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ERIC Number: EJ1216294
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Virtual Field Experiences in Introductory Geology: Addressing a Capacity Problem, but Finding a Pedagogical One
Dolphin, Glenn; Dutchak, Alex; Karchewski, Brandon; Cooper, Jon
Journal of Geoscience Education, v67 n2 p114-130 2019
Recent literature has demonstrated the importance of fieldwork in geology. However, as resources become scarce, field experiences are often targeted for cuts. This was the case at the University of Calgary when massive enrollments placed a tremendous burden on resources. In courses throughout, field trips and other excursions were eliminated, making it so students do not have any field experiences until their third year. In response, we have developed three virtual field experiences (VFEs) of geologically relevant locations near Calgary. A burgeoning technology, VFEs offer advantages of convenience and versatility when compared to actual field trips. Our VFEs comprise drone-captured images used to form high-resolution 2-D photomosaics and 3-D computer models. We piloted one VFE in an introductory geology course. We wanted to understand how students engaged with the models so that we could make the VFE as effective as possible. Observing student engagement over two iterations allowed us to make changes to the activity. We found that students had difficulties with the VFE's open endedness. They also demonstrated difficulty with the relationship between observations and inferences. This is indicative of a broader issue with how geology (or science in general) is taught. Traditional instruction in geology places great emphasis on the "what" of geology as opposed to the "how." We contend that teaching geology with more emphasis on how geology works will help students develop a better understanding of the relationship between inference and observation, enhancing their fieldwork and their understanding of science.
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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: Canada (Calgary)