On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching Petrology in the 21st Century
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Teaching Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

Petrology is an essential component of the undergraduate Geology curriculum because the rock record is the foundation for interpreting Earth history and internal processes. Petrologic concepts help us understand the Earth system, with connections to related fields such as mineralogy, geochemistry, structural geology and geophysics. Petrology also is important for addressing topics of societal interest, including natural hazards, natural resources, and human health issues. The purpose of this website is to promote excellence in teaching petrology as one of the foundational elements of a comprehensive education in the Earth sciences.

Course Design & Pedagogy | Resource Collections | Special Topics | Workshops & Events | Get Involved

Designing an Effective Petrology Course

1. Set goals

Explore example learning goals for Petrology from your colleagues. Learn more about setting effective course goals in the Course Design Tutorial. Browse course descriptions and syllabi to understand the range of petrology courses currently offered.

2. Consider assessment options

Aligning your assessment strategies with the goals of your course is critical. You can learn more about assessing student learning both as part of the Course Design Tutorial and through our module on 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

Petrology courses offer opportunities to develop one or more key skills 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. A selection of pedagogies that lend themselves to skill development are:

Petrology 2003 field trip

Resource Collections

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 resource collections listed below reflect the contributions of faculty members from across the country.

Special Topics

Workshops and Events

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