Initial Publication Date: May 25, 2017

Aida Farough, Kansas State University

From your experience, what practices make for excellent online Earth Science learning?

I use many hands on activities that students submit along side the chapter assignments. In introductory classes I focus alot on how the scientific method is used in geosciences and I allow the students to learn geology based on their own experience. So the diversity of backgrounds always helps alot.
In the beginning of the semester I asked the students about how they think an online coruse is different froma face-to-face course and in the middle of the semester I do a voluntary course evaluation to get a sense of where there is a need for changes in the course structure. This helps tremendously in increasing motivation and getting them excited and engaged in the course.

How do you utilize technological tools (Google Earth, topical databases, blogging, etc.) in your online courses?

I use digital poster softwares (such as piktochart and etc.)and microsoft word and excel. I also use NOAA dataset on CO2 concentrations and USGS real time earthquake monitoring website. I have not used google Earth mainly because I think it might be too complicated for some students, but I would love to learn how others use it in introductory courses.

How do you manage student engagement and assessment in your online courses?

I engage students with multiple hands on activities (At least one activity per chapter) apart from the readings, assignments and exams. These activities provide some extra information and better understanding on some important topics of each chapter.
I regularly send emails to remind them of important deadlines and hints to some questions to keep them engaged.