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ERIC Number: EJ1164566
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Pitfalls and Successes of Developing an Interdisciplinary Watershed Field Science Course
Pearce, Andrea R.; Bierman, Paul R.; Druschel, Gregory K.; Massey, Christine; Rizzo, Donna M.; Watzin, Mary C.; Wemple, Beverly C.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v58 n3 p145-154 May 2010
At the University of Vermont, an interdisciplinary faculty team developed an introductory watershed science field course. This course honed field skills and catalyzed communication across water-related disciplines without requiring specific prerequisites. Five faculty (geology, engineering, geography, natural resources) taught the four-credit course, highlighting interactions between the hydrosphere, biosphere, and solid Earth. The course, based in the Winooski River watershed, followed the river from its headwaters downstream to its outlet in Lake Champlain focusing on data collection and analysis methods, while exploring threats to this freshwater ecosystem. This course was offered as a summer field course in 2007. Student learning was assessed using weekly summative assignments and final presentations incorporating field data and acquired knowledge. Attitude and knowledge surveys, administered before and after this first year, documented increased self-assessed learning, affinity for the field learning environment, and that the course provided training relevant to various disciplines. The fiscally unsustainable summer model, and course evaluations guided major revisions to the course. The second offering, in 2009, met weekly during spring term to provide students with context before a two-week field component. This field component was held immediately after classes ended to avoid the need to pay faculty summer salaries.
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 - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vermont
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0611544