GEOL202 Mineralogy/Crystal Chemistry
Selby Cull, Bryn Mawr College
This is the first course in the sequence for geology majors, and one that students often find onerous. It involves considerable memorization and skill-building, for students must learn to identify scores of mineral specimens in the field and under a microscope. To improve retention, Selby has created two sets of Moodle-based activities her students do constantly. First in weekly labs, students are given trays of materials to identify, but unlike traditional labs, they enter their identifications into Moodle and get immediate feedback on them. At home students practice visual identification three times a week using Moodle quizzes with thousands of images of specimens that Selby has taken, including photographs taken in thin section through a microscope. In both cases, these quizzes include not only the new specimens students are studying but also specimens they’ve already learned so that students are constantly reviewing, and Selby uses feedback on the quizzes to determine what to spend more time on in class. Selby plans to share these quizzes and the databases of images with other instructors through an open-source license.
Physics & Center for Innovative Pedagogy 108: Geology
Eric Holdener, Kenyon College, Fall 2012/Spring 2013
Geology (PHYS 108), an introductory, non-majors science course, is the only college-level geoscience class Kenyon offers. Geology students are typically non-science majors who usually express some level of passion for rocks, fossils, the physical setting of their home, or perhaps some place they have visited.
A primary goal of the blended approach is to free-up class time for more personal instruction and to cover topics in more depth. Professor Holdener will develop Moodle-based activities similar to those employed by Professor Selby Cull in her Mineralogy/Crystal Chemistry course. A first priority is the development of laboratory exercises with real-time feedback for students as they make their identifications and answer the given questions. He will also offer out-of-class Moodle quizzes (as did Prof. Cull) using images of specimens taken with his own microscopes/cameras. He will provide large-scale digital images of hand specimens with a document scanner. Other possibilities for computer-based resources to incorporate into Moodle quizzes are Google Earth exercises, which he has bundled the text with a workbook of such exercises. Hundreds of online publications, maps, and educational resources provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey are available to students. Finally, with Professor Holdener’s GIS experience, he can create his own layered interactive maps for pedagogical use.
Geography 120: Fundamentals of GIS
Jeff Howarth, Middlebury College, Spring 2013
GEOG 0110, Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems, is offered in both the fall and spring semesters. This course introduces fundamental concepts and methods of geographic information systems (GIS): the computer systems for processing location-based data. Through a sequence of applied problems, students will practice how to conceive, gather, manage, analyze, and visualize geographic datasets. This is a required course for Geography majors and Environmental Studies majors in the college.
Idealy, extraneous cognitive load, including split attention and redundancy, will be reduced by a good integration of lecture and lab experience. He also hopes to create new interactive learning activities during in the class. The blended learning portion of the course will increase the number of students that can take the course while improving students’ learning experience. Beyond the GIS software platforms, such as QGIS, Idrisi and ArcGIS, Camtasia Studio, Professor Howarth will also to use Final Cut Pro and a Cintio interactive pen display. He will explore more options for the assessments as the course is conducted, such as quizzes following tutorials.