Teaching Environmental Geology
Designing an Effective Environmental Geology Course
1. Set goals
Learn more about setting effective course goals in the Course Design Tutorial. You can
also explore course goals from others' Environmental Geology courses using the
syllabi available in the course collection.
2. Consider assessment options
Aligning your assessment strategies with the goals of your course is an essential part of the design process. You can learn more about assessment in the section about Assessing Student Learning in the Course Design tutorial and through our module on Observing and Assessing Student Learning.
3. Select pedagogies and specific teaching activities
The pedagogic techniques highlighted below can provide inspiration as you consider various approaches that will help you achieve your course goals. The resource collections
are organized to provide a rich set of materials to draw from in
constructing the specific set of learning experiences you want for your
students. Finally, explore the more in-depth information and ideas
available in special topics.
Selected Pedagogical Approaches
Environmental Geology courses offer opportunities to develop one or more key skills and habits of mind that professional geoscientists use. These skills, while having obvious applications in geoscience, are also transferable to many other professions, and generally foster critical thinking skills that are essential to success in many careers. In addition to those listed below, a selection of applicable pedagogies can be found in the Teaching Methods area.
- Environmental Geology in the Field: A number of workshop presenters and participants have shared their
expertise in teaching with and through field work. Here, you
can benefit from their experiences and learn from their presentations
and teaching activities.
Once you've identified the core learning goals for your course, you can use them to focus your search for relevant materials in our resource collections. The materials listed below reflect the contributions of faculty members from across the country.
- Course descriptions including course
learning goals, syllabi, and supporting information.
- Teaching activities including classroom activities, lab exercises, problem sets, and more. Once the review process has run its course, we'll be highlighting a smaller collection of exemplary activities.
- Visualization collections: These pages of visualizations, videos, and images are a rich source of materials for use in the classroom.
- Selected readings recommended for use in teaching Environmental Geology. The collection includes a listing of textbooks recommended by participants in the June 2012 Workshop.
- Additional resources: Useful websites and resources recommended by faculty who teach environmental geology.
- Limits to Growth: The 2012 workshop included a panel session discussion of the book Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows (2004). The book draws on 30+ years of research into overshooting the carrying capacity of Earth and the associated risks for global ecological collapse. This page present resources about the book, other related works by the authors, and documentation of and outcomes from the workshop session.
Workshops and Events
- Hazards Webinar Series: This series of webinars addressed some of the many issues surrounding hazards and teaching about hazards in the geosciences. The 4 webinars in the series addressed climate change risks, natural hazards policy and mitigation, volcanic hazards, and earthquake preparedness education and outreach resources.
- Climate and Energy Webinar Series: The issues of climate and energy are evolving quickly and are constantly in the news, which is why our students find them to be relevant and interesting. On the other hand, keeping ourselves up to date becomes challenging. This monthly series in 2011 explored the science of energy and climate, along with promising teaching approaches for these topics.
- 2012 Workshop - Teaching Environmental Geology: This workshop was held June 3-7, 2012 at the Montana State
University in Bozeman, MT. This workshop brought
together instructors of Environmental Geology to explore ways to
effectively teach this topic in undergraduate Earth science courses. Participants reviewed a collection of
teaching activities, contributed insights on teaching methodology, and developed classroom resources that take advantage of cutting edge technology. See the workshop program to view presentations and materials.
- Contribute Materials: We encourage faculty to share course descriptions and teaching activities to continue to build our collections.
- Join the email list to take part in discussions with colleagues who teach Environmental Geology and to read past discussions.