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

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


MANDUCA, Cathryn, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057, TEWKSBURY, Barbara, Dept. of Geosciences, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Rd, Clinton, NY 13323, MOGK, David W., Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717 and MACDONALD, R. Heather, College William & Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, cmanduca@carleton.edu

To obtain a snapshot of current teaching practices in undergraduate geoscience courses “On the Cutting Edge” (the NSF funded professional development program sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers) surveyed geoscience faculty across the United States. The 2207 responses represent approximately 39% of survey recipients, a significant sample of geoscience faculty in the US. Responses indicate that there is no single introductory course or curriculum for majors but rather a wide array of course offerings both at the introductory level and for geoscience majors. While teaching methods remain dominated by lecture, more than 50% of respondents incorporate some interactive elements into their classes weekly or more often. Most commonly, these include questioning, demonstrations, discussions, and in-class exercises. Most students are asked to solve problems including quantitative ones as part of their courses. Writing and reading in the primary literature are used extensively in courses of all sizes. Assessment strategies are highly dependent on course size; however, students are more likely to be assessed through problem sets, oral presentations or papers in courses for majors. These data are encouraging, suggesting that recommendations for effective teaching practice that include strategies for active learning are being put into place in geoscience courses.