Workshop Overview

January 12-16, 2015

This workshop will facilitate discussion, exchange of information, and sharing of resource to enhance the use of educational technologies in geoscience courses. These techniques have broad application – including both online and face-to-face formats - and can be used in large service classes as well as specialized major courses. Our focus will be on how to implement education technology to efficiently include best practices in our teaching. You may be interested in a specific technique, or wish to explore new approaches – the workshop will be designed around the needs of the participants. Examples of education technologies that may be covered include:

  • Using peer grading systems to enable essay assignments
  • Best practices in incorporating pre-lecture videos and multimedia
  • Promoting active learning in large lecture classes with audience response systems
  • Effectively designing "blended" or "flipped" courses
  • Incorporating peer to peer instruction online with live chat
  • Using question response data to find out what students are missing
  • Taking advantage of online resources, such as MOOCs
  • Tools for successfully changing the way your department teaches

The workshop will include a series of web-based synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including presentations from expert practitioners of learning, panel discussions, on-line chat sessions, and time for guided individual and small group work. A primary focus of the workshop will be the development of course components and teaching materials specifically designed for use in these teaching conditions. These materials will be published on the website for use by other faculty.

Workshop Goals

This workshop will help participants enhance their teaching by:

  • Synthesizing the principles of effective pedagogy in applying e-learning technology.
  • Providing examples of the successful incorporation of technology in geoscience courses, activities and projects, and practical advice about "what works."
  • Providing participants with the opportunity to refine their own use of e-learning technology.
  • Providing an opportunity to work with colleagues in developing web-based collections of examples and best practices for using technology in teaching.
  • Supporting a community of scholars interested in continued work on e-learning in the geoscience curriculum.


This workshop will take place January 12-16, 2015. This is an online workshop and there is no face-to-face component. The workshop will consist of both synchronous and asynchronous components over the two-week period. We anticipate that in total, the workshop will require 3-4 hours of your time each of the 5 scheduled days and that you will want to set aside some time on the weekend to work on your activity. Your focused attention will be appreciated by all.

View the Workshop Program »


Important outcomes of this workshop are to support participants in creating successful geoscience courses and course components, and to create a series of examples and best practices that will be published on the web site. In order to accomplish this, participants are expected to prepare in the ways listed below.

In advance of the workshop, all participants will submit a short essay on one of the following themes:

  1. Describe a challenge you face in the application of a technology in one of your courses. This could be described in terms of a broad issue (such as increasing student engagement in a large lecture course, or encouraging participation in online discussions) or the introduction of a specific technology or technique (such as "flipping" a class, or introducing peer graded assessments).
  2. What is your philosophy about the incorporation of learning technologies in the classroom? You might wish to describe the opportunities that you focus on when you think about these teaching methods - or your concerns. Does your philosophy match that of your colleagues? You might also like to consider what constitutes "success" in the use of learning technology; how do we know if the use of technology has been beneficial?

During the workshop:

  1. Improve or enhance the teaching materials that you submitted, based on knowledge, insight and advice you receive during the workshop, or participate in a group writing project.
  2. Participate in as many synchronous sessions as possible, post in each of the discussion threads, and review video files of sessions you were not able to attend.

Online workshops have many advantages, especially in your ability to access all of your instructional resources from your home office. However, the downside is that there are also many local distractions. So please be sure to block out times in your calendar for all scheduled workshop activities, just as if you were attending face-to-face meetings at those times. We anticipate that in total, the workshop will require 3-4 hours of your time each of the 5 scheduled days and that you will want to set aside some time on the weekend to work on your activity. Your focused attention will be appreciated by all.


The cost of the workshop is $200 ($150 for NAGT members). Learn more about becoming a member of NAGT (opens in a new window) and how your registration fees are used (opens in a new window).

Departments or regional groups of four or more may register as a group for $500. The group must attend all synchronous sessions together (one phone line) and have a designated leader who will manage your group's participation, small group interactions, and serve as a point person for the workshop. To offer this reduced fee, the designated leader must agree to assume significant management and group leadership responsibilities both before and during the workshop. Please note that each group member must fill out the application individually. If your group is accepted, only the group leader will fill out the registration form and provide payment.

Application and Selection Criteria

Applications must be submitted by November 17th, 2014. The workshop size is not limited – we will scale the event to match the number of participants. If you hold a teaching position in geosciences or a related field at a college or university you will automatically be accepted to the workshop. All other applicants will be selected based on the quality of their applications and alignment with workshop goals. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance by December 1st, 2014.

Workshop speakers will be drawn from the participant pool based on their activity or course submissions and their applications.

Several co-leaders will be selected from workshop registrations to serve in a leadership capacity for the workshop based on their expertise with teaching at scale and group facilitation. These co-leaders will be responsible for leading small group work and completing synthesis documents but will pay no registration. You are asked if you would like to be considered for this responsibility on the workshop application. Co-leaders will be selected following the application deadline and notified in early March.


This is a virtual workshop, and you can participate from wherever you have access to the internet. We will be using a combination of Adobe Connect and phone conferencing. You will want access to a computer that has reliable, high-speed internet, as well as a telephone (preferably a land line). We will provide opportunities for you to test your connections and software prior to the first session.

Groups of four or more who are registered as a group, with a group leader, are required to use a single phone line for all synchronous sessions. These groups will need a meeting room equipped with an internet connection, computer with video projection, and a speaker phone. They may be involved in small group activities that involve only participants from their location.

For more detailed information, see the Technology page.

For More Information

Please contact Jonathan Tomkin (tomkin AT