Enhancing the Geoscience Pedagogical Landscape: An Integrative Strategic Approach to Heighten Student Learning

Monday 2:45pm Northrop Hall: 116


Melanie Will-Cole, Central New Mexico Community College
The fundamental goal of college-level science educators is to enhance student learning while at the same time develop & foster the learner's skills in critical thinking, inquiry and creativity. Considering the physical sciences & engineering disciplines, inclusive of geoscience, the technical literature presents a full spectrum of classroom-based pedagogical approaches to achieve this aspiration, to include, lecture - partner discussion learning, active and cooperative learning, learning communities, service learning, cooperative education, inquiry and problem-based learning, team projects and flipped classrooms. Such methods to enhance the students' involvement in their learning brings excitement and novelty to science educators, however all too often select cutting edge teaching-learning tactics are implemented as a unilateral teaching-learning approach. This presentation will review the current state-of-the-art for the learner-centric singular pedagogies and discuss our recent research and validation assessment methodologies focused on a strategic integrative-teaching pedagogy to promote positive learning outcomes for geoscience undergraduate-level college students. Our pedagogical design space consists of integrating several elements or combinatorial learning methods which facilitate learner inquiry-critical thinking, cognitive elaboration, & collaboration skills for conceptually complex and content-dense subject matter in geoscience. The multi-dimensional facets of our study, namely, Engagement, Core Competency, Learner Based Responsibility, Engineered Simulated Experimentation, Science Argument, Collaboration, and Communication will be discussed in concert with their associated learning metric(s) achieved. Assessment of the effectiveness of our strategic integrative-teaching pedagogy was attained by utilizing four distinct modes to assay student learning, such as, science questions to demonstrate students' knowledge gain, two sigma science questions to access critical thinking, student surveys and independent observation via one or more unbiased observers overseeing the classroom pedagogical setting.