What Happens in a Simpson College C&G Class? NASC 102

Oh, the weather outside is frightful … the perfect time to take an online class with Simpson College Continuing & Graduate Programs. NASC 102 Introduction to Meteorology was one of the first classes ever offered online at Simpson. Dr. Paul Castleberry has taught over 25 sections of this popular course since first putting it online in 2011.

Castleberry has taught as an adjunct instructor for Simpson College C&G since 2007, bringing a unique set of skills in atmospheric science and meteorology to the classroom. While one of the goals for the course is for students to gain an understanding of atmospheric processes, it really leads to an enhanced appreciation of our planet. In his online classes, Castleberry creates an environment that encourages all students, including non-science majors, to take an active role in their own learning.


A highlight of Introduction to Meteorology is the semester long Forecasting Exercise. Students are required to make at least 30 weather forecasts during a term, allowing them to apply their newfound knowledge of meteorology in a real world, practical situation. Students are required to analyze different maps, some surface and some atmospheric, and make temperature, wind speed, and precipitation predictions for the next day. At the beginning of the semester, students don’t yet have the skills to accurately forecast, but each week they add layers of understanding about stability, atmospheric moisture, energy and radiation. Castleberry notes that by the end of the semester, most students are forecasting with 90 percent accuracy.

Global Climate Change

Since teaching this course at Simpson, Castleberry has developed several other online classes that delve further into the science and critical issues of our world. Students interested in meteorology can also take courses NASC 190 Extreme Weather and NASC 190 Geological Energy: Global Climate Change. This trio of courses has cross-disciplinary connections. Sociology major Liz Hollinger says, “Since climate change is affected by population and sociology focuses on groups of people, these classes compliment my major by giving me a greater understanding of how climate change can affect the groups I’m studying.”

Just another online class with Simpson College C&G.

(map credit: National Center for Atmospheric Research)