Initial Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Enhance Student Learning and Engagement

Opportunities to learn in the field are commonly cornerstone experiences for students in the geosciences. Instruction in the field presents unique and exciting ways to engage students with geoscience content. When field instruction is combined with robust pedagogical approaches, development of scientific habits of mind, and opportunities to build practical and professional skills, it can serve as a foundation for undergraduate geoscience education.

Use Strong Pedagogical Practices and Techniques

Learning in the field is inherently active and engaging. However, much like in the classroom, effective teaching activities are built on achievable learning goals, aligned assessment, and evidence-based instruction. Field settings provide enhanced opportunities to engage students with geoscience content, skills, and ways of thinking.

Develop Scientific Habits of Mind and Practical Skills

Field settings provide opportunities for students to "think like a geologist," requiring them to deal with large, dynamic, and complex systems; make decisions; self-monitor and self-regulate; iterate and integrate scientific approaches to inquiry; and perform other tasks not necessarily encountered in the classroom.

Incorporate Technology and Instrumentation

The increasing use of digital technologies has benefited field work in the geosciences. The incorporation of these technologies into field instruction can allow for deeper exploration, increased inclusivity, and preparation for the workforce when combined with strong pedagogy, learning goals, and assessment.

Teach Safety, Ethics, and Professionalism

Field settings come with a host of safety, ethics, and professionalism situations that are not necessarily encountered or addressed in the classroom. Training and preparation in these areas is needed in order to produce graduates that are well-prepared for research and the workforce.

Explore Existing Field Activities, Courses, and Guides

Educators taking students into the field are expected to consider logistics, safety, inclusion, and ethics in addition to pedagogy, an extensive list that can be challenging to address. Faculty have contributed their ideas and resources for taking students into the field so that other educators can benefit from existing ideas and opportunities.