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

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


DOYLE, Briget C.1, APPLEBEE, Gina1, NUSBAUM, Robert L.2 and RHODES, Elizabeth K.2, (1)Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 66 George St, Charleston, SC 29424, (2)Geology and Enviormental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 66 George St, Charleston, SC 29424, doyleb@cofc.edu

Geology is by its nature a field science. For most students, field courses are an important part of their academic experience. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other federal regulations require that courses, including field-based courses, be made available to all students with disabilities. Students with visual impairments, however, often find geologic field experiences confusing, frustrating, and dangerous, even with the assistance of a service dog.

During the summer of 2005, the College of Charleston Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences had the opportunity to include a student with a visual impairment in a three-week summer field course in Utah, Nevada, and California. The Center for Disability Services at the College of Charleston hired a member of the geology faculty to serve as a sighted guide and field instructor for the student.

A variety of methods to assist the student in understanding and mapping the field geology were employed. It was determined prior to the course that many of the methods that were successful in classroom environments would not adequately translate to field work, therefore a variety of different instructional techniques were explored. Some of the methods used in the field included: photography; drawn illustrations; tablet PCs for field work and mapping; specialized software for viewing and listening to digital versions of assignments; and verbal descriptions of the geology of the area. Some of the methods proved quite successful, while others were found to be inadequate for the particular field tasks.