Explore Teaching Examples | Provide Feedback

Remote Sensing

This material was originally created for On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Dallas Rhodes, Georgia Southern University
Course: Remote Sensing
30 students
Connecting course topics to students' lives is an effective strategy to motivate their learning.

The Activity

Because remote sensing and electromagnetic radiation appear daunting to most, I use examples to explain that we are all remote sensers and have a great deal of practical knowledge about EM (electromagnetism).

For example, after defining remote sensing as the acquisition and analysis of information about a target at a distance, I ask if anyone has done remote sensing. Most say, "No." Then I ask them about the five human senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste) and ask them if any of those involve remote sensing, which of course the first three do. I then suggest to them that we always encounter the unknown remotely if we have any choice about it; first through sight, then through sound, and only when we are comfortable enough with the information from those senses do we approach closely enough to smell. Increased comfort may lead to touch and only when we are completely at ease do we apply taste. We are all doing remote sensing all the time. The purpose of the course is to extend their remote sensing abilities to parts of the EM spectrum for which humans have no direct access.