Teaching Introductory Geoscience Courses
This web module is for those who teach introductory earth science courses. Here you will find ideas for designing a new course, spicing up an existing course design, or adding innovative activities or teaching methods.
Designing an Introductory Course
To begin designing an Introductory Geoscience Course, we recommend combing through the general course design and learning goals pages. These help you articulate your course constraints and overarching goals. The following resources can then help you fulfill your teaching goals.
Pedagogical Approaches to Addressing Challenges in Introductory Geology
- Teaching Large Classes: An extensive collection including information on active learning pedagogies for large classrooms as well as assessment techniques and course examples.
- Motivating Students in Introductory Courses: Provides ideas to set a motivational tone and engage your students in the Intro Classroom.
- Course Description collection of introductory-level geoscience courses, spanning a host of geoscience topics. These descriptions include learning goals, syllabi, and supporting information. See how your colleagues organize their Introductory courses.
- Teaching Activities include classroom activities, laboratory exercises, problem sets and more. These are aimed at intro-level audiences. If you use one of these activities, we also encourage you to provide an activity review.
- Read the essays submitted by participants in the 2014 Getting the Most out of Your Intro Courses workshop. Participants were asked to discuss how their introductory courses serve their students, their department, and their institution, specifically considering what features of their courses are targeted at serving those different audiences and needs, and how they know those features are working.
- Get started designing field trips to help your students see geoscience topics first-hand, an excellent way to "hook" introductory students. View activities designed for the field, example field experiences, additional resources, and important information on safety.
- Popular books written mostly by non-geologists reviewing geoscience topics in an accessible manner.
- Misconceptions often held by intro-level students. Prepare yourself to discuss these topics (and be sure to arm your students with facts).
- Getting the Most out of Your Introductory Courses was a virtual workshop held in March of 2014. It focused on the goals and roles of Intro courses for students, departments and institutions as well as the details of instructional design and management.
- 2010: From Passive to Active: Classroom Makeovers that Improve Teaching and Learning A one-day workshop held April 11, 2010 at the North Central and South Central sectional GSA meeting in Branson, MO.
- 2008: Teaching Introductory Geoscience in the 21st Century A follow-up to the July 2008 workshop, held December 14, 2008 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
- 2008: Teaching Introductory Geoscience in the 21st Century Our original workshop, held July 14-17, 2008 at Carleton College in Northfield, MN.