Role of Technology in Undergraduate Research in the Geosciences: a rapidly changing landscape

By Meagen Pollock, The College of Wooster
Emerging technologies are entering mainstream use in undergraduate research. The growing abundance of online resources and tools is changing the way that researchers find information, process data, collaborate, and disseminate results. Keeping pace with the rapid development of technology tools can be exciting but also challenging and overwhelming. The purpose of these pages is to highlight effective technologies and encourage advisers to carefully consider how technology can best serve undergraduate research.

Social Media

This module provides an overview of how undergraduate research can be enhanced by social media. The website describes potential applications of the tools, how to get started, tips for using the tools, examples related to the geosciences, and links to more information. This resource also covers the benefits and challenges of using social media, social media etiquette, and fair use and copyright rules.


The Geo-Cyberinfrastructure page explores how to access data portals and geospatial information systems for undergraduate research. This resource provides information on online databases and visualization tools for geospatial data.

Teaching with Technology Collections

SERC includes a wide range of projects that focus on effective strategies for teaching with technology.

Integrating Research and Education

Developed in association with the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) Community Services Center, the Integrating Research and Education module is a collection of resources that use digital library technologies to integrate research and education at the undergraduate level.

Enhancing Your Teaching

The Enhancing Your Teaching Series is part of the On the Cutting Edge Collection that addresses topics and strategies for improving student learning.

  • Teaching Geoscience Online - This module contains resources on the pedagogy, design, and implementation of online courses. It also includes a collection of online teaching activities and example courses.
  • Course Platforms for Teaching Online - A website in the Teaching Geoscience Online collection that describes popular course management systems (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT). This website also includes useful online tools for creating and editing video and audio files.
  • Teaching Geoscience with Visualizations - A collection of teaching activities and references on using visualizations (e.g., diagrams, images, maps, etc.) to engage students.
  • Teaching with Data, Simulations, and Models - A comprehensive resource for using data-rich technology in the classroom. This website includes several links to other SERC resources as well as teaching ideas and online sources.

Early Career Faculty

Part of the On the Cutting Edge Managing Your Career Series, the Early Career Faculty Collection contains strategies for balancing teaching, research, and other demands. This website includes modules on efficient, effective teaching and developing a research program.

  • Making Technology Work for You in Teaching Large Classes - This website contains a useful collection of links that describe teaching with clickers and the internet. It also includes external links to teaching with technology sites that cover copyright and fair use, technology tools, and relevant publications.

Pedagogy in Action

Pedagogy in Action is a portal that helps educators connect theory to practice. The Teaching Methods Library contains research on learning, learning activities, and modules on teaching methods.

Starting Point

The The Starting Point portal has a Teaching Methods Collection focused on teaching introductory-level geoscience.

  • Teaching with GIS - This website provides examples of GIS teaching activities and links to online GIS resources. The same content can also be found in the Pedagogy in Action library.
  • Teaching with Data - This guide to using data in an introductory classroom includes teaching strategies, tips for designing activities, and links to data resources.

Other SERC Pages Related to Technology

  • Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences - The Teaching Quantitative Skills portal gives an overview of the issues involved in teaching quantitative literacy. It also provides a library of teaching examples and resources. It contains a Tools and Data website, which provides a rich set of links for data-processing software and data sources.
  • Using Data in the Classroom - This comprehensive guide to using data in the classroom addresses pedagogic issues, provides links to online data sources, and contains a collection of learning activities. The Data Sources and Tools page provides and extensive list of SERC resources.