What I want instructors to know: Students sharing experiences and perspectives on learning science in field settings and beyond

Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm Quad
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session


Sarah Sherman, University of British Columbia
Laura Lukes, University of British Columbia
Silvia Mazabel, University of British Columbia
EaSEIL student partners, University of British Columbia
The Earth Science Experiential and Indigenous Learning (EaSEIL) project is a three-year initiative at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) that creates space for instructors, students, staff, and community members to develop and transform field-based experiential learning. From surveys and discussions with instructors during EaSEIL instructor (n=20) Community of Practice meetings, we (authors) identified four field-based teaching and learning questions to partner with students on; 1) What fosters students' comfort and feelings of belonging in these settings? 2) What are students' needs, experiences, and aspirations related to the intersection of field courses and Indigenous-related course content? 3) How can field experiences be more accessible? and 4) How can instructors foster more effective small-group learning activities in field settings?. Student participants (n=17; 14 undergraduate, 3 graduate in science and engineering programs) were recruited through department listservs and word of mouth to share their learning experiences and propose structures, teaching strategies, and resources to further support their science learning in field settings. Focus groups were held for all topics (1-6 students in each), but the last one had one focus group. Most students attended for more than one topic. The structure of each focus group consisted of providing questions about general science learning and field settings specifically in a written format first, so the students had time to think on their own and write down their answers, followed by guided discussions about each written question. After each session, the students were sent a summary document and asked to provide feedback (clarification, additional suggestions, edits). Our poster will share the preliminary highlights from these documents that can inform the practice of instructors whether teaching in field, lab, or classroom settings.