This website aims to provide a learning environment for college level students interested in learning about the Earth and how the Earth System works. While it is designed to support three courses offered by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, it is also intended to encourage the creativity of individual faculty who wish to use its resources in other contexts.

This first release emphasizes the use of large data sets in helping students gain understanding of the Earth system through data exploration. In the future we plan to add interactive applications which, when combined with the data sets, will help students develop a conceptual grasp of how various aspects of the Earth system operate. These applications or modules will serve courses at a variety of levels and help students gain an understanding of how matter and energy move through the system producing the present physical environment (Fig. 1).

We welcome comments and suggestions for improving the site. We also welcome contributions from others as we would like this site to grow and improve through the cooperative effort of many scientists. We reserve the right to choose what is added to the site but will give proper credit to those whose material we include. The present site includes complete course material for three courses (The Climate System, The Solid Earth System, and The Life System).

The Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University has conducted evaluations of these three courses in past semesters. We gratefully acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education (award number 9455688) and Columbia University through the office of the Provost.

Updated July 22, 2004
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