Teaching Introductory Geoscience Courses

Do you recall your first geoscience course? For many geoscience teachers, it was this first taste of plate tectonics, landforms, fossils or oceanography that suddenly made us realize we had found our calling. We hope that some of today's new students who experience their first earth science courses will become inspired just like we did. Yet some students take a 100-level geology course because it seems to be the least-daunting way through their college's science requirement. Thus, faculty of introductory courses have a big job on their hands, managing a wide range of students, taking them through the basics of earth science, and hopefully imparting some inspiration along the way.

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Designing an Effective Introductory Course

The Earth from space. Image from NASA Visible Earth

1. Set goals

Learn how to set effective course goals from the Course Design Tutorial. This tutorial will help you articulate your course constraints and overarching goals. Browse course descriptions and syllabi to get a sense of how others have taught their Intro classes.

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 the more in-depth information and ideas available in special topics.

Selected Pedagogical Approaches to Addressing Challenges in Introductory Geology

Resource Collections

Special Topics

Workshops and Events

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