The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) is planned by the geoscience education community as a facility that provides: (a) easy access to high-quality educational materials for use by educators and learners at all levels, (b) information, tools and services to maximize the usefulness of the materials provided, and (c) a community center that fosters interaction, collaboration and sharing among Earth science educators and learners.
Building upon a testbed collection and metadata protocols created by the staff of the Geoscience Digital Library, and working in collaboration with the DLESE Project Center (DPC), we propose to undertake four tasks towards building a broad and deep collection of educational resources for Earth system education. First, we will locate existing resources pertaining to Earth system education, and collect them into a broad unreviewed collection. Second, we will associate metadata with each resource, so that it can be found by the DLESE Discovery system. Third we will design and implement a review or "filtering" system to identify the best of the collected resources, which will be placed in a smaller high-quality "reviewed" collection. Finally, we will assess the reviewed and unreviewed collections, to ensure that they are well-balanced and meet the needs of the user community.
This proposal will serve the larger NSDL community by building a deep and broad collection that spans an important domain of science education, and by testing several new developments with potential for use in other NSDL collections. We will be the first independent testbed for metadata procedures and tools developed at the DLESE Project Center. We will design, implement, and test an innovative "community review" system to evaluate resources for pedagogical effectiveness, ease of use for faculty and students, and power to motivate and inspire students. Our proposed community review system uses the power of the Web and the strength of numbers of the NSDL community to classroom test all resources, without the expense of traditional educational evaluation. Finally, we will develop procedures whereby feedback from other elements of DLESE (e.g. the Discovery System, the user communications infrastructure) will enter the Collections Assessment process as input into the definition of the desired collection.