Developing (or Modifying) an Introductory Geoscience Course Using InTeGrate Modules

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-11:30am Student Union: Ballroom C


David McConnell, North Carolina State University

Research in STEM disciplines has revealed a suite of empirically validated instructional practices that can contribute to improvements in student learning and a reduction in attrition. This workshop will introduce participants to an extensive suite of such resources and discuss how they can be incorporated into a range of introductory geoscience and environmental science courses. The workshop is intended for instructors who are creating a new introductory course or redesigning an existing course focusing on the relationship between Earth and society.


The InTeGrate project has created a series of eleven instructional modules that can be readily customized for incorporation into a range of introductory geoscience and environmental science courses. Each module consists of six units, with each unit adaptable to be equivalent to material that would be taught in a typical 50- or 75-minute class. Each InTeGrate module follows five key design principles: 1) It is designed around a particular grand challenge facing society; 2) It features interdisciplinary problems involving economic, societal and policy issues; 3) It incorporates activities that have students use authentic geoscience data; 4) It synthesizes concepts across different components of Earth to support systems thinking; and, 5) It encourages students to use the methods of geoscience and develop geoscientific habits of mind (e.g., comparing modern processes with those in the geologic record). There is more material here than can be included in a typical course. These free, online materials were created to provide the instructor with the autonomy to use whichever modules or units or individual activities best suit the needs of their class, students, or teaching environment. All modules come with rich content, learning objectives, student activities, and assessments. We will place these materials in the context of typical introductory courses, give participants opportunities to test drive the student activities, discuss lessons learned from initial efforts to use the materials in different types of courses, and explain the pedagogical approach behind the design of the materials and their implications for student learning and attitudes about science. Participants will hear from faculty who have used InTeGrate materials in their courses and how they adjusted the resources to best fit their class.

Target Audience

The target audience for this workshop is any instructor seeking to design or redesign lessons for an introductory science course of any size. We have designed this workshop experience to accommodate instructors with little to no previous experience with active learning or InTeGrate materials and/or for instructors seeking to incorporate new strategies to a partially redesigned class. We anticipate that participants teaching similar courses will discuss how they might best use and adapt InTeGrate resources for specific classes.


As a result of participation in the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast InTeGrate lessons and activities with learning goals for existing courses
  • Redesign courses and/or lessons to incorporate suitable InTeGrate activities.
  • Adapt InTeGrate resources to meet the needs of specific learning environments


Each day will include an introduction to the topic(s) for the day, collaborative activities designed to make participants familiar with key concepts, sharing ideas about how to approach specific tasks, participants working on materials for their own classes, and a final opportunity for reflection about the morning's tasks.

Daily Program

See the Program Page for a detailed schedule of daily events.

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