Christopher Berg: GEOL 1121 (Physical Geology) at the University of West Georgia
About this Course
An introductory course for non-majors.
Course Syllabus - Fall 2016 (Acrobat (PDF) 49kB Jul5 17)
Revising a Course with InTeGrate Materials
My course is a 16-week introductory geology lecture course that is taught in a traditional classroom / lecture hall setting. Before taking part in this project, I had been dissatisfied with the level of student engagement and interest in the material, and I was seeking ways to make geologic concepts more immersive and relevant to my students, for whom this class could be their only exposure to the geosciences. As part of this course revision, I replaced approximately half of my traditional lecture content with InteGrate modules and units. I found that by incorporating the student materials into a course packet, integrating readings and assignments into my online CMS, and using in-class polling techniques, I could successfully adapt most of the activities to my large-lecture (70-110 seat) classroom setting. Students gained an appreciation for the natural resources our society depends upon (mineral, water, energy) that they previously took for granted, and the challenges related to preparing for and mitigating natural hazard threats and their wide-reaching impacts.
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate MaterialsI found that the students, once they got used to the fact that they were responsible for analyzing the data and making their own interpretations and drawing their own conclusions (and not the instructor), really enjoyed the active-learning tasks. Many of the student comments I received on my course evaluations indicated that they had a new perspective on the issues related to resource availability and natural hazards, and how events on the other side of the world could truly impact their daily lives. The modules and activities are flexible and can be easily modified to fit the context of the specific class and its needs. Whenever possible, I modified pre-class and post-class assignments as self-grading quizzes or open discussions on my CMS platform. Most handouts were included in a course packet that was made available to students.
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course
The 16-week course was heavily modified by incorporation of module activities: general rock cycle principles were incorporated into the Humans' Dependence on Earth's Mineral Resources module; content related plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, ocean crust, deformation and mountain building were merged with the Living on the Edge module; portions of other modules were used to supplement content related to weathering, rivers and streams, groundwater, and shoreline processes.