2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


BATTLES, Denise A., School of Chemistry, Earth Sciences, and Physics, University of Northern Colorado, College of Natural and Health Sciences, Gunter Hall 1000, Campus Box 134, Greeley, CO 80639, HUDAK, Jane Rhoades, Department of Art, Georgia Southern University, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, P.O. Box 8142, Statesboro, GA 30460-8142 and ZINSKIE, Cordelia D., Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading, Georgia Southern University, P.O. Box 8144, College of Education, Statesboro, GA 30460-8144, denise.battles@unco.edu

An introductory-level art and geology course has been developed and offered at Georgia Southern University. The course is an adaptation of one originally designed as an honors seminar. Through this adaptation, the instructors, a geologist and art educator, sought to create a course appropriate for the core curriculum, providing an alternative to the traditional physical geology class. Central to course design was the incorporation of pedagogical "best practices." The course has a studio format featuring integration of lecture and hand-on application activities, case studies, problem-solving, and group work. Each module focuses on a specific theme (e.g., ice age cave art) or art medium (sculpture, jewelry, etc.) through which art and geology connections and concepts are explored.

To support the teaching of this and other such courses, the instructors are engaged in an educational materials development project. Two prototypal chapters of an envisioned textbook were developed and pilot-tested in a spring 2005 class. The class was the setting for a structured evaluation that examined: students' attitudes toward the materials, whether they affected learning, the degree to which they were successfully implemented, and the impact on students' attitudes toward geology. Evaluation elements included a concepts quiz, attitude surveys, interviews, class observations, review of course documents and student grades, and comparisons with a traditional physical geology class. Students had generally high levels of satisfaction with regard to the emphasis on geological concepts, collaborations among students, in-class activities and exercises, class discussions, and instructor/student interactions supported by the chapters and lesser satisfaction with review/application questions and difficulty of material covered. Student performance on the geological concepts quiz was slightly lower than, but not significantly different from, that of the physical geology students; however, attitudes toward geology were somewhat less favorable. An important finding is that gender appears to be a factor in student learning, with several evaluation components indicating a positive impact of this approach on female students.

This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0231106.