2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


FERRELL, Ray E., Jr, Louisiana State Univ, E235 Howe-Russell, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4101, rferrell@lsu.edu

The future of online geoscience education(OGE) is “virtually” without limit! The last 10 years have witnessed a revolution in the use of computer-based technologies to improve instruction and learning in introductory geoscience classes. Current practices augur well for a future filled with imaginative means to enhance comprehension by students with diverse learning styles in a more interactive environment. Progress has been accomplished in part by the use of the Web and course development templates similar to Blackboard or WebCT. Experiences in the use of these and a locally developed product for course management and content presentation have been exciting. The ability to obtain an instant review of class performance and projected grade is a surprising incentive for student participants. Multimedia files of lecture-style presentations make a wealth of visual information available for learners. “Chat-room” style discussions of class topics encourage group exchange of ideas and an assessment tool for the instructor. Access to virtual laboratories and databases facilitate learning. Informal evaluation indicates general student enthusiasm and broader comprehension of the scientific principles. Visual and quantitative geoscience instruction should continue to benefit from the improved databases and exercises that the future will bring via the Web. A major challenge is to provide a peer-review filter for the veracity of online information available to the learner.