     
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    Alex DeCiccio
  • May 12, 2020 | 10:17 a.m.

    This project is amazing. How you brought different groups together and engaged them in authentic science and discussion seems so valuable. While I gather that project is wrapping up, given that the documentary is ready for screening, I am wondering, if they are funded through NSF REU programs do have undergraduate researcher internships, or could you? In our STEM-OPS work that is a key efforts we are developing and finding ways for undergraduate learners to have opportunities to engage in authentic research is so important to develop STEM practitioners and professionals. . 

     
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    Alex DeCiccio
  • Icon for: Andrea Gingras

    Andrea Gingras

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 11:02 a.m.

    Thanks for watching our video and your comments.  We agree that engaging students in authentic scientific research is important and valuable. Although the expedition wrapped up in August, the student participants are still engaged in data processing and analysis and will continue to do so. As you may have learned in the video, the project encompassed four scientific research areas each with graduate student leads. Many of the undergrads are still working (virtually) within their groups looking at data and have presented on their experiences and initial findings. Although not a formal internship, the students are still engaged, learning new scientific techniques and have the graduate students and scientists as mentors. 

  • Icon for: Gail Scowcroft

    Gail Scowcroft

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 11:19 a.m.

    Thank you for your kind comments, Eden. As Andrea mentioned, one of our goals is to keep the undergrads engaged for as long as possible. This is not part of a formal REU program, and we already have an REU at our institution (URI Graduate School of Oceanography). Unquatifiable impacts of the projects include the many unplanned mentoring opportunities that have arisen between project scientists and staff with the students. We have been advising on career pathways, graduate schools, employment opportunities, etc.

  • Icon for: Alex DeCiccio

    Alex DeCiccio

    Lead Presenter
    Media and Production Specialist
    May 12, 2020 | 07:56 p.m.

    From our team to yours, this has been such a worthwhile and valuable experience and we would like to thank the STEM for ALL Showcase community. To be part of multiple discussions was an honor, quite frankly, humbling. Learning about your work has been both inspirational and enlightening. Personally speaking, I feel our world has just expanded by taking part in this showcase. A sincere and BIG thank you!

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