THE “TOP-DOWN” APPROACH: A COURSE DESIGN TO STIMULATE MINORITY INTEREST IN GEOSCIENCE
The six-week, eight-semester credit hour course incorporates presentations by 10 LSU faculty, Judith Schiebout of the LSU Museum of Natural History, and Lance Lambert, GAEMP coordinator from the UT at San Antonio. Each segment begins at the top with an introduction to the current research interests and accomplishments of the professor and then works down to the basic principles and concepts presented in the textbook. In a typical course module, Byerlys research on extraterrestrial impacts during the Archean provided the entrée for a study of volcanism and the origin and properties of the core, mantle, and crust. The emphasis on problem solving through research provides a common thread that students can relate to their own areas of study and illustrates why a broad knowledge of fundamental relationships is important in all disciplines. The course material is presented to appeal to the visual, tactile and verbal learning styles of students. Illustrated slide shows tie field trips and hands-on activities to text material. Individual and group activities provide a means for students to demonstrate their communication skills. The response of the students suggests that they have inherited the professors enthusiasm for research and many have become involved in post-course collaborative research projects and have indicated an interest in pursuing graduate studies in geoscience. They are eager to explore how their skills and knowledge acquired in other disciplines can be applied to geology and geophysics.
GAEMP is supported by NSF-OEDG award GEO-0303138.