Transforming Courses, Curricula, and Programs

Tuesday 1:30pm-3:00pm REC Center Medium Ice Overlook Room
Oral Session

Session Chairs

Barbara Bruno, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Eric Baer, Highline Community College
1:30pm
InTeGrate: A Systems Approach to Transforming Higher Education
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Kim Kastens, Columbia University in the City of New York

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Now in its fourth year, the InTeGrate project seeks to transform teaching and learning about the Earth in higher education. Traditionally, focusing on Earth processes and Earth history, geoscience is taught in geoscience departments, has relatively few majors, lacks diversity, and is not widely understood or valued beyond those in direct contact with the profession. InTeGrate seeks to situate learning about the Earth in the context of societal issues, and to locate learning not only within geoscience programs but also in other majors, and across the undergraduate curriculum. Changing a system as complex as higher education requires multiple drivers, establishment of virtuous feedbacks, and time for changes to propagate. InTeGrate uses a three prong approach to transformation: work at the course scale to change what faculty are ready to teach; work at the department and institutional scales to change what faculty are asked to teach and do; and work with communities to change values, networks, and available resources. InTeGrate capitalizes on changes already underway including those emphasizing reform of teaching practices in STEM, issues of sustainability in higher education, successful degree completion for all students. InTeGrate is currently engaging over 100 faculty in developing teaching materials rigorously designed and tested to meet InTeGrate's goals and to employ engaged teaching practices demonstrated to improve student learning. These materials are being adopted by programs and institutions as part of InTeGrate funded implementation programs which will serve as new models for learning about the Earth in higher education. Topical workshops produced online resources for faculty and program leaders with more than 40,000 users this year. Traveling workshops, the Rendezvous, webinars, and regional workshops are expanding the opportunities for educators to learn about the importance, possibilities and impacts of learning about the Earth in a societal context.
1:45pm
Teaching GeoEthics Across the Geoscience Curriculum: Need, Opportunities and Strategies
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
John Geissman, The University of Texas at Dallas
Susan Kieffer, University of Illinois at Urbana
Monica Bruckner, Carleton College

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Ethics education is increasingly important in the professional training of geoscientists. Funding agencies (NSF) require training of graduate students in the responsible conduct of research, employers are increasingly expecting their workers to have training in ethics, and the public demands the highest standards of ethical conduct by scientists. Yet, few faculty have the requisite training to effectively teach about ethics in their classes, or even informally in their mentoring of research students. A NSF-funded workshop was convened to explore ways that ethics education can be introduced into the geoscience curriculum. Workshop goals included: Examine where and how GeoEthics topics can be taught from introductory courses to modules embedded in "core" geoscience courses for majors or dedicated courses in GeoEthics; Share best pedagogic practices in "what works" in ethics education; Develop a framework for a GeoEthics curriculum; Develop a collection of online instructional resources, case studies, and other instructional materials; Apply lessons learned about ethics education from sister disciplines; and Consider ways that instruction in GeoEthics can contribute to public scientific literacy. Four major themes were explored in detail: GeoEthics and self: what are the internal attributes of a geoscientist that establish the ethical values required to successfully prepare for a career in the geosciences? GeoEthics and the geoscience profession: what are the ethical standards expected of geoscientists if they are to contribute responsibly to the community of practice expected of the profession? GeoEthics and society: what are the responsibilities of geoscientists to effectively and responsibly communicate the results of geoscience research to inform society to protect the health, safety, and economic security of humanity? GeoEthics and Earth: what are the responsibilities of geoscientists to provide good stewardship of Earth based on their knowledge of Earth's composition, architecture, history, dynamic processes, and complex systems? Workshop resources can be accessed at http://serc.carleton.edu/74990
2:00pm
A Curricular Audit Process for Faculty Developers of Student-Centered Curricula that Meld Geoscience and Societal Issues
Mary Savina, Carleton College
David Steer, University of Akron Main Campus
Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Kristin O'Connell, Carleton College

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We designed and refined a curriculum auditing methodology to support faculty authors preparing materials for the Interdisciplinary Teaching of Geoscience for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate) project. Authors with common interests and content expertise are configured into 3-5 person teams from institutions of diverse size and mission. The teams develop curricula designed to engage students by 1) connecting content to geoscience-related grand challenges facing societies, 2) developing students' abilities to address interdisciplinary problems, 3) improving geoscientific thinking skills, 4) making use of authentic and credible geoscience data and 5) fostering systems thinking. The curriculum auditing methodology includes providing written standards for curriculum design, including a rubric indexed to a set of common standards for all curricula. Faculty developers participate in workshops to help them write and later revise their materials. An assessment consultant assigned to each team assists developers in meeting guidelines and periodically audits their materials to ensure they are closely adhering to the standards. Two assessment team members unfamiliar with the materials independently audit the materials before they are tested with students. Since 2012, more than 49 faculty from the same number of institutions have developed 16 curricular units. Curriculum audit scores for the first cohort of curriculum developers indicated that these groups encountered the most difficulty meeting criteria related to 1) systems thinking, 2) metacognition, 3) grading rubrics, 4) writing learning outcomes and objectives, and 5) linking and aligning materials across the units. After the leadership team revised the faculty development program, authors' abilities to meet those standards improved, as shown by rise in the rubric scores between Developer Cohort 1 and Cohort 2. We find the curricula auditing approach to be an effective methodology for evaluating materials prior to classroom pilot testing.
2:15pm
Strategies for incorporating InTeGrate materials in a large lecture physical geology course: Implications for early adopters.
Michael Pelch, University of Washington-Tacoma Campus
David McConnell, North Carolina State University

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The InTeGrate project is an interdisciplinary effort to promote geoscience literacy through the context of societal issues. The project seeks to accomplish this in introductory geoscience and environmental science courses by promoting the use of units and activities developed in a series of topics-based modules. Each module features a prominent socio-scientific or socio-political issue related to the geosciences. Modules consist of six units designed for 50-minutes class periods. Units are built upon measurable learning objectives that ask students to work with real geoscience data and develop their understanding of content. We incorporated thirteen units from four separate InTeGrate modules into a Physical Geology course at North Carolina State University (NCSU). The course is composed predominantly traditionally-aged non-geoscience majors in their first year of college. Initial integration of the modules was intuitive because the pre-existing course was already designed around eight modules focused on major geoscience topics. The InTeGrate materials used in this study were conceptually similar to the materials they replaced; the difference was in the work required of students and the central emphasis on how content related to society. Our experience suggests that instructors should consider the time and effort needed to implement new materials into their course. Some may find it best to begin with selected activities or units while others may find it appropriate to add whole modules. Instructors should account for the additional preparation required for their initial round of adaptations. Having a detailed plan to adapt InTeGrate resources so that the instructor can manage related formative and summative assessment activities is crucial for successful implementation. Adopting InTeGrate introductory modules has been a positive and exciting experience. The opportunity to watch students work with real-world data and create their own knowledge can be a transformative experience for many geoscience instructors.
2:30pm
Discussion
2:45pm
Break