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About Starting Point

The Starting Point project is exploring the ability of on-line resources to catalyze improvements in undergraduate teaching. Our goal is to develop a resource that intimately integrates pedagogy with teaching resources and fully supports a virtual community of educators. We attempt to bridge the gap between information about teaching methods and the everyday experiences of geoscience faculty by providing geoscience specific arguments and examples. In every case, we try to provide all of the information needed for a faculty member or graduate student to make an informed decision about the methodology that they use in a particular teaching situation, and to implement a technique easily and well.

Our site was first launched on July 22, 2003 with two sections: Teaching with Models and Using Socratic Questioning.

Starting Point was funded by a two-year grant from the NSF National Science Digital Library program which is administered by the Division of Undergraduate Education in the Education and Human Resources Directorate (Grant # 0226243).

The site content and navigation are created collaboratively by the Project PIs and Editors who are well known as leaders in geoscience education.

Two new projects building on the materials and model of the original Starting Point project have been developed:

  • Pedagogy in Action a broad multidisciplinary portal to information on teaching methods that encompasses the original geoscience focused material in this site as well as materials from other disciplines including materials developed by:
  • Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics a portal with the same structure focused on pedagogies and activities relevant to economics educators.

Project PIs


The technical infrastructure is created by the staff of the Science Education Resource Center under the direction of Sean Fox at Carleton College. Project and product evaluation are done in consulation with Flora McMartin.

The Starting Point site is technically a portal to the Starting Point digital library collection. It is created using the SERC content management system which incorporates the DLESE Collection Service. (Manduca and Fox, 2003)

Opportunities to Participate

  • We invite you to contribute examples of the ways in which you use the methods described in this site in your teaching. If you would like to submit an example, please contact the module editor.
  • We are actively seeking participants in the formative evaluation of our site. If you would like to become part of our review team please contact Cathy Manduca
  • There are limited opportunities to join the project as an editor. If you are interested in authoring a module and willing to commit one month of time, please contact Cathy Manduca

Contact Us

  • About the project: Cathy Manduca cmanduca@carleton.edu
  • About the website: Sean Fox sfox@carleton.edu

Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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