Rachel Teasdale: Using Monitoring Volcanoes and Communicating Risks in Volcanology at California State University-Chico
About this CourseThis is an upper division elective for students who are majoring (or earning a minor) in geology. Students are typically juniors or seniors (with instructor-approved exceptions).
Course topics are explored using in-class group work, lab-style activities and field observations and interpretations. Instructor curated readings (and point-earning Reading Logs) are offered to students before each class period to prepare them for class activities. The format of GETSI Monitoring Volcanoes and Communicating Risks (MVCR) module activities are a good example of course activities throughout the semester.
I have used other InTeGrate modules in my large-enrollment introductory geology course, which I had in mind while writing the MVCR module but it was fun to see the volcanology students so engaged in learning data types and discussing the nuances of evolving eruption scenarios and the interpretations and implications of the data they examined.
My Experience Teaching with GETSI MaterialsI had the unusual (for me) experience of a small enrollment course (8 students) so had to adapt the module to accommodate smaller groups. Fortunately, with 75 minute class periods, student groups were able to accomplish more activities in each unit without sacrificing group size. For example, in Unit 4, I used two groups of 4 students but had each group examine two sets of data so that all data could be considered.
Relationship of GETSI Materials to my Course
I used the MVCR module individually, in weeks 6 (Unit 1), week 7 (Unit 2), week 13 (Unit 3) and week 14 (Unit 4) of the 15 week semester. The distribution of the units throughout the semester was to put the units in context of other topics (e.g. Effusive Eruptions in weeks 5-7 and Explosive Eruptions (week 13) and Eruption Hazards (weeks 14-15). Students had been introduced to volcano types and general eruption styles (e.g. effusive, explosive), but the MVCR units helped provide details of eruption monitoring, hazards and risks.
AssessmentsThe eruption bulletin had the most varied quality of response. Because the assignment (week 5) was before students had completed other written "summative reports" for the course. The quality may have been improved if they had received feedback on other similar assignments. That said, some students truly situated their report in the role-playing context (one even created USGS letterhead).
Letters to the concerned scientists regarding a possible eruption of Yellowstone were data rich for my students. I expect some introductory level/non-geology major students will produce less thorough responses.