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ERIC Number: EJ1151419
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Engaging Engineering Students in Geoscience through Case Studies and Active Learning
Holley, Elizabeth A.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v65 n3 p240-249 Aug 2017
This study reports on a case study-based curricular intervention designed to help undergraduate engineering students make connections between geoscience and its applications. Teaching through case studies resulted in a measurable and significant improvement in the confidence that students had in their ability to apply geoscience concepts in an engineering context. Before the intervention, students in the Bachelor of Science program in Mining Engineering at Colorado School of Mines struggled to solve problems using geoscience concepts in upper division courses. This motivated faculty to revise the required geoscience courses to better demonstrate how geoscience can be applied to solve engineering problems. There were three elements to the revision: each topic was introduced in an applied context, students gave case study presentations on geoscience in mining, and active learning techniques were employed during lecture sessions. In this paper, teaching materials are presented for a faculty-led case study, associated active learning exercises, and a student case study assignment. Student attitudes toward geoscience were surveyed using a one group pretest-posttest quasiexperimental design. At the beginning of the course, students who had previous encounters with applied geoscience had more positive attitudes toward geoscience (p = 0.05). Comparison of pretest and posttest responses showed significant improvement (p = 0.05) in three areas: students gained exposure to geoscience concepts, had increased confidence that they could provide concrete examples of applied geoscience, and were more willing to convince a friend or colleague that geoscience was important in mining.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A