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INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW OF NOVA CHAUTAUQUA

In 1874, John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller rented a Methodist retreat on the shores of Lake Chautauqua, New York to use as a summer school for Sunday school teachers. Thus was born the Chautauqua Institution, and their vision of Chautauqua quickly became a model of adult education reflecting an interest in the professionalization of teaching and learning. Along with educational offerings, a typical Chautauqua included extramural activities such as concerts and other social events aimed at enhancing the intellectual growth of participants by nurturing a sense of civic involvement and moral self-improvement. The Chautauqua movement quickly spread throughout the United States, becoming especially popular in rural areas where opportunities for secondary or continuing education were limited. "Chautauqua" thus became a synonym for any organized gathering intended to introduce people to great ideas, new ideas, and issues of public concern. In short, "the real Chautauqua ...does not profess to make scholars in a fortnight, nor to give a college course through simple readings for twenty minutes a day. What it does profess to give by its summer schools is an impulse and a lift in the right direction, an introduction to a desired subject, or help to fill in some gaps of knowledge regarding a subject somewhat known. By home reading, not the exactitude and exhaustive knowledge of the scholar, but the broad outlook of a cultured mind may be given, and intellectual faculties may be kept vigorously alive" (E.H. Blichfeldt). Theodore Roosevelt was a champion of the Chautauqua movement, and said that Chautauqua was "typically American, in that it is typical of America at its best".

During summer 2003, the NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics (NOVA) program implemented a pilot program of week-long workshops modeled after the Chautauqua style. NOVA Chautauqua sessions were hosted by the University of Arkansas NOVA team at the Mt. Sequoyah Conference and Retreat Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. During each conference, faculty from community colleges and four-year colleges/universities received training in application of advanced digital technologies to enhance inquiry-based, hands-on learning in the classroom while also participating in organized extracurricular activities promoting the cultural experience of the Ozarks.

The overarching objectives of NOVA Chautauqua were:

1. Initiate and foster development of professional, collaborative relationships among two-year and four-year institution faculty in various regions of the United States to promote systemic change in teaching of science and mathematics;

2. Act as facilitators to assist faculty of two-year and four-year institutions in implementation of the NOVA instructional model in their curricula, and engage NOVA Chautauqua participants in development and application of inquiry-based learning utilizing state-of-the-art digital technologies to access, analyze, and interpret large environmental databases and to create computer animations illustrating complex Earth and Planetary processes;

3. Provide a retreat-like atmosphere to promote a sense of calm, focused learning devoid of day-to-day distractions so faculty could revive their own enthusiasm for learning and inquiry;

4. Revive the Chautauqua tradition of interdisciplinary, multicultural learning by providing time for quiet contemplation of each day's events, opportunities to socialize with NOVA Chautauqua peers, and participate in some of the rich cultural experiences that the Arkansas Ozark region provides.

As part of the learning experience for NOVA Chautauqua attendees, each participant was given hands-on instruction in the use of desktop computing tools to create animations from digital data sources available via the Internet. This CD-ROM contains the learning modules developed by each NOVA Chautauqua participant. While these exercises may not be fully refined, they represent a remarkable output for five days effort, and, indeed the "... impulse and lift in the right direction..." characteristic of the Chautauqua tradition. To discover more about the NOVA Chautauqua experience, use the table below to identify your interests and follow the associated hyperlinks.

To view the animation files contained on this CD-ROM, your computer will need Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher and the DivX 5.0.5 codec. Both applications can be downloaded at no charge by visiting the Microsoft and DivX websites. To learn more about these applications, please visit the NOVA Chautauqua Software Guide.

NOVA Chautauqua Software Guide

Learn more about software used during NOVA Chautauqua.

 

 

NOVA Chautauqua Learning Modules

View learning modules developed by NOVA Chautauqua participants.

 

NOVA Chautauqua Experience

Learn what participants said about NOVA Chautauqua.

 

NOVA Chautauqua Image Gallery

See images from NOVA Chautauqua 2003.

 

 

NOVA Educator Resource Guide

View and download examples of NASA Educator Resources.

 

 

NOVA Acknowledgments

Learn who was responsible for NOVA Chautauqua.

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