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Designing an Effective Geophysics Course
1. Set goals
Explore example learning goals for Geophysics courses submitted by fellow faculty members. Learn more about setting effective course goals in the Course Design Tutorial. You can also explore course goals from others' Geophysics courses using the syllabi available in the course collection.
2. Consider assessment options
Aligning your assessment strategies with the goals of your course is an essential part of the design process. You can learn more about assessment in the section about Assessing Student Learning in the Course Design tutorial and through our module on Observing and 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 more in-depth information and ideas available in special topics.
Selected Pedagogical Approaches
Geophysics courses help students build a variety of quantitative skills and critical thinking abilities. In addition to those listed below, a selection of pedagogies that lend themselves to skill development can be found in the Teaching Methods module.
- Teaching Geophysics in the Field: A number of workshop presenters and participants have shared their expertise in teaching geophysics through field work. Here, you can benefit from their experiences by exploring their presentations and teaching activities.
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 materials listed below reflect the contributions of faculty members from across the country.
- Course descriptions, including course learning goals, syllabi, and supporting information.
- Teaching activities, including classroom activities, lab exercises, problem sets, and more.
- Visualization collections: These pages of visualizations, videos, and images are a rich source of materials for use in the classroom. The topics covered include earthquake events, isostasy and gravity, and plate tectonics.
- Additional resources: Browse an array of resources recommended by faculty who teach about geophysics.
- Geophysical Instrument Registry: This is a directory of geophysical instruments available for use on research projects or for student work. You can add your instrument to the registry, or search for instruments.
Workshops and Events
- Seismic Tomography for Teaching and Research - This virtual workshop took a look at the latest advances in seismic tomography.
- 2012 Teaching Structural Geology, Geophysics, and Tectonics Workshop was held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on July 15-19, 2012.
- 2011 Visualizing Seismic Waves for Teaching and Research Workshop - As a part of the 2011 series of workshops, On the Cutting Edge offered a virtual workshop on Visualizing Seismic Waves for Teaching and Research. The workshop consisted of six 2-hour sessions on Wednesday afternoons over the course of February through April, 2011.
- 2010 Understanding the Deep Earth Virtual Workshop - This 2010 virtual workshop focused on the exciting new science that is emerging from the study of the deep earth using a variety of approaches.
- 2010 Teaching Geodesy in the 21st Century Workshop - As a part of the On the Cutting Edge Follow-On Workshop program, a workshop on Teaching Geodesy in the 21st Century was held at the 2010 UNAVCO Science Workshop in Boulder, CO, on March 8, 2010. See the web page for more details.
- 2007 Teaching Geophysics in the 21st Century Workshop - A workshop for teaching geophysics in the 21st Century, was held August 12-15, 2007. The workshop took place at the geologically exciting and scenic location of the University of Michigan's Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station in Jackson, WY.