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Photo Documentation Project Ideas  

Margaret's example of a photo documentation project sparked much interest. Have you tried this? What works or does not work?

If you haven't tried it - are you inclined to add it to your course? How would you do that?


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I have not tried it. I am in the process of developing an online physical geology course for international campuses. I had the thought of using photo documentation when I was first thinking about the international campuses. They go on field trips where they see some amazing geology (like the East African Rift, the Andes Mountains, etc). I was not sure how I was going to approach it. Talking about it earlier has sparked some ideas. I typed a little in the chat box. I am thinking of doing a capstone project toward the end of the semester. Students will take photos of geology they see on their trips. They then have to explain some of the geology background (rock types, geological setting, etc) with the photos. This way, everyone in the class will be able to learn even though they are not in the same place. Some of the campus sites includes Italy, Greece, Australia, Asia, and South America. I like the idea of everyone learning from each other. Besides, I get to add the critical thinking component by having them tell about the geology (with my help of course).


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I'm going to try it in my face to face class this fall. I'm switching universities for my online teaching (I was at a community college and have just accepted a t-t prof. job at a state liberal arts college).

I think I'll make it a requirement midway through the semester. My students are generally gen-ed students (no geology major) and sometimes it takes that long for them to get in the groove of thinking about geology. But if I wait too long we might have a super snowy year and most of the geology that's super easy to see will have a cover of snow.

Thinking about cross-disciplines: my husband teaches history online and I mentioned it to him last night and I think he's going to implement it.


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One thing I'm thinking of is adding a photo-based capstone project to my Hazards and Disasters class. This is totally off the top of my head, but I'm thinking I'd have them take a picture of a building of their choice (their own home, another home, a larger building, etc.) and then photograph and analyze the hazards that could potentially affect the building. Maybe the building could be flooded by a nearby stream, or perhaps it's built on an unstable hillside, or maybe there's an expansive soils problem. Then they could propose ways to mitigate the hazard.

Another thought is that they could take photos of a certain type of engineered structure (dams, jetties, retaining walls, etc.) in different situations and analyze why the structure was needed there, and what positive and negative effects the structure has.

Still thinking this one through, and also thinking of how much writing would need to be done.


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