Workshop Overview

Note: This workshop has already taken place.

Bowling Green State University Geology Field Camp. Details

This workshop will focus on both the traditional aspects of field instruction that have long been a foundation of geoscience education, and the emerging opportunities to engage field instruction across the geoscience curriculum. We are looking for participants who are actively teaching in the field who can share their experience and examples of field instruction in a variety of instructional settings.

This workshop will be patterned after the very successful "Teaching X" workshops run by On the Cutting Edge since 2003, the most recent of which was Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century (On the Cutting Edge, 2009).

Workshop Goals

The outcomes of this workshop will form a resource base that will be of value to the geoscience community. The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Explore the many traditional and modern methods of field instruction across the geoscience curriculum; we will plan to cover many dimensions of field instruction including practices across the geoscience sub-disciplines, from introductory to advanced courses, and in a variety of learning environments;
  • Provide practical advice and "best practices" in field instruction, including selection of field sites, instructional goals, planning and logistics, funding, use of technology in field instruction, assessments of learning outcomes, field-based research opportunities for students, professional skill development (e.g. 3-D and temporal reasoning), and opportunities for faculty to conduct research on learning in the field;
  • Develop collections of field instructional activities and related resources as models for others to adopt or adapt in their own instructional settings (descriptions of activities, journal articles, sources of field equipment, road logs and field guides...);
  • Establish a network of field instructors to continue workshop activities to further promote field instruction in the geoscience curriculum.

Workshop Format

We will use a variety of formats to explore topics of interest related to field instruction:

  • Pre-workshop; to prepare for the workshop, we will conduct a survey to acquire a "snapshot" of current practices in field instruction; we will also ask participants to contribute to our growing collections of resources that support field instruction;
  • Plenary Sessions; to explore issues of general interest--logistics, funding, safety, curricular issues--a field methods course, field camps, research experiences in lieu of field camp, field work in disciplinary classes? There will also be a poster session to display your current field-based instructional activities.
  • Small Group Break Out Sessions; expert field instructors will be invited to demonstrate a wide variety of instructional methods with opportunities for participants to discuss how they could incorporate these practices into their own field instruction;
  • Local Field Trip; we'll go to the field to a local field site and consider "how would you teach a field unit in this setting"? (A hike up Sacajawea Peak in the Bridger Range, ~ 2 mile hike to the ridge, with a bit of a climb);
  • Optional Day to Participate in Use of Rugged Field Computers (aka "GeoPads"; participants in the Teaching in the Field workshop will have the opportunity to attend this field day which will overlap with the preceding On the Cutting Edge workshop on Using GIS and Remote Sensing to Teach Geoscience in the 21stCentury. (You must apply separately for the GIS/Remote Sensing workshop if you are interested in attending both workshops.
  • Email List: An email list for workshop participants will promote discussion before and after the workshop.


Colleagues selected to participate in the Teaching in the Field workshop are expected to participate in all workshop activities:

  • To prepare for the workshop: help us develop our resource base by contributing references, teaching activities, road logs and field guides to our growing collections of resources; fill out the pre-workshop survey to help us understand what the current status is of Teaching Geoscience in the Field;
  • During the workshop: participate in all workshop sessions; and
  • After the workshop: participate in follow-on activities such as theme sessions at professional society meetings, continue to contribute teaching activities, reviews of activities, and development of other related resources.

All participants must contribute content to the Teaching Geoscience in the Field web module. Your contributions may include: teaching activities, reviews of the teaching activities, "tips and best practices" to various aspects of teaching in the field, road logs or field guides, collections of thematic resources, tutorials, demonstrations, journal articles....By asking everyone to contribute one or a few resources to these teaching collections, the whole geoscience community will benefit greatly from your experience.


Our National Science Foundation grant provides funding for most of the operational costs of this workshop. To be supported by these funds, a participant must be either a US citizen, a permanent resident, or in the employ of a US institution. If you don't meet these requirements and are interested in participating in this workshop at your own expense, please contact the workshop conveners.

Workshop registration fee: The registration fee is $150 and will include most meals but not lodging. The optional day on teaching in the field using GIS will cost $50, which will cover transportation and meals. If you are accepted for both the GIS/RS workshop and the Using GIS and Remote Sensing to Teach Geosciences workshop, the total registration fee (including the overlap day) will be $300.The regional 3-day, post-workshop field trip across the northern Rocky Mountains will be self-supporting in costs; details TBA.

Location and facilities: The workshop will be held at Montana State University located in Bozeman, Montana. The optional day on teaching in the field using GIS will take place in Paradise Valley, followed by a visit to Chico Hot Springs.

Travel, lodging. Participants or their home institutions must cover costs of lodging plus travel to and from the workshop. We will offer a low-cost option to stay in the dorms at MSU. Alternatively, participants may make their own lodging arrangements at a local motel, where we will hold a block of rooms.

Participants must arrive in Bozeman in time for the first workshop event at 5 pm on Friday, August 13. The workshop will be over on Monday evening, August 16, and participants should plan to return travel on Tuesday, August 17. Those who wish to participate in the optional pre-workshop GIS Field day on August 12 should plan to arrive on Wed. August 11. We'll suggest day hikes to areas of local geologic interest for those who participate in the Field GIS day if you're looking for something to do on Friday prior to our opening session that evening. Those taking part in the post-workshop field trip should schedule their departure for August 20.

We will be able to offer small travel stipends to participants from institutions unable to cover travel costs. The deadline for applying for one of these stipends is April 10, 2010

Application and Selection Criteria

Applicants for this workshop must hold a faculty position at a two- or four-year college or university and have responsibility for teaching geoscience in the field. We welcome applications from all academic ranks, institution types, and geographic setting. The workshop is limited to 70 participants, and the final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group representing a wide range of experiences, educational environments, and specialties. Your 'Application' must be made on line by March 20, 2010, and successful applicants will be notified by April 1, 2010.

For More Information

Contact: Dave Mogk, Dept. Earth Sciences, Montana State University.