Initial Publication Date: August 14, 2020

Learning outcomes

Designing effective curricular materials starts by defining what students should know and be able to do: the learning outcomes. Ideally, the same learning outcomes could be achieved with both in-person and online field experiences, an approach that opens opportunities for creating more inclusive learning experiences. In April of 2020, a group of 32 faculty with field teaching experience at a range of institution types and field camps came together in a two-day workshop and generated the list of learning outcomes that were then used as a foundation for developing online field experiences when traditional, in-person field activities are unsafe or inaccessible.

Learning outcomes for capstone field experiences

By the end of a capstone field experience, whether that experience is online or in-person, students should be able to:

  • Design a field strategy to collect or select data in order to answer a geologic question.
  • Collect accurate and sufficient data on field relationships and record these using disciplinary conventions (field notes, map symbols, etc.).
  • Synthesize geologic data and integrate with core concepts and skills into a cohesive spatial and temporal scientific interpretation.
  • Interpret earth systems and past/current/future processes using multiple lines of spatially distributed evidence.
  • Develop an argument that is consistent with available evidence and uncertainty.
  • Communicate clearly using written, verbal, and/or visual media (e.g., maps, cross-sections, reports) with discipline-specific terminology appropriate to your audience.
  • Work effectively independently and collaboratively (e.g., commitment, reliability, leadership, open for advice, channels of communication, supportive, inclusive).
  • Reflect on personal strengths and challenges (e.g. in study design, safety, time management, independent and collaborative work).
  • Demonstrate behaviors expected of professional geoscientists (e.g., time management, work preparation, collegiality, health and safety, ethics).

Activities that address the learning outcomes

Activities with the Teaching with Online Field Experiences activity collection are tagged with these learning outcomes.

Workshop participants and leaders


Sinan Akciz, California State University-Fullerton
Charly Bank, University of Toronto
Prajukti Bhattacharyya, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Alexandra Davatzes, Temple University
Glenn Dolphin, University of Calgary
Shannon Dulin,University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Gregory Dumond, University of Arkansas
Erika Elswick, Indiana University-Bloomington
Aida Farough, Kansas State University
Annia Fayon, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Carrie Ferraro, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Karen Gran, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Jacob Grosskopf, Arkansas Tech University
Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College
Bernie Housen, Western Washington University
Paul Kelso, Lake Superior State University
Bob Krantz, Fort Lewis College
Mary Leech, San Francisco State University
Laura Lukes, George Mason University
David Malone, Illinois State University
Claire McLeod, Miami University-Oxford
Edward Meyer, Dartmouth College
Rudi Meyer, University of Calgary
Nathan Niemi, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Kari O'Connell, Oregon State University
Sally Potter-McIntyre, Southern Illinois University
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO
Sarah Schanz, Colorado College
John Weber, Grand Valley State University
Andrew Zuza, University of Nevada-Reno


Laura Rademacher, University of the Pacific
Kurt Burmeister, University of the Pacific/California State University-Sacramento

NSF_logo_sm.png The work presented on this website was funded through a National Science Foundation RAPID grant (NSF-EAR 2029920) awarded to Kurt Burmeister, Laura Rademacher, and Katherine Ryker. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.