College of Exploration


The ocean is the defining feature of our planet.


As the ocean is the defining feature of our planet, the College of Exploration has worked extensively to build awareness of ocean issues and to promote ocean literacy and marine education for the past 18 years. Below are some of the partners, projects and websites we have worked on.


Ocean Literacy

The ocean education and research communities came together to define and promote ocean literacy over the past 10 years. Ocean literacy means understanding the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean. There are seven principles of ocean literacy, which are main tenets that educators and sciences agreed that everyone should understand about the ocean.

The College of Exploration has supported and encouraged the interactive ocean literacy process for development of the principles and concepts, support and maintenance of the ocean literacy website, and international ocean literacy connections and meetings.

NOAA Teacher at Sea

The mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Teacher at Sea Program is to provide teachers hands-on, real-world research experience working at sea with world-renowned NOAA scientists, thereby giving them unique insight into oceanic and atmospheric research crucial to the nation. The program provides a unique opportunity for kindergarten through college-level teachers to sail aboard NOAA research ships to work under the tutelage of scientists and crew. The College of Exploration develops and supports the teacher training for the Teacher at Sea program and is development the alumni network in regions around the country.

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration

NOAA OER explores the ocean to enhance research, policy and management decisions, to develop new lines of scientific inquiry, and to advise NOAA and the Nation on critical issues. The College of Exploration has worked with NOAA OER to bring latest NOAA scientific research and the excitement of the scientific expeditions to educators and other participants in online workshops.


Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Science and Technology Center on the deep sub seafloor biosphere, with a mission is to explore life beneath the seafloor and make transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inspire people of all ages and origins. The College of Exploration has offered online programs that provide information and engaging materials related to C-DEBI scientific research to educators.

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is a nationally recognized and highly acclaimed high school academic competition that provides a forum for talented students to test their knowledge of the marine sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. The College of Exploration has conducted research for over 13 years about the competition, taking a holistic look at the benefits of the competition. A main focus has been tracking NOSB student participants as they enter colleges and careers to identify the impact of the competition on their life choices.

My Submarine - Ocean Explorer

My Submarine was funded by NOAA OER. This online interactive learning activity for kids introduces young people to the ocean. They can explore and learn about creatures and features, such as shipwrecks, hydrothermal vents, and underwater volcanoes at expedition sites around the world. The content is designed for children to explore but has materials for parents, teachers and older students to download, print and use for book reports and research.

TCOE-Literacy Volunteers of America

A NOAA funded project to help adult non-English speakers simultaneously learn English and ocean and environmental topics.

Critter Cam

The College of Exploration offered an online workshop that featured National Geographic’s Critter Cam, cameras worn by wild animals to show their lives and behaviors and the scientists who work with the program.

Global Heartbeat

Globalheartbeat is a unique project that brings together young people and scientists through a partnering of universities, community colleges, research institutions, schools and aquariums with the purpose of promoting understanding of the connections between ocean health and the health of living organisms. The project involved ecotoxicology researchers and connected them with informal and formal educators around the US and across the Atlantic.

HMS Challenger

The HMS Challenger was considered the world’s first true oceanographic voyage (1872-1876). The College of Exploration offered an online workshop about the expedition and highlighted it as a foundation for future ocean explorations. TCOE also supported digitization of the original Challenger reports as well as creating an animation of the ship as a virtual field trip.

Ocean Science Teaching Videos

Videos that present master teachers in their classrooms as they teach their students using NOAA lesson plans from the NOAA OER curriculum.

Classroom Exploration of the Ocean

A series of online workshops funded by National Geographic and NOAA that featured scientific presenters on a variety of ocean topics for teacher professional development.

Oceans for Life

A National Geographic funded virtual teacher workshop.


With funding from NOAA OER and in partnership with Ocean Technology Foundation and Sciencia Viva in Portugal, TCOE supported educational outreach, professional development of educators, and program evaluation. In addition TCOE supported the development of an ocean exhibit in Sciencia Viva in their Faro, Portugal museum.

Bermuda Atlantic Time Series and Classroom BATS

Educational program with partners Bermuda Biological Station for Research and Florida International University to help educators learn about and use the longest running ocean data time series database in ocean education in their classrooms.

Bonhomme Richard Project

The Ocean Technology Foundation, a nonprofit based in Mystic, CT, is spearheading a search  to find the remains of the Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones’  famous flagship which sunk off the coast of England. The College of Exploration has supported the project by providing video services, project advisory support and technology and communication services.

Dolphin Island

This web site showcases children’s ocean adventure novel by Dr. Ellen Prager.