Developing Field Experiences at a 2YC: Field Studies Courses at Orange Coast College

Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm TSU - Humphries: 118
Poster Session Part of Friday


Christopher Berg, Orange Coast College
Erik Bender, Orange Coast College
Michael Van Ry, Orange Coast College
Orange Coast College is a 2YC in Orange County, California. Within a six hour's drive from campus, one can experience diverse geologic settings, including multiple iconic national park landscapes. As part of an effort to increase student enrollment and raise the visibility of the Geology program on campus which began in Fall 2016, a series of field-based courses have been developed and are in the process of being implemented into the Geology program at OCC. Each course, which has no formal prerequisites, is directly transferrable into four-year universities within the state of California. Both Geology majors and non-science majors are eligible to take the courses for credit. Field courses are generally structured to include several pre-trip meetings that cover logistics, procedures for completing geologic investigations in the field, and short lectures and lab-based activities providing necessary geologic overview and background; post-trip meetings focus on assessments and summaries of observations typically in the form of short presentations or papers. Field courses that have already been implemented include Field Studies of Death Valley, Field Studies of the Mojave Desert, Field Studies of the San Andreas Fault, Field Studies of Yosemite National Park, and Field Studies of the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Based on the early successes with these courses, additional planned field study courses include the Cascades, Hawaii Volcanology (in collaboration with the Marine Science department), and the Colorado Plateau. These extended field courses will be offered during Summer or Winter intersession terms. For students that are majoring in geology or a related science, a more rigorous Introduction to Field Studies course is being developed. Together, the field courses are expected to become an advertising point for the program, provide unique experiences to our students, and help build a stronger cohort of students within the major.

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