Thursday A: Supporting Student Learning

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm TSU - Humphries: 203

Session Chairs

Alec Aitken, University of Saskatchewan
Richard D. Schulterbrandt Gragg III, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
1:30pm
Techniques Used to Create High Resolution Virtual Models of Geologic Specimens Using Photgrammetry
Ryan Hollister, Turlock Unified School District

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Virtual 3D geologic models created using photogrammetry are an extremely useful tool that can increase student access to hand samples and outcrops. A small community of geoscientists, teachers and students have been experimenting with photogrammetry software over the past four years to create a repository of freely-accessible geologic models on Sketchfab.com. In the absence of a geology-specific photogrammetry instruction manual, individuals used varying methods of lighting, photography and processing to generate models that were serviceable representations of the actual rock samples. Thanks to continued experimentation and advances in photographic capture and processing techniques, the ability to create high resolution 3D models has dramatically improved over the past three years. This poster will present several new techniques used to create extremely high-definition 3D models of rock specimens. Techniques, tips and tricks will include: How to create an inexpensive photo tent and turntable. How to create shadowless, even lighting. How to capture an entire specimen by using pixel targeting. Raw image processing. Improved Agisoft Metashape workflow.
1:45pm
Experiences and Perceptions of the iClicker Cloud Classroom Response System in a Large, Introductory Geoscience Course
Sean Bryan, Colorado State University

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Classroom response systems provide a method of increasing engagement, facilitating active learning, and allowing formative assessment in large courses. Our introductory physical geology course at Colorado State University (Exploring Earth: Introduction to Physical Geology) typically enrolls 500-600 students across two sections each semester. This course is a part of our All University Core Curriculum and enrolls students from across the university. We have used the iClicker Classic response system, which uses dedicated remotes and a receiver in the classroom, in this course for over five years. During the Spring 2019 semester, we piloted the use of the iClicker Cloud classroom response system, as a part of a trial period prior to university adoption. In the iClicker Cloud system, students respond to questions using an internet-enabled device (phone, tablet, or laptop), and responses are transmitted over the wireless internet network. In this presentation, I will discuss my experience using the iClicker Cloud system, addressing the advantages, disadvantages, learning outcomes, and student perceptions as compared to the iClicker Classic system.
2:00pm
Developing a Perpetual Course Model
Mary Armour, York university canada
Michelle Senagara, York University Toronto Canada

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Online courses allow greater flexibility for students in how courses are delivered. This is a major reason students take these courses. Presented here are the first year instructor experience and student feedback for the development of a 'perpetual' course. The perpetual course model would in its final form allow students to enroll in a course at any time, and then have a window of time in which they are required to complete rather than a set school term. Learning within the course would be entirely self-paced. Instructors would be supported with software that could produce an up to date report on each student's progress through the course. This would allow for personalized support through course material. In the first year a prototype was run that did not have all of these elements, but was based on 16 modules in a typical first year general education Earth Sciences course. Minimal deadlines were required of the students. The course was designed to be almost fully self-paced and to allow students some choice in the order in which they would complete the material. Assignments were designed not only to address comprehension, but to allow student reflection on what elements were more challenging to allow them to better reflect on their learning. Major issues with the course were in dealing with students being at many different stages in the course material, addressing issues with students taking material in flexible order in designing the modules, and dealing with student lack of progress through the material with few hard deadlines.
2:15pm
Teaching Evolution through the Scientific Method
Jennifer Hargrave, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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Geoscience educators often present topics that are considered controversial, such as the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution. However, these topics are often met with objection due to personal beliefs. As educators, it is our responsibility to teach our students the science, research and data behind these topics. Presenting the topics in a framework based on the scientific method can help minimize the pushback. One strategy is to begin the course with a module on the scientific method, stressing the meanings of the key words, such as hypothesis, law, and theory. These words are often misunderstood and misused, leaving students to respond "it's just a theory". The introduction can be reinforced with examples and practice of experiments using the scientific method. Once understanding has been demonstrated, other course topics, such the Theory of Plate Tectonics and the Elastic Rebound Theory, for example, can be taught using the scientific method. These less controversial theories help students grasp the validity of how science works. Finally, the topics that garner the pushback are presented in a similar manner, demonstrating how the observations, data, and explanations led to the designation of a theory. Students tend to be more receptive to the "controversial" data when presented within the framework of the scientific method.
2:30pm
Break
2:45pm
Science and You assignment- using the search for evidence behind personal decisions as a parallel to the scientific method
Laura Rosales Lagarde, Nevada State College at Henderson
Bre Tavernini, Nevada State College at Henderson

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Self-reflection and Science are not commonly associated. Neuroscience and psychology studies have found that self-reflection is a hard task for the brain to do naturally (Herwig et al., 2012). Because the scientific method follows a process or a series of steps, it can also be applied to ease self-reflection. In this case, self-reflection was promoted in the assignment called: "Science and You" in which Hypothesis and Conclusions were analogous to personal decisions. Both of these categories can be reevaluated based on new evidence, either a priori or posteriori. The students were prompted to gather evidence to support their answer to: A) why am I attending college? B) what major I chose or the exploration for a major?, and C) what I do in class to achieve my goals? This assignment was completed as a pilot in three 100-level science classes at Nevada State College: two Geology sections and one Environmental Science class. One of the Geology sections was a Writing Intensive Class. About 90% of the students in these classes do not identify themselves as science majors. A detail of the steps followed in this assignment and a preliminary qualitative assessment of its effectiveness will be presented. Our hypothesis is that this assignment will help students transition from extrinsic to intrinsic motivations; promote writing and self-reflection as a way to seek evidence; and highlight the importance of evidence and critical thinking, both, in personal decision-making and in science. Additionally, the opportunity to write and reflect about past decisions can potentially help students to better understand themselves and create a deeper sense of personal identity. Herwig, U., Kaffenberger, T., Schell, C., Jäncke, L., & Brühl, A. B. (2012). Neural activity associated with self-reflection. BMC neuroscience, 13, 52. doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-52
3:00pm
Impact of InTeGrate Teaching Materials on Student Geoscience Interests, Literacy and Learning Outcomes at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Richard D. Schulterbrandt Gragg III, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Helen Brethauer-Gay, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
John Warford, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Lisa Gilbert, Williams College
Kathryn Sheriff, Carleton College
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College

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An interdisciplinary research team from Carleton College and Florida A&M University is investigating the impact of geoscience materials on faculty teaching practices and student learning outcomes at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). As part of the work of the InTeGrate-HBCU Geosciences Working group, 14 HBCU faculty taught 24 courses using geoscience materials from the InTeGrate, open source, online platform (see https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/itg _materials _dev.html). The courses included a wide breadth of disciplines including environmental science, geography, mathematical teacher preparation, sociology, criminal justice, politics, engineering, marine science, and earth science. From the 24 course enactments, assessment data from over 530 enrolled students was collected. Participating faculty administered before and after course instruction, the Integrate Attitudinal Instrument (IAI) and the Geoscience Literacy Exam (GLE) surveys. In addition, the InTeGrate interdisciplinary problem solving and systems thinking essay questions were administered at the end of each course to assess student responses. Five members of the research team used a rubric (0 to 4 total score possible), to score a representative sample of 135 essays, with each essay being independently scored by two of the team members. This presentation will provide results of preliminary analyses on the student data, including the impact of InTeGrate materials and design concepts on HBCU student interest in the environment, further pursuit of geoscience education, geoscience related careers, and action to enhance human sustainability on the planet and the higher order thinking related to interdisciplinary problem solving and systems thinking.
3:15pm
Creating a Personal Pathway Map Toward a Geoscience Career
Kathy Ellins, The University of Texas at Austin
Stephen Boss, University of Arkansas Main Campus
Tahlia Bear, Geological Society of America
Susan Eriksson, Eriksson Associates
Adam Papendieck, The University of Texas at Austin

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The Geological Society of America (GSA) On To the Future (OTF) initiative helps build a diverse geoscience community by engaging groups traditionally underrepresented in the geosciences. During the OTF workshop at the 2018 Annual GSA Meeting we presented a pathway mapping activity to encourage participants to begin to plan a geoscience academic degree and career path. Each participant created a personal Geoscience Pathway Map populated with elements that addressed three questions: How Did I Get Here? (Start), Where Am I Going? (End) and How Can I Get There? (Middle). The exercise encouraged participants to (a) identify unique accomplishments, novel attributes/experiences, and personal interactions with geoscientists and consider how these influenced their decision to study geoscience; (b) express clear academic and career aspirations; and (c) think strategically about how to augment their academic effort with high value extracurricular activities and social capital that could aid progress toward their desired career goal. Groups of 8-10 participants were matched with a mentor who was a practicing geoscientist or faculty mentor. Mentors shared elements of their own career paths and personal experiences, and encouraged participants to be creative and take chances while creating their personal pathway maps. Our presentation describes the implementation of the activity, provides examples of participants' work and shares preliminary evaluation findings on the usefulness of the pathway mapping activity as a Geoscience career-planning tool. This work was supported by NSF I-USE GeoPaths Award 1801569 and inspired in part by the EarthConnections project (NSF INCLUDES Award 1649367).
3:30pm
Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science: Using FYRE to Ignite Student Curiosity and Discovery
Alec Aitken, University of Saskatchewan
Krystopher Chutko, University of Saskatchewan
Xulin Guo, University of Saskatchewan
Kara Loy, University of Saskatchewan
Ryan Banow, University of Saskatchewan

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Undergraduate student engagement in scholarly and applied research is foundational to the student experience; it unleashes curiosity and through discovery students develop skills such as critical thinking and problem solving that are in high demand by professional colleges and employers. For the past five years, faculty in the Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan have participated in the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program. This is a joint endeavour between the Offices of the Vice-President Research and the Vice-Provost Teaching, Learning, and Student Experience. The FYRE program in Geography exposes students enrolled in extant first-year (freshmen) environmental science courses to an authentic research experience that encompasses the full research arc: posing a research question, investigating their research question, and sharing the results of their research with a community of their peers. The courses enroll ~300 students per year distributed across two semesters. Students were presented with the freedom to select research topics of their own choosing. Teaching faculty, graduate students hired as research coaches, and complementary workshops offered by the Library's Student Learning Centre support students along their journey of discovery. The research activity concludes with the production of a research poster and a brief, three-minute format oral presentation to an audience of their peers, coaches, and faculty instructor. In-class surveys were administered prior to the final exam to assess the students' learning experiences in FYRE. Questions related to the research process, acquisition of research-relevant skills, and opportunities to share their research with persons other than teaching faculty received high scores. On the other hand, questions related to strengthening connections to course materials and identifying potential career paths fared less well. These outcomes indicate that FYRE is worthwhile for research-relevant skill development, but provides a limited transformative learning experience for these students.
3:45pm
Discussion