Urban Students and Urban Issues: Resources for Teaching Geoscience

This site contains a variety of resources for faculty members who teach undergraduate students in urban settings and for faculty interested in integrating urban geoscience issues into their undergraduate courses. You will find links to activities and assignments, internet and computer resources, ideas for creating effective activities and assignments, presentations from the March 2008 workshop on urban students and urban issues, and other useful resources.

Resources for Teaching

Designing Effective Courses

Are you looking for creative ideas for designing or revising a course? Does your course need a little tree-shaking? Check out the Cutting Edge Course Design Tutorial.

Creating Effective Assignments and Activities

On the Cutting Edge has developed an activity review rubric (Microsoft Word 48kB Mar14 08) for evaluating the effectiveness of assignments and activities. This rubric provides a useful framework for revising assignments to promote student learning.

Safety for Off-Campus Trips

Many faculty who teach in urban environments find ways of giving their students experiences outside the classroom. Safety and security issues are as important for these kinds of trips as they are for "van-to-the-outcrop" trips, even if the trip is by subway to a local museum. As part of the resources from one of our other workshops, we have a page on field safety that includes a short rationale for adopting policies to address the issue of the risks inherent in taking students off campus, plus several sample forms for field trip policies and procedures (including one patterned after the OSHA health and safety forms used by consulting firms).

Workshops for Faculty


In March, 2008, we offered a workshop on Urban Students, Urban Issues: Opportunities and Challenges for Teaching Geoscience. The workshop took place in New York at the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment and the American Museum of Natural History. The photo below right shows the happy participants on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

  • You can access all of the workshop presentations from the workshop program web page.
  • The workshop participant list contains direct links to materials submitted to the Cutting Edge collections by workshop participants. 

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