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

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


KIRKBY, Kent C.1, MORIN, Paul2, RAPP, David3, FRIESEN, Benjamin4, BAUMTROG, Jill4, CULPEPPER, Steven3 and CHEN, Amy P.2, (1)Geology & Geophysics, Univ of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0219, (2)Department of Geology and Geophysics, Univ of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0219, (3)Department of Educational Psychology, Univ. of Minnesota, 178 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0219, (4)National Ctr for Earth-surface Dynamics, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, 2 Third Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, kirkby@umn.edu

For the past two years, the Introductory Geology program at the University of Minnesota has tried to determine how anaglyph maps change students' perception of mapped surfaces and the maps' impact on course logistics and pedagogy. As part of this study, over 500 students have volunteered to complete 1.5-hour extra credit map study exercises. These were in addition to observations of the maps use in classroom activities and measured student performance on class quizzes.

The extra credit map study sessions were based on four versions of a topographic map that included: a traditional contour map, a shaded contour map, a color anaglyph contour map and a shaded color anaglyph contour map. Shaded maps used darker hues to mimic shadows that accentuate topographic features' relief, while students working with the anaglyph maps used glasses with colored lens to see the maps in stereo, as three-dimensional surfaces. In each map study session, students worked independently, using one of the map versions to answer suites of questions designed to test their understanding of the topography of the land surface in the map areas. Although each student only saw and worked with one of the four map versions, at the end of the session they were shown all four versions of the maps and asked to critique and rank the four versions in terms of their effectiveness and the students' preference for which map version they would choose to work with.

Although the study is ongoing, several conclusions are already apparent. (1)Anaglyph maps dramatically reduced the time necessary to teach students how to read and work with contour maps. (2)Anaglyph maps dramatically increased students' willingness to work with contour maps. (3)Anaglyph maps significantly increased students' accuracy on questions relating to the geometry of the mapped land surface. (4) Students working with stereo anaglyph maps tended to ‘see' and consider more of the map area to answer questions than those working with non-stereo traditional maps. (5) Although both instructors and students overwhelmingly preferred the shaded map versions, there was no statistically significant improvement in students' accuracy using shaded map versions.

This work was sponsored in part by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education.