Town Hall

Friday 4:30pm-5:30pm UMC Tent
Town Hall


Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
The town hall will allow us to collectively reflect on the lessons we learned as a community at the Rendezvous and address any opportunities we see for collective action or impact.

Notes From Town Hall 2015

  • What were the big take aways from the Rendezvous that we would like to share with our colleagues who couldn't attend?
    • Here are participant reflections that were put forward during the meeting:
      • there is interest in and support for good geoscience teaching
      • systems are useful for everything: cultural, educational, earth
      • good education happens in small group interactions (both for students and faculty)
      • there are online places to go to learn further about teaching: there are lots of ready to go tested materials (these feel more doable after the weeks activities)
      • the Rendezvous helped participants figure out what they are doing right so they can keep doing it
      • implementation details are important, learn from mistakes and from others successes
      • formal tools for evaluating courses and programs are available
      • the Rendezvous great place for people new to geoscience education research to present and learn
      • we need to bridge the gap between research and classroom to support effective practice
      • there are parallels among subdisciplines of geoscience and opportunities to extend research that is being done in one subdiscipline into new domains of application
    • What information/help/guidance would help people implement new pedagogies & uses of technology? What the barriers to implementation are across the country? - (submitted by Sharon Mosher)
      • faculty should not be afraid to fail/scared to try new teaching methods
      • the importance of using active learning
      • encourage others to come see what you are doing with this
      • talk less
      • create trust with students of all types - ok not ot be a member of the diverse group
      • colleagues should come here to learn (workshop as core activity was needed learning environment)
      • show them the data - have students engage with data and data collection
      • help students understand how different disciplines collect, interpret and use data
      • put the user first
      • students are being prepared for 21st century world with interdiscipinary problems -- we need to be helping them be able to work on these
      • systems thinking is not just a technique-it can be a life style
      • importance of planning/designing course through objectives, assessments and activities
      • teach to your strengths/try things
    • beyond teaching
      • resources are our relatives (from Thursday plenary by Dan Wildcat)
      • understanding how NGSS is changing K-12 and changing our teaching so that future teachers in our class are being appropriately prepared
      • geoscience ed is a kind of social science research
      • we need places in our departments for people to explore/do Geoscience education reserarch without fear or repurcussion
      • high context/low context framework (Culutral Competence workshop) provides productive way to think about teaching and interactions to be more effective with diverse students/people
      • high context/low context framework can help you understand who your students are and how they are prepared to learn
      • commonalities across disciplines and employers needs that unite the geosciences and can unite our approach to geoscience education and provide a framework for assessment (from What does it mean to be a Geoscientist workshop)
      • preparing for the workforce is a moving target as is where our students are coming from and want to go -- this all changes over time
      • how to conceptualize, assess and fund program level improvements
      • students are changing and will enter with more geoscience as NGSS is implemented (from Next Generation Science Standards workshop)
      • diversity of ideas for GED direction - interest group effort at white paper to identify highest priorities for GED to help research community focus and NSF argue for funds (from Synthesizing Geoscience Education Research workshop)_
      • Rendezvous website can provide a window into the Rendezvous for those who couldn't attend
      • value of insights from greater Earth education community and beyond - history, cognitive science etc.
      • while workforce targets change, citizenship targets are more stable and include sustainability, system thinking,
      • value of being in a group of common interest -- big family; great climate;
      • we have a good sense of humor - this should be working for us in class
  • For next year:
    • spatial reasoning/field education
    • quantitative learning/math anxiety
    • designing the use of time in your course management/timing/length /hybrid
    • place based education
    • guidance on cross disciplinary collaboration (out of science)
    • time (in geo/bio/history)
    • Pluto in context of how icy worlds should look was wrong
    • case study applying GER -- more on research methods -- clinic, working with the actual data
    • focus/program for future faculty to be better educators
    • technology petting zoo
    • models for professional development for fauclty and K-12 teachers
    • opportunities to go in field
    • sessions that bring us back together to report on what we did as a result of what we learned next year
    • teacher prep
    • program design/outcomes
If you attended the Rendezvous and would like to add to this list of outcomes please use the discussion thread below. We will use these ideas as part of articles summarizing the Rendezvous and its outcomes. If you did not attend the Rendezvous, you are welcome to use the list below to comment on this list or engage in discussion of ideas that are put forward.

Town Hall -- Discussion  

Please use this discussion thread to
- bring up items you would like to have discussed at the town hall
- provide input on agenda items

We will create a prioritized final agenda on Friday at noon.

You can continue to use the discussion thread through the town hall meeting itself.


Share edittextuser=3 post_id=23918 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=7241

Workshop idea for 2016 Rendezvous: "Making my quantitative course stronger"
Comes from 3 of us working on dynamic meteorology courses in the upper-level course workshop, but could/should include physical oceanography and geophysics.
The premise is that those of us who teach "mathy" geoscience courses share common challenges.


Share edittextuser=20839 post_id=23971 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=7241

Ideas for future Rendezvous:

I was not entirely sure what role the Rendezvous might play in the world of conferences and professional development meetings the geoscience education community engages in. Given the limited time and travel money members of our community have, we want to use our gatherings in an efficient fashion. As such...I would propose that the Rendezvous block of summer time be used to take some of the pressure for workshops and gatherings off the GSA and AGU meetings, which have become a bit unwieldy for the community with the many scheduling conflicts at all time slots, by holding more of the longer term professional development activities as well as programs for K-12 teachers in the Rendezvous...and leave the traditional 15 minute oral talks for GSA and AGU. As part of this revised division of "labor"...I'd have more of the time at the Rendezvous for poster sessions/collaborative time in the place of the 15 minute oral talks in the these longer blocks of time with all folks present are what is increasingly lost at GSA and AGU but which really move the community forward. The Rendezvous would thus have elements of a retreat rather than a big national conference with its go go go schedule. Just a thought...


Share edittextuser=3879 post_id=23998 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=7241

"...leave the traditional 15 minute oral talks for GSA and AGU. As part of this revised division of "labor"...I'd have more of the time at the Rendezvous for poster sessions/collaborative time in the place of the 15 minute oral talks in the these longer blocks of time with all folks present are what is increasingly lost at GSA and AGU but which really move the community forward."

I agree with Sadredi's proposal. The 13&2 format is not effective at generating discussion. More multi-day workshops (the 3-day Cultural Competency workshop was excellent), followed by posters... then make rooms and time blocks available for informal groups to meet. People with ideas to discuss could post them until the end of poster session, others could sign up, those with the most names get rooms.


Share edittextuser=2476 post_id=24001 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=7241

I agree that we should continue shaping the Rendezvous as something very different than the traditional meeting. For the Contrib Program - poster sessions followed (immediately) by discussion blocks - w/o the oral sessions - is the way to go. People want more time to talk, share, interact. Make it something really different that GSA/AGU.

Also I heartily second the "Make my course quantitative course stronger" theme suggestion - and I would extend that idea to courses at every level, including intro. (Don't forget the Teaching With Matlab workshop next fall -


Share edittextuser=1554 post_id=24010 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=7241

As an outsider to your community, I was struck by how far along the geoscience community seems to be in terms of (a) understanding and using learning objectives and outcomes as part of course design, and (b) having a somewhat common set of objectives and outcomes. In the physics community, there is not the same level of expertise and agreement, despite a rich history in education research and understanding of student learning difficulties. I don't know if that helps you think about your upcoming Summit, or how to leverage that common ground as you move forward. This common ground seems a good starting point for creating some virtual learning communities and seminars, as well as creating guidance for geoscience curricula.


Share edittextuser=28316 post_id=24013 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=7241

Following the Rendezvous, we invite participants to comment on or suggest additions to the synthesis generated in Friday's town hall above. We invite all to comment on or discuss these ideas, or to provide suggestions for next year's Rendezvous.

This discussion will close in mid-August.


Share edittextuser=3 post_id=24025 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=7241

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