Microscope Plankton
Plankton Tow

These are the core exploration science courses that are currently offered.  These are required courses for Exploration Science students.   Students make up the remainder of their 30 total credits taking electives aligned with their particular interests.  This is followed by a 3 to 6 month internship.  They complete the Master of Professional Science in Exploration Science in about three academic semesters.  There is an additional non-required course, Exploration Science Field Studies, which is offered in the spring semester.

Citizen and Participatory Science (Fall Semester) – 3 credits

The Citizen and Participatory Science course will focus on preparing students for designing and implementing citizen and participatory science projects aimed at addressing questions and problems around specific environmental issues. As social networks grow, open data comes online and mobile technologies proliferate and advance, the opportunity to tap into eager and interested citizens to collect data for research and documentation purposes is quickly rising. This program will look at the history of citizen science, which is over 100 years old, and will analyze current and past projects. Students will be exposed to how citizen science projects are designed and implemented and how they can be best leveraged to gain useful data for research. Guest lecturers will be invited for virtual and in-person presentations. A key component of the course will be for students to design a citizen science project using best practices. These projects can provide the baseline for launching real projects with organizations interested in applying citizen science to their work. The course will look at both technology driven projects as well as low-tech projects to expose students to the range of work being done in this rapidly evolving area.

Ethics and Risk in Exploration (Fall Semester) – 3 credits

The course is divided into two parts. The first half of the course will be focused on key readings from current literature so students gain an understanding of how exploration has evolved, how goals have changed, and how exploration has historically dealt with cultural issues and ethics. Key explorations that were important to scientific discovery and how ethical decisions and actions were handled will be examined.

With a survey and examination of past explorations, the second part of the course will involve a dissection of risk related activities and the decision making involved in unique environments and circumstances. The overall goal of the course is to prepare students for understanding the risks, decision-making and goals involved in expedition and exploratory fieldwork while also obtaining the historical framework of exploration and how this will influence future field based work.

Exploration Technology and Media (Spring Semester) – 3 credits

This course focuses on introducing students to technologies and media production related to expeditions and exploratory fieldwork. Accurate and reliable documentation and data collection during field exploration is a key to answering questions, solving problems, documenting discovery and developing baseline databases for further work and research. This class will focus on key areas such as documentary video production basics, still imaging, geospatial technologies, data collection and management. The class will give students a solid grounding on emerging mobile technologies related to exploration. Students will learn how to manage collected data and imagery including metadata, storage and organization for future retrieval and use. Students will also be given exposure to emerging platforms for exploration such as the use of low cost remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), balloon and kite mapping/imaging and technology for specialized environments (underwater, caves, night). The course will be divided between lectures, student-led discussions and presentations, guest speakers and applying particular technologies in assigned field projects. The emphasis will be on a well-rounded introduction to the core technologies used in today’s exploratory fieldwork, preparing the students to be effective, efficient, and knowledgeable in the field.

Research Diving (Fall Semester)  – 3 credits

Students take the University’s research diving class that grounds them in best practices for diving in general and science diving in particular.

Exploration Field Studies (Spring Semester) – 3 credits

This course gives students an opportunity to experience and apply field based methods and technologies related to Exploration Science. The primary focus will be on using low cost technologies and media production related to observing, documenting and communicating research and exploration in field base settings.  The field studies are conducted at different possible sites and is designed to be flexible and customized for each particular setting.  This course is a mixture of lecture and field based exercises. Lectures will be given for background, context and explanations followed by hands on exercises in the field.   For the Spring 2016, this course will be based out of the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI), also known as “The Island School” in the Bahamas.   Preparatory and follow up classes are held at the University of Miami.  Past courses have been conducted in the Cayman Islands and the Dominican Republic.