Initial Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Accessible and inclusive: An evolution of universally-designed teaching and learning in geoscience field courses

Christopher Atchison, University of Cincinnati


Regardless of the discipline, field-based coursework places an implicit prerequisite on the physical ability needed to navigate the often rugged, ever-changing and unpredictable, natural environment. As a result, most field-focused disciplines marginalize those who do not fit the traditional model of an able-bodied field practitioner. This marginalization is culturally derived from a social deficit model, where the barrier to inclusive field study lies in the inability of the individual rather than the exclusionary nature of the physical environment and the traditional way in which field courses are taught.

Broadening participation research focused on accessibility in the geosciences is working to remove barriers to participation and catalyze a disciplinary shift toward inclusive practice. Through intentional instructional design and technology integration, students are free to focus on the science and participate in communities of learning void of the social barriers of bias and stereotype. This presentation will discuss an evolution in inclusive geoscience education: how barriers to participation have been identified and addressed through examples of accessible field courses that embody elements of constructive and connective pedagogical strategies.


Innovations in Inclusive Teaching Practices