Redesign of the Structural Geology Course Using Structural Analyses for Student Learning

Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm SERC Building - Atrium | Poster #14
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session


Daniel Lao-Davila, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
Frances Alvarado-Albertorio, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
The Structural Geology course is a core course in many geology programs. However, available textbooks can seem overwhelming, as they cover a wide range of content. The course was first designed following forward design principles and taught linearly, with topics presented in the order shown on the contents page of Fossen's (2016) Structural Geology textbook. That order began with difficult topics such as "Deformation, Strain, and Stress". The course was redesigned using backward design to focus on applied learning objectives based on Bloom's taxonomy and to improve student learning. The redesign was inspired by Peacock and Sanderson's (2018) "Structural analyses and fracture network characterisation: Seven pillars of wisdom". The new course design is focused on conducting structural geology analyses. The course now follows the seven pillars of Peacock and Sanderson (2018), which consist of steps to conduct a structural analysis. These steps are Basic Geologic Descriptions, Geometric Analysis, Analysis of Age Relationships, Kinematic Analysis, Tectonic Analysis, Mechanical Analysis, and Fluid Flow Analysis. Although the same topics in Fossen (2016) are covered, they are distributed differently. For example, deformation and strain are now part of the Kinematic Analysis pillar, whereas stress is now part of the Mechanical Analysis pillar. The course now covers, advanced topics such as fluid flow and fractures. Learning activities include frequent structural geology analyses related to the field trips, laboratory work, and the final project. First impressions suggest that the new design gives context and meaning to the topics learned, scaffolds student learning from basic principles to advanced concepts, and encourages collaborative learning and reflection. However, the course will undergo research to investigate the effectiveness of the new course design on student learning.