Enhancing Active Learning in a Place-Based Geoscience Course with the ICAP Theory of Cognitive Engagement
We present a case study in which an experienced professor applied the ICAP (Interactive-Constructive-Active-Passive) theoretical framework, which models student active learning as cognitive engagement, to enhance an established place-based geoscience and sustainability course situated in the American Southwest. The goal of this proof-of-concept study was to increase the level and frequency of active learning without making drastic changes to curriculum or instruction. The two strategies employed were (1) scaffolding student note-taking and inquiry with designed handouts, and (2) deliberate use of ICAP verbs during interactive lecture and in-class activities, to elicit higher ICAP level engagement from the students. Preliminary results indicate that the course has become more active and constructive compared with previous years, and students in general respond positively to the changes.