On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching Introductory Geoscience Courses in the 21st Century
Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Cutting Edge > Introductory Courses > Workshop 08 > Workshop Program

Workshop Program

Note: this workshop has already taken place, but many of the workshop presentations and outcomes are linked from this page.

Monday, July 14, Day 1


6:00 - Reception and dinner

7:00 - Welcome and introductions

7:30 - Keynote talk and discussion - Having an Impact: Teaching Introductory Geoscience with the Future in Mind (PowerPoint 679kB Jul15 08), Barbara Tewksbury, Hamilton College

See the outcome of this discussion: What are the impacts of our introductory courses?


Tuesday July 15, Day 2: Designing at the Course Level


7:15-8:00 am - Breakfast

8:15-8:30 - Preview of the day

8:30-10:00 - Effective ways to frame and focus an introductory course

This will be a plenary session in which each panelist listed below will have 8-10 minutes to talk about how and why his/her course differs from a standard survey course and how it is designed to accommodate the focus. The subsequent table discussions will provide an opportunity for participants to brainstorm other ideas for ways to frame/focus intro courses.

10:30-12:00 - Framing and focusing introductory geoscience courses

These concurrent sessions will expand on the morning plenary session and give different examples of interesting ways of framing and focusing intro courses. The sets are clustered by topic and will repeat. The focus will remain at the course design level, rather than on specific activities. Each session will have a moderator from the morning plenary and will begin with 10-minute presentation by the second person listed below. The remaining half hour will be devoted to a discussion and brainstorming various approaches.

12:00-1:30 - Lunch

1:30-3:00 - Plenary session: Teaching the process of science (PowerPoint 11.7MB Jul15 08), Anne Egger, Stanford University
Anne will introduce what is meant by the "process of science," the research behind the need for explicitly teaching the process of science (including misconceptions), and ways you can do so in your introductory courses. In table discussions, participants will assess their own courses in terms of teaching the process of science, and share ideas about how they might do it better.
Summary of ideas for how to teach the process of science

Baker, Victor R., Geosemiosis. GSA Bulletin, May 1999, v. 111, no. 5, p. 633-645

Chamberlin, T.C., The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses. Originally published in 1890, republished in Science, May 1965, v. 148, p. 754-759

Cleland, Carol E., Historical science, experimental science, and the scientific method. Geology, November 2001, v. 29 no. 11, p. 987-990.

Frodeman, Robert, Geological reasoning: Geology as an interpretive and historical science. GSA Bulletin, August 1995, v. 107, no. 8, p. 960-968

Frodeman, 1996 Envisioning the outcrop. Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 44 no. 4, 417-427.

Frodeman, 2003 Geo-Logic: Breaking Ground Between Philosophy and the Earth Sciences. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.


3:30-5:00 - Working on your own course Form for Action Plan (Microsoft Word 59kB Jul15 08)
This working session will tie the keynote presentation from Monday night with the morning presentations. The purpose will be to have people think about what they might do with their own courses at the course design/overall impact level. Barb Tewksbury will talk for about 5 minutes to give instructions and frame the work section, participants will work solo for 15 minutes, and then tables will talk for about 45 minutes. Participants will then have another 15-20 minutes to work on their own.

5:00-5:15 - End of day wrap-up - What are the key impacts of your course?

6:00-7:00 - Dinner

7:30-9:00 - Poster session at Carleton

This will be an opportunity for participants to showcase methods, demos, projects or other ideas from their own introductory courses. The format for presentations may be a traditional poster, a computer demo, a lab demo, or some combination of those.



Wednesday, July 16, Day 3: Focusing on Activities


7:15-8:00 am - Breakfast

8:15-8:30 - Preview of the day

8:30-10:00 - Designing effective assignments and activities (PowerPoint 651kB Jul16 08), Barbara Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Barb will introduce a rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 18kB Jul16 08) for evaluating the quality of an assignment or activity. Participants will consider strategies for improving the effectiveness of a sample activity in preparation for reviewing each other's activities after the break.

10:30-12:00 - Review of activities
Participants will use a slightly different rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 30kB Jul16 08) to review and provide comments on activities that have been submitted for this workshop and provide feedback to authors.

12:00-1:30 - Lunch

1:30-2:30 - Designing effective assignments and activities I
Each presenter will spend 10 minutes describing their activity, followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Each of the following sessions will repeat at 2:45 with the exception of Field Activities (offered only at 1:30) and Geoscience in the News and Popular Media (offered only at 2:45). Select one session to attend.

Google Earth and GIS

Real World Scenarios and Simulations

Quantitative Skills

Case Studies

Field Activities (session I only)

  • Integrating Field Stream Studies into an Introductory Geology Course, Angela Moore, Guilford College
  • The Amazing GeoRace (PowerPoint 1010kB Jul24 08), Simon Kattenhorn, University of Idaho
  • Putting it all Together: Using Dynamic Digital Maps to Provide a Framework for Field Trips, Chris Condit, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Geoscience in the News and Popular Media (session II only)


2:45-3:45 - Designing effective assignments and activities II

Each presenter will spend 10 minutes describing their activity, followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Session descriptions are above.

3:45-4:00 - End of day summary and wrap up

4:00-6:00 - Work time - for revising activities or courses

6:30-8:00 - Dinner
8:30-9:30 - Optional informal sessions These concurrent sessions will allow for casual discussion and exploration of two topics related to introductory courses.

Thursday, July 17, Day 4: Integrating Content and Methods


7:15-8:00 am - Breakfast

8:15-8:30 - Preview of the day

8:30-10:00 - Plenary: Teaching critical thinking (PowerPoint 892kB Jul17 08) by Mary Walczak, Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry, St. Olaf College

Critical thinking skills are often included as a goal for introductory geoscience courses. In this session we will consider what we mean in specific by critical thinking and most importantly, how we can assess students' progress in developing these skills. We will then turn our attention to strategies for developing these skills in introductory geoscience courses.

10:30-12:00 - Overarching issues in designing our courses: Readings, motivations, misconceptions, and skills

These topical sessions are focused on ideas we will want to consider when designing our courses. These 90-minute sessions will repeat in the afternoon, with one exception - the misconceptions session will be in the morning only and the skills session will be in the afternoon only. Select one topic to attend.

Reading - How do we effectively incorporate textbooks, primary literature, and other readings into our courses? (led by Anne Egger, Stanford University)

Communicating (PowerPoint 2.5MB Jul24 08) - How do we teach our students to effectively communicate (both orally & in writing) what they've learned? (led by Kaatje Kraft, Mesa Community College) (handout (Microsoft Word 89kB Jul24 08))

Assessing (PowerPoint 53kB Jul24 08) - How do we get beyond the final exam and effectively assess what our students are learning? (led by David Steer, The University of Akron) (worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 344kB Jul24 08))

Student motivation and attitude (PowerPoint 673kB Jul24 08) - How do the attitudes our students bring into the classroom affect how they learn, and what can we do about it? (led by Karin Kirk, SERC and Jennifer Wenner, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh)

Misconceptions (morning only)- What misconceptions do students bring to our courses, and how do we address them? (led by Cathy Manduca, SERC and Kent Kirkby, University Of Minnesota)
List of common misconceptions

Skills (afternoon only) - What are the critical skills we want to teach in our introductory courses? (led by Cathy Manduca, SERC and Lisa Lamb, University of St. Thomas)

12:00-1:30 - Lunch

1:30-3:00 - Repeat of most of morning session, with the misconceptions session replaced by the skills session. Session descriptions are above.

3:15-3:45 - Workshop synthesis plenary Upload action plans by 3:45. Use the blank form for action plan (Microsoft Word 59kB Jul15 08)

3:45-4:30 - Synthesis discussion in room-sized groups

4:30-5:30 - Final plenary discussion (see the summary of this final discussion)

6:00-7:00 - Dinner


Friday, July 18: Optional Course Design Workshop


7:15-8:00 am - Breakfast

8:15-10:00 - Introduction and drafts of overarching goals

10:00-10:15 - Break

10:15-12:00 - Refining overarching goals

12:00-1:00 - Lunch

1:00-3:00 Choosing content to achieve overarching goals



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