In Hawaiʻi, we know the importance of understanding the ocean. The ocean brings weather. It provides food. It's where we go to relax! But understanding the ocean isn't just for people living on islands and coastlines. The ocean affects everyone—whether they know it or not—and ocean science has never been more important due to the ocean's key role in climate change.
OCN 201 is a course designed to bring the wide world of oceanography to students from any background. There are no prerequisites. Just bring your curiosity and appreciation for the ocean. You will learn the basics of ocean science across a wide range of topics and find out how amazing—and often strange!—the ocean is.
Oceanography encompasses a wide range of scientific disciplines, all of which are interconnected. The geochemical, physical, and biological characteristics of the ocean all affect each other, which means you can't study one without considering the others. For this reason, we call the field of oceanography interdisciplinary.
In OCN 201, you will learn the basics of each discpline while making connections between the discplines along the way. Most of the topics covered are listed below. In the last module, we bring it all together and explore one of the most interdisciplnary (and most important) aspects of ocean science: climate change.
The OCN 201 instructors worked hard to produce an online class that is convenient, engaging, and challenging. All course content, quizzes, and exams are hosted on Laulima (no textbook needed). The course itself is organized into eight modules, each covering a series of topics with a unifying theme. Complete details can be found in the syllabus.
Most modules span two weeks of the semester. Each module contains the following components.
Video mini-lectures, readings, and quizzes are completed asynchronously at your own pace, but quizzes do have specific due dates to keep you on track.
One synchronous discussion section per module (conducted via Zoom) offers the chance for students to engage with each other over a relevant topic connected to ocean science. These sections are led by course TAs and cover interesting topics such as Polynesian navigation, sea level rise, and ocean garbage patches.
Each module culminates with an exam given via Laulima. Exams are open book and open notes, but you will need to study in order to complete the exam within the allotted time. The final exam is not cumulative and only covers the final module.
All OCN 201 instructors are actively engaged in cutting-edge ocean research. The lead instructor and content developers for each course module are experts in the relevant sub-disciplines of oceanography.
The course is administered by three instructors per semester—one in each of the following areas of expertise: Marine Geology and Geochemistry, Physical Oceanography, and Biologicial Oceanography.
Marine Geology and Geochemistry
Nutrient limitation and trace metal cycles
Ocean mixing and tides
Marine Geology and Geochemistry
Oxygen and carbon cycles
Sea level rise and variability
To learn more about the details of how the class is administered—e.g., exam format, how grades are calculated, etc.—check out the recent syllabus posted below.