2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


DICK, Jeffrey C., Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Youngstown State Univ, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555, jcdick@ysu.edu

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Youngstown State University offers an undergraduate field-based course, Field Investigations in Geology, in conjunction with the College of the Bahamas Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, the Bahamas. The goals of the course are to: 1) develop an understanding of specific geological and marine science concepts, 2) develop basic geologic field and research skills, and 3) develop and improve oral communication skills. These goals are achieved through the design, execution, and presentation of a variety of mini research projects. The success in achieving the course goals is assessed on the basis of pre-course and post-course knowledge surveys, evaluations of student performance, and judgment of final presentation quality and content by an independent panel.

The spring 2004 course drew fifteen students from nine different degree programs with disparate scientific interests and experience. Six separate research projects involving coastal processes, global positioning, computer assisted mapping, tide and wave energy, carbonate geology, and coastal change were assigned to a pair of student leaders based on their personal character, experience, and interests. The leader pairs oversaw data collection performed by the entire class, and were responsible for data analysis and interpretation as well as the formal presentation of the research project and results at an undergraduate research forum sponsored by Youngstown State University.

Two research projects, “Changing Coastline at Sandy Point” and “Salt-water Encroachment Due to Overproduction in the Cockburn Town Aquifer” are analyzed in terms of teaching philosophy, learning outcomes, student attitudes, and overall project success in an effort to develop a sense of how and why field-based learning is successful.