The paradigm for educating students has shifted in focus toward student centered learning. Faculty members at some Unidata universities are trying to adapt their classroom applications of meteorological data and analysis tools and multimedia technologies to the new paradigm. These efforts have not been well coordinated, and faculty members at many universities who would like to be more involved lack the necessary resources and expertise to participate.
Unidata has expertise developing and supporting meteorological data distribution, analysis and display software; training people to use the software; and fostering communication and collaboration within the meteorological community. The Users Committee recommends that the Unidata Policy Committee consider ways in which Unidata could extend its expertise, to foster and coordinate a national effort to adapt its supported software, plus multimedia instructional technologies, to the new paradigm. This effort should involve UCAR, including COMET, Unidata, and interested universities.
The User Committee recommends that the Policy Committee endorse the UPC strategy for moving WXP to "community-support" status and directing more resources toward enhancing GEMPAK and McIDAS, especially the ease-of-use factors that reduce the effectiveness of these systems in introductory instructional settings.
The Users Committee is pleased with Unidata's efforts to acquire NIDS data. However, concern was expressed about the availability of sofrware to display this data.
In view of the responses to the 1993 Unidata Users Committee Survey which indicate a heavy reliance on OS/2 McIDAS by many Unidata programs, and continuing SSEC developments of OS/2 McIDAS, the Users Committee recommends that UPC support for OS/2 McIDAS be continued and means be devised for providing data to these platforms from the Internet Data Distribution service.
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