Friday Poster Session

Poster Session

Presenters will hang their posters by 8:30am (the hall will be open to presenters at 8:00am), and the Poster Hall will be open throughout the day.

Course Resources and Developing Geocompetencies

A New Ethics Workshop: Addressing Racism and Colonialism in the Geosciences
Valerie Sloan, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Marissa A Vara, UCAR
Blake Stoner-Osborne, University of California-Berkeley
Ahmiya Cacapit, University of California-San Diego
Elise Mason

Show Abstract »

A New Ethics Workshop: Addressing Racism and Colonialism in the GeosciencesResearch ethics and misconduct such as data falsification, plagiarism, authorship, and intellectual ownership violations are usually the topics of ethics workshops in geoscience undergraduate research internship programs. Interns are able to see the complexity of situations, the power dynamics involved, and the dilemmas being faced in ethically difficult situations through the use of case studies.While these are vital to discuss, these topics ignore how Western natural science developed together with European imperialistic expansion, and how scientific thinking has been shaped by this. One succinct description of scientific imperialism is: "the pursuit of power through the pursuit of knowledge" (Tignor, 2008) which was made in reference to the militarized scientific 'exploration' by James Cook in the 19th Century. As Deb Roy (2018) in The Smithsonian Magazine says, "Modern science was effectively built on a system that exploited millions of people. At the same time it helped justify and sustain that exploitation, in ways that hugely influenced how Europeans saw other races and countries. What's more, colonial legacies continue to shape trends in science today."Some points to consider might include: 1) How was the ideal of "discovery" in pursuit of knowledge used to justify European imperial expansion around the world? 2) How did the Eurocentric concept of the superiority of "man" over nature and the alleged superiority of White people influence the development and current culture of science? 3) When collecting data in the field, do researchers consistently seek permission from the indigenous/international communities that reside on the land?4) Do Western scientists tend to disregard Traditional Ecological Knowledge or other insights from different cultures as a result of this history?In our 2021 Geosciences Workshop Series for interns across several REU programs, we developed an 'Ethics in the Geosciences Workshop' that covers the traditional ethics topics, but also shines a light on the dark history of colonialism and racism that underpin Western science. We discussed prominent historical figures such as John Wesley Powell and Captain James Cook. Both men are greatly celebrated in academic/scientific spheres as explorers, cartographers, and scientists. However, their writings included blatant racism towards indigenous people, the dismissal of indigenous knowledge and culture as being primitive and delusional, and for Cook, brutal slaughters around the world. Their values were aligned with Western imperialism, military expansion, and racism.The workshop included a discussion of examples of 'parachute' or 'helicopter' science, and the colonial undertones of modern day research in the Geosciences. Examples of racism, sexism, and safety in the field were examined through both an interactive lecture and open-dialogue on a virtual platform. We acknowledged the many identities that we bring to science (race, gender, sexual identity, ability, nationality & citizenship, etc.), the relative privilege and power that these different identities may hold, and discussed addressing slurs and slights by using bystander strategies, as well as finding support in affinity groups.In tandem with this approach of broadening the scope of ethics discussions, it is hoped that intentionally creating safe, inclusive spaces in science for people of various and intersecting identities has the potential to change the ethical framework and social atmosphere in which we do science.
Mapping motion direction to color in seismic ground motion visualizations: a tool for teaching and outreach.
Maximiliano Bezada, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Show Abstract »

The increase in seismometer density on a continental scale since the start of the EarthScope project has enabled the community to produce visualizations of the propagating wavefield from local and teleseismic events. Previous work has shown that these animations generate much interest yet have limitations and can be confusing to novices. Here, we present a new type of visualization in which the color, position and size of the symbols representing each seismometer are time-dependent and determined by the instantaneous proportion of motion in the vertical, radial, and transverse components. This color-mapping scheme has the advantage of automatically producing different colors for different wave types and results in vibrant animations. The color mapping is based on transforming the value of the envelopes of the filtered velocity traces to RGB values and subsequently boosting the color saturation in the HSV color space. Animations in map view and along great-circle paths have been produced and used in a formal classroom setting and have also been shared with the broader public through social media channels. In both formal and informal settings, the animations have succeeded in garnering attention and stimulating discussion.
From Greenland to our coasts: Learning about the Earth system with GIS and authentic data
Alyse Thurber, University of Colorado at Boulder
Twila Moon, University of Colorado at Boulder
Lianna Nixon, University of Colorado at Boulder
Emily Geraghty Ward, University of Colorado at Boulder

Show Abstract »

An understanding of Arctic regions, which are warming faster than the rest of the world, is crucial for understanding the global climate system. Greenland is of particular global importance due to its large ice sheet, but the scale can be difficult to grasp. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can help students visualize and engage with Greenland data in a concrete way. QGreenland is a free data environment that provides Greenland-focused data for use with the open-source QGIS software. Two new projects from the QGreenland team are designed to make it easy for beginners to learn GIS by conducting analysis using real data. The QGreenland Beginner Tutorials is a series of 7 videos designed to familiarize users with both GIS and the QGreenland data package. This 1-hour series was adapted from the popular live beginner workshops designed for those who have little or no prior experience working with GIS. The tutorials have allowed several educators who are new to GIS to then successfully use QGreenland in their classrooms to analyze data and create publication-quality maps.New Sea-Level Rise Curriculum brings GIS and QGreenland into the advanced high school and undergraduate classroom to investigate the importance of the Greenland Ice Sheet on a global scale. Students first explore the driving question 'How is the Greenland Ice Sheet changing?' Then, students utilize the beginner tutorial series to develop GIS skills that will enable them to analyze recent glacial retreats, and calculate the amount of global sea-level rise that can be attributed to melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet both in recent decades and in the near future. Finally, the curriculum addresses misconceptions about regional and global sea level rise. We are currently looking for curriculum testers who are interested to bring GIS into their classrooms and engage students in genuine analysis.
Building capacity for climate change outreach: supporting, encouraging, and inspiring scientists within our academic institutions
Janel Hanrahan, Northern Vermont University
Diana Bernstein, University of Southern Mississippi
Gabrielle Brown, Johnson State College
Alix Contosta, University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
Lauren Cornell, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Clark Evans, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Barry Klinger, George Mason University
Silje Kristiansen, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Allison LaFleur, Purdue University-Main Campus
Neil Laird, Hobart William Smith Colleges
Bryan Mark, Ohio State University-Main Campus
Emily Mazan, Ohio State University-Main Campus
Sonali McDermid, New York University
Austin Reed, George Mason University
Adam Schlosser, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Arianna Varuolo-Clarke, Columbia University in the City of New York
Andrew Westgate, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Gisela Winckler, Columbia University in the City of New York

Show Abstract »

The Climate Consensus is a growing network of concerned students, faculty, and staff from various universities who seek to create a culture shift within academia. Under the traditional academic model, communication of science is often limited to peer-reviewed journals and professional conferences, all of which are targeted toward other scientists. There have been too few accolades for breaking out of our university silos. In contrast, our network is supporting, encouraging, and inspiring scientists to engage in dialog with their local communities, specifically about human-caused climate change. By building capacity for the next generation of scientists to speak up for truth and our future, we have an immense opportunity to shape public opinion on this topic and to motivate real action.
Integrating peer review and portfolio into a hybrid GIS course
Yongli Gao, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Show Abstract »

The "Introduction to Geographical Information System (GIS)" course was offered as a traditional in-person course at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The course is an introduction to the basic theory, design and practical applications of GIS in a multidisciplinary context with hands-on environment. Key concepts such as location, distance, units, projections, datums and GIS data formats were introduced during the course. Students are expected to master the key components of the GIS environment and gain adequate proficiency in data acquisition, display and analysis of vector and raster data, manipulation of map projections, and most importantly use GIS to address various real-world problems that involve space and location as a central variable. Since hands-on practice of GIS is an essential part of the class, it was difficult to have students fully engaged when the class was taught online during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The course was re-designed in a hybrid mode in 2022, meaning although most course content was available asynchronously, there were weekly in-person sessions that were important portions of the learning experience. Student-led discussions and peer reviews were implemented during the second half the semester to motivate students to develop ideas, share resources, and apply what they learned in class to the course project. These activities have helped students develop their personal GIS skills portfolio that may prove very useful for academic growth and career development.
Teaching with visualizations, models, and online data: Tracking the onset, propagation and variability of the North American monsoon
Dorothea Ivanova, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott

Show Abstract »

The goal of this study is to examine how meteorology students use, analyze and understand existing datasets, and utilize Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system to explore scientific questions during their research projects, funded by the NASA Research Space Grant for undergraduate students in the Arizona campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Teaching with visualizations, and running a mesoscale model engages them in using research data to understand better the nature of the North American Monsoon (NAM). Another objective is to present new opportunities to use 2-D and 3-D meteorological data (such as modeling output, satellite images, cross-sections and time series of important atmospheric variables) to investigate what factors determine a favorable circulation and moisture source-receptor configuration for severe monsoon weather to occur. Undergraduate research is promoting discovery- and inquiry-based education, and affects students' knowledge base, skills or attitude toward science and learning about meteorology and monsoon dynamics. The students run the Advanced Research WRF (ARW) model and perform analysis of the CAPE time series (before and after the monsoon onset) with the objective of studying if northern Gulf of Baja-California (GOC) sea surface temperatures (SSTs) exceeding about 29°C during surge events could support favorable monsoonal circulation and boundary layer conditions at adjacent gulf regions, and in the U.S. desert southwest. They relate a rapid increase in rainfall rate over Arizona and New Mexico to the Northern GOC SSTs exceeding 29°C. This is due to a moistening of the marine boundary layer, prior to and around sunrise, where buoyancy is derived from warmer SSTs and higher mixing ratios of water vapor. To summarize, the students analyze the tropospheric water content, total rain accumulation, CAPE and circulation changes over AZ during moisture surge events. Within the Monsoon, surge events exist which transport large amounts of moisture outward. These surge events, and CAPE are monitored and tracked by the students in the classroom using satellite remote sensing visible, infrared, water vapor imagery, and 24-hour precipitation accumulation retrieval products, plus satellite retrievals of the SSTs in the Gulf of Baja-California. Working with real research data teaches students how to describe and interpret complex graphical information for every case study. It helps them explore the significance of dynamics principles and boundary layer problems in the NAM variability studies. Writing and submitting a conference abstract and a paper to present their results helps students' writing skills and critical thinking. Students learn to use skills that help them understand how scientists analyze and present findings.
Discovery Improvements for SERC Website Visitors
Sean Fox, Carleton College
Sarah Fortner, Carleton College

Show Abstract »

The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) hosts materials from over 120 geoscience education projects. However, the project-focused nature of the SERC website means that information is siloed and users have difficulty navigating the full breadth of the collections. The Compass project addresses this challenge directly.Over the last year SERC has added a range of new features to improve the discovery experience. To help users find resources across project boundaries, we have expanded the deployment and enhanced the logic in our 'Pages you Might Like' feature which provides recommendations to users for content from other projects that might be of interest to them based on the materials they are currently viewing. We have also modified project-level search and navigation features in key project sites to enable visitors to more easily become aware of, and make use of, the Teach the Earth portal site that provides a cross-project view.A new 'Where I've Been' feature aims squarely at a common reported challenge. As visitors jump from project site to project site in search of the right resource it becomes difficult to return to material of interest. This new feature automatically tracks and displays one's recent exploration path: highlighting key pages and projects.Another goal of Compass is to support visitors in discovering high-quality Earth education resources that don't happen to be hosted by SERC. To this end we've partnered with groups that have developed and host their own Earth education materials and who would like those materials to be discoverable by SERC visitors. A range of experiments are underway that allow direct discovery of these resources from within the existing SERC search and discovery tools.These developments reflect the initial round of Compass's efforts to improve discoverability. We'll be evaluating their impact and evolving them Compass continues.
SERC Support for Creating Accessible Earth Education Resources
Ashley Carlson, Carleton College
Maureen Kahn, Carleton College
Monica Bruckner, Carleton College
Sean Fox, Carleton College
mahdi mohamed, Carleton College
Carol Ormand Ph.D., Carleton College

Show Abstract »

A crucial component of equitable and inclusive courses is providing resources that meet the access needs of students and instructors. These needs vary widely and depend on ability/disability, assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers), and environmental situations (e.g. low bandwidth or loud working environments). The SERC (Science Education Resource Center) website hosts over 120 geoscience education projects and provides guidance on creating effective teaching materials. As part of the Compass project's goal to improve the discoverability of SERC-hosted materials, the project is improving accessibility of these materials. To this end, the project is developing new accessibility-focused guidance and is updating submission processes for resource contributors and content authors. These improvements are guided by user-centered design principles, the W3C WCAG2 (World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2), and the broad range of accessibility guidance developed by the geoscience education community. These changes to SERC tools and processes will improve the accessibility of SERC-hosted resources to educators and will support them in selecting and authoring resources that best meet the diverse needs of learners.
Greenland in your classroom - New college-level curriculum combines polar field data, 360-degree immersive field experiences and geospatial technologies
Twila Moon, University of Colorado at Boulder
Spruce Schoenemann, The University of Montana-Western
Alia Khan, Western Washington University
Anne Gold, University of Colorado at Boulder
Yixiao Lei, University of Colorado at Boulder
Daniela Pennycook, University of Colorado at Boulder
Emily Geraghty Ward, University of Colorado at Boulder

Show Abstract »

Earth's polar environments have undergone rapid change during the 21st century and scientists have generated important new data and made groundbreaking insights. Shrinking glaciers, melting sea ice, thawing permafrost. As rapid change continues at the poles, effects on other areas of the Earth system are likely to grow, and the influence of these changes will be felt on communities, economies, ecosystems, and business and politics. Yet for many undergraduate students, the polar regions feel far away and disconnected from our day to day lives. The new NSF-funded Polar Space and Place (PolarPASS) curriculum is designed to bring the polar regions to life in the undergraduate classroom. The curriculum consists of two modules with 4-5 units each and combines real polar field data from Greenland with innovative teaching methods to strengthen students' knowledge of polar science and build student connections to polar places. The units contain a series of 360-degree virtual experiences, field images, maps, geospatial data, and videos to immerse students in the place and dive into questions about timescales, seasonal and year-to-year change, and interconnected Earth system elements. Students gain geospatial analysis skills through inquiry-based spatial and temporal exercises, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that use Greenland-specific datasets and support learning about climate, ice, and the landscapes of our planet. The first module supports an exploration of the glacier basin system before diving into long-term spatial transformation of these systems within the second module. The project includes a research study to test whether these new teaching tools enhance student spatial and system-thinking skills, expand their knowledge about polar systems,and increase students' connection to Greenland. We are looking for beta testers (stipends included) to implement the curriculum in their undergraduate classes and participate in the research.
Incorporating Data, Inquiry, and Exploration into the Classroom with Project EDDIE
Monica Bruckner, Carleton College
Cailin Huyck Orr, Carleton College
Sarah Fortner, Carleton College
Kristin O'Connell, Carleton College

Show Abstract »

Project EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration) endeavors to engage students in inquiry and exploration using large, publicly-available data sets by providing a large collection of project-developed teaching materials as well as a professional development program that includes workshops, webinars, and other community-building experiences. Teaching materials include modules, statistical vignettes, and a set of video tutorials that feature software and statistical concept refreshers. The growing collection of more than 30 project-developed teaching modules are aimed at high school and undergraduate level students and span topics such as ecology, limnology, geoscience, hydrology, and environmental sciences. They can be coupled with project-developed, ready-to-use Statistical Vignettes to bring context to common quantitative skills. The classroom-ready modules include an instructor PowerPoint, instructor guide, student handout, and data set, and follow an A-B-C structure wherein students build toward increasing inquiry and independent exploration through a scaffolded approach. Modules developed through the project's professional development workshops have undergone a review process and have been tested in the classroom. Modules also have an accompanying "My EDDIE Experience" web page that documents how the module was implemented in the classroom, providing users with ideas for how modules can be adapted to fit their needs.Project EDDIE professional development programming includes webinars, meet-the-author events, a Faculty Mentoring Network, and workshops. These events provide professional development opportunities for those who participate. By design they incorporate strategies that build a community of educators that teach with data, inquiry, and exploration in their classroom. A Leadership Workshop in Fall 2022 will also aim to build leadership among Project EDDIE participants so the community can further the project's programming into the future. We invite you to check out the teaching materials and to take part in the community professional development events:https://serc.carleton.edu/eddie/index.html

Geoscience Education Research

Disconnects between Professors' Expectations and Students' Academic Abilities in an Undergraduate Geoscience Department
Sarah Lynn Redding, University of Florida
Anita Marshall, University of Florida

Show Abstract »

Student success in geology and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses can be negatively impacted by disconnects between professor expectations and student academic skills (Nicoll and Francisco, 2001; Bradford et al., 2018). Therefore, the objective of this geoscience education research is to identify perceived or actual mismatches between professor expectations of student academic abilities and their students' pre-existing academic abilities. When referencing professor expectations of student academic abilities, I explicitly refer to the skills and knowledge that professors expect their students to have upon admittance into their courses. To achieve this objective, I used a multi-phase approach that included administering surveys to professors and students in a geoscience department at an R1 university. Phase 1's survey identifies what, if any, weaknesses professors are seeing in their students, and I will present preliminary results from phase 1 of this research collected during the Spring 2022 semester. The overall goal of this research is to help bridge any gaps, either through sharing information with professors or assisting professors in determining appropriate curriculum changes. These changes should improve student success in their geology and STEM classes and encourage better overall program outcomes and goals.
Quantifying Spatial Thinking Abilities in Meteorology Students Across the Curriculum
Lauren Decker, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Casey Davenport, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Show Abstract »

Spatial thinking skills are essential to student success in disciplines such as geology, atmospheric science, and geography. In atmospheric science, skills such as mental animation, disembedding, and perspective taking have been shown to be particularly important for interpreting, understanding, and predicting the four-dimensional atmosphere. However, how students develop and improve such skills as they progress through the meteorology curriculum is unknown. In this study, the Spatial Thinking Abilities Test (STAT) is used to quantify the extent of spatial thinking abilities in undergraduate students enrolled in courses required for the meteorology major. Using a subset of 12 multiple choice questions, STAT is administered twice a semester in each course as a pre-test and post-test. In Spring 2022, data was collected from students across 5 courses. This presentation will discuss course-level gains in spatial thinking, and also provide comparisons in spatial thinking abilities across different courses and various demographic subgroups. Such analyses allow us to characterize how students' spatial thinking abilities changed or improved in each course and will help us identify where curriculum improvements could be made.
Assessing the impact of diagram detail on students understanding of hydrology
Daniel R. Curtis, Northern Illinois University
Nicole LaDue, Northern Illinois University
Megan Brown, Northern Illinois University

Show Abstract »

Geoscience education relies on figures and diagrams to convey visual and spatial information to students, but the effectiveness of those images can be difficult to assess. Additionally, an individuals' understanding of new spatial concepts is developed from a framework of their existing knowledge and can help or hinder development of newer concepts. Diagrams need to accurately convey information without over-simplification and without providing extraneous detail that muddies the intended message. For example, a common misconception held about groundwater is that it exists as underground pools or streams like how water is found on the Earth's surface. Many groundwater diagrams use a blue shaded area to represent the location of groundwater underground; however, this practice may reinforce the misconception that groundwater is underground pools or streams rather than filling pore space of rock and sediment.In this study, we assessed undergraduate students' knowledge of surface and groundwater features using diagrams to determine how different features of the diagrams might affect their answers. We designed the diagrams with varying levels of dimensionality and/or complexity with respect to color and texture, altering the amount of detail provided by the diagrams. Participants were recruited from undergraduate introductory Earth Science courses at two American universities and received extra credit for their participation. The majority of students surveyed were non-science majors taking their first Earth Science course. Seventeen multiple choice and click-on-diagram questions were administered at the beginning of the semester prior to instruction. Students were randomly assigned into one of three groups based on the sequence of the questions they received, to test for ordering affects in the variably complex diagram questions. The results of this study provide researchers, instructors, and instructional designers with evidence for the level of complexity that will maximize student understanding with ground and surface water diagrams.
Do students learn science best with hands-on activities in introductory geology labs?
Stephen Torres, California State University-Chico
Rachel Teasdale, California State University-Chico
Kelsey Bitting, Elon University
Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia

Show Abstract »

Laboratory activities provide opportunities to engage undergraduates in the "hands-on" portion of introductory courses. We conducted a study in which 11 teaching assistants (TAs) were asked a series of questions about teaching and learning in introductory geoscience courses using the Teaching Beliefs Inventory (1). One of the questions asked is, "How do your students learn science best?"; 61% of TAs interviewed indicated they believed hands-on learning helped their students learn science. The purpose of this study is to determine if TA's ideas of hands-on learning correlate with increased student learning we measured for their students. We first examined TA interview responses to define hands-on as physically interacting with an artifact, such as a rock or mineral. Using the TA definitions for hands-on, we compare learning in two introductory lab activities: plate tectonics (not hands-on) and minerals (hands-on), both of which were used in a face-to-face format. Based on fall 2021 pre-and post-course content survey responses, students had an average learning gain of 28% for plate tectonics and 50% for minerals. This comparison is consistent with improved learning in labs where students physically handle artifacts (hands-on). Because other factors may have influenced learning in each lab, additional work will examine student interest in online vs. face-to-face minerals and plate tectonic labs, the impact of the elapsed time between taking each lab and the post-survey and the format of plate tectonics labs (on paper vs. computer-based such as Google Earth). Our preliminary results suggest that to increase student learning, instructors should create labs that include hands-on artifacts whenever possible.(1) Luft & Roehrig, 2007
The EvaluateUR Methods: Improving learning outcomes, mentorship, and evaluation in independent undergraduate research, course-based research, and team competitions through metacognitive practice
Maureen Kahn, Carleton College
John Draeger, SUNY Buffalo State
Sean Fox, Carleton College
Jill Singer, SUNY Buffalo State
Daniel Weiler, SUNY Buffalo State
Jill Zande, Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center

Show Abstract »

Metacognition is central to student learning, encouraging learners to be aware of what they are doing and why, and to use that awareness to make intentional adjustments to learn more effectively. Undergraduate research experiences provide rich opportunities for students to learn new skills, develop scientific thought, and work independently and collaboratively. EvaluateUR serves education institutions across the U.S., providing statistically reliable assessments of student growth in specific outcome categories through online open-ended questions and assessments, arranged mentor-student meetings, and support. While this approach provides evidence for the benefit of research experiences in student learning, the primary benefit is to the participating student through the development of metacognitive skills. Across three programs designed for different settings, the EvaluateUR methods provide a structure for students to build and leverage metacognition to self-assess their progress and enhance their learning experience. Each version of EvaluateUR assesses a variety of outcome categories, such as communication skills or critical thinking, each defined by several components and scored online both by the student and their mentor. Automatically generated score reports are shared between the student and mentor pairs, and conversations are facilitated to help students understand their academic strengths and weaknesses, and to provide chances for reflection and improvement throughout the research experience. EvaluateUR is available by subscription for research programs and institutions facilitating independent undergraduate research. The modified EvaluateUR-CURE method provides assessment for course-based undergraduate research, assessing student learning gains in research settings more broadly accessible to STEM students. Evaluate-Compete is designed to help high school, community college, and college/university students participating in ROV (remotely underwater vehicle) competitions to improve their learning through this activity. Technical platforms have been developed and are in use for all three applications of EvaluateUR methods, and new users are encouraged to explore the resources and enroll at serc.carleton.edu/evaluateur.
How do College Geoscience Instructors Find Virtual Field Experiences?
Kristen Foley, Western Michigan University
Heather Petcovic, Western Michigan University

Show Abstract »

Virtual Field Experiences (VFEs) are a growing supplement and gateway to traditional fieldwork in the geosciences. With VFEs becoming more accepted for use in college geoscience courses, how instructors find and choose VFEs for their students is an important piece in creating greater accessibility and future resources. VFEs that are not easily accessed by instructors may go unused, and the effort put into making them would have been wasted. This phenomenological descriptive study utilized five focus groups of college geoscience instructors in the United States. Each 1 to 1.5 hour focus group session of 3-7 participants took place on video conferencing software, which was recorded for later transcription and analysis. Findings of this study suggest that instructors consider a wide range of digital resources to be VFEs, such as YouTube videos, gigapans, photos, websites, and open educational resources such as immersive virtual field trips. Results also show that instructors invest significant time to search for and adapt VFEs to meet their course needs because available VFEs, while containing quality content, fail to meet instructors' learning goals. Instructors recognize that VFEs provide diverse opportunities for students who may not otherwise be able to go into the field, and often find the resources they intend to use through their professional networks. Results of this study will help VFE developers understand what instructors want from virtual field experiences, enabling them to better design and market their products. Results will also contribute to a growing understanding of how geoscience instructors find and use VFEs and digital content to adapt traditional fieldwork to online teaching.
Development of a Hydrogeology Concept Inventory
Oluwarotimi Popoola, Western Michigan University
Leilani Arthurs, University of Colorado at Boulder
Nicole LaDue, Northern Illinois University
Joel Moore, Towson University
Peggy McNeal, Towson University
Heather Petcovic, Western Michigan University
Matt Reeves, Western Michigan University

Show Abstract »

Concept inventories are fundamental in assessing and evaluating student knowledge and understanding across science disciplines. In the earth sciences, existing inventories measure student understanding of introductory geoscience, oceanography, astronomy, meteorology, and mineralogy concepts. This study seeks to develop a concept inventory specific to hydrogeology. First, published literature, textbooks, and consultation with four experts were used to identify 14 key topics for an introductory hydrogeology course, such as hydraulic conductivity, hydraulic gradient and head, Darcy's law, porosity, water budget, and aquifer testing. Next, an initial set of more than 40 possible inventory items was generated from exams, formative class assessments, and other sources. Items were compared, consolidated when redundant, and slotted into the 14 topics with at least one item per topic. Expert review further reduced the instrument to 22 items, approximately half open-ended and half multiple-choice. To convert the open-ended items to multiple-choice, we collected written responses from students (n=21) enrolled in a summer hydrogeology field course. Semi-structured interviews (n=7) were conducted to determine whether students understood the items as intended and to probe their reasoning. Several items were further modified based on interview results. The current version of the instrument has 20 multiple-choice items and only one open-ended item and is in use as part of an expert-novice study of spatial thinking in hydrogeology. Our next steps in instrument development include large-scale deployment across multiple institutions for item response theory (IRT) Rasch analysis. Ultimately, after testing and validation, this hydrogeology concept inventory will provide a valuable tool for instructors and researchers in student assessment.