Initial Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Design Successful Student Field Experiences

Field experiences provide impactful learning and growth opportunities for students in the geosciences and allied fields. There are many benefits ascribed to instruction in the field, including opportunities for learning in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains; exploration at varied spatio-temporal scales; development of scientific thinking skills and habits of mind; and recruitment and retention of students. Despite these perceived benefits, field experiences can also present barriers for students that can impede their participation in the geosciences. In order to produce graduates who are diverse, capable, and professional, it is important that students have opportunities to participate in safe, accessible, positive, and impactful field experiences.

The collection of resources showcased here provide strategies and insights for building strong field experiences from NAGT sponsored programs as well as other projects and partners in the discipline. Designing field experiences can involve consideration of many overlapping and dynamic factors, and there are multiple possible approaches to achieving success. These resources reflect this diversity of approaches and can be adapted, modified, and combined to help faculty and departments create robust field programming for their students and specific contexts.

Enhance Student Learning and Engagement

When field instruction is combined with strong pedagogy, development of scientific habits of mind, and opportunities to build practical skills, it can serve as a cornerstone for undergraduate geoscience education.

Support All Students in the Field

There are a number of strategies faculty and departments can take to support the success and inclusion of all students in field settings.

Design for Safety and Minimize Risk

By taking steps to design safe field experiences and prepare students for the field, faculty and departments can provide positive learning and growth opportunities for all students.

What is this?

These pages are a synthesis of advice on teaching geoscience in the field, made possible by work from faculty members and administrators involved in many programs sponsored by NAGT as well as partners in the discipline. Projects with resources featured in these pages include: ADVANCEGeo Partnership, Bringing Research on Learning to the Geosciences, Google Earth for Onsite and Distance Education (GEODE), GET Spatial Learning, GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues (GETSI), InTeGrate STEP Center project, Integrating Research and Education, On the Cutting Edge, Teaching GeoEthics Across the Geoscience Curriculum, Teaching with Augmented and Virtual Reality, Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education in Two-year Colleges (SAGE 2YC), and Starting Point: Teaching Introductory Geoscience. External projects and partners with resources in this collection include the Geological Society of America, the International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD), NAGT Far Western Section, National Park Service, Flyover Country, Stereonet Mobile, and StraboSpot. Resources from beyond the geosciences have been included from Pedagogy in Action.

Other Resources

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