Sean Cornell

Geography and Earth Science

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

I am an Associate Professor at Shippensburg University and am lucky to live and teach in the Cumberland Valley of south-central Pennsylvania.  I am broadly interested in soft rock geology as well as marine and coastal geoscience.  I teach 11 different courses for non-majors, as well as majors at both the undergraduate and masters levels.  I am particularly interested in ways that teaching and learning can be improved through the use of technology and inquiry-based learning. 

Although, I have ongoing research projects on the Ordovician, I am currently engaged in an NSF-funded CCLI grant to develop and integrate geophysics throughout our undergraduate curriculum.  Together with four colleagues, we have been working to enhance our undergraduate courses using Ground Penetrating Radar, Electrical Resistivity, and Magnetics.  I also teach and carryout research at the Marine Science Consortium, in Wallops Island, Virginia. In this capacity, I am currently collaborating with Dr. Adrienne Oakley (Kutztown University) on shoreline mapping and monitoring on both Assateague and Wallops Islands.  These projects range from shell bed analyses, to water quality monitoring in the coastal bays including Chincoteague Bay, to sediment transport histories and barrier island migration patterns.  In addition to teaching in coastal Virginia, I also take students to the Keys Marine Lab in Florida, and to Curacao in the former Netherlands Antilles where we explore the many linkages between natural history and human history.

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activities (2)

Establishing relevance as a way to motivate introductory students part of Cutting Edge:Online Teaching:Activities for Teaching Online
This assignment ask students to do oral interviews with at least five people and online research on professional geology organizations and their missions. Using these interviews and research, students are to write an editorial statement describing what Geology is, and why it is important to society. The strengths of this assignment are that students have to engage other people in their research and they are introduced to online resources that they can use later on.

Exploring Evidence of Plate Tectonics Using GeoMapApp part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
This activity requires students to explore a range of datasets that help substantiate Plate Tectonic Theory. Students investigate plate tectonic environments (convergent, divergent, transform boundaries), topography/bathymetry of continents and ocean basins, the distribution and pattern of earthquakes, the distribution of volcanoes, as well as ages of the sea-floor, and more. The objectives are to initiate global investigation of major topographic/bathymetric features and their relationship to plate tectonic theory. Another objective is to develop observational skills by requiring students to use simple graphics software to produce high-quality, images and maps that can be annotated and used to build and frame an initial baseline of information for further development and elaboration in later parts of the course.


Introduction to Geology part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Course
The course covers basic concepts in geology and engages students in hands-on, learning activities integrated with lecture and field experiences. Small group lab activities (mineral identification, rock identification, topographic map analysis, plate tectonic exploration, military geology, etc.) are used to engage students in development of observational/descriptive skills, encourage scientific reasoning, and improve inferential and deductive reasoning skills.


Field-experiences in every geoscience class: the key to facilitating developmentally appropriate instruction part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Essays
Field-experiences in every geoscience class: the key to facilitating developmentally appropriate instruction Sean Cornell, Geography and Earth Science, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Whether planning for ...

Events and Communities

InTeGrate Materials Developers

Career Prep '05 Participants

The Role of Departments in Preparing Future Geoscience Professionals Participants

Teaching with MARGINS Data and GeoMapApp Participants

2010 Workshop: Teaching Geoscience Online Participants

ITG Teaching the Methods of Geoscience workshop 2012