2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM

The Relationship Between Cognitive and Affective Domains in Introductory, Field-Based Geology Courses

ELKINS, Joe T., Department of Earth Sciences, University of Northern Colorado, Box 100, Greeley, CO 80639, joe.t.elkins@gmail.com

For several years changes in the cognitive domain of introductory geology students in entirely field-based courses- GeoJourney at Bowling Green State University and The University of Georgia Interdisciplinary Field Program- have been assessed using the Geoscience Concept Inventory. Both field programs travel across country using national parks and public lands as the field sites to teach introductory concepts in geology. Effect size for students in these courses remain high on the GCI (over .80) when used as a summative assessment. Concordantly, a Likert-scale instrument was developed to measure changes in student “novelty space” (Orion and Hofstein, 1994) called the “Novelty Space Survey”. This instrument assesses student perceptions of their familiarity of critical factors/domains that affect student learning in field environments: cognitive, geographic, psychological, and social. Student novelty space decreased in each of the four areas with the greatest changes occurring in the cognitive domain, in this case measuring what students think the know about geology. This measure of what students think they know about geology is in contrast to their scores on the GCI which actually measures what they do know about the basic geoscience concepts. Additional research on behavioral proxies for novelty space, or student behaviors in the field learning environment that indicate how novel a particular experience is, shows that taking photographs is a proxy for some domains of novelty space. Specifically students took more pictures of subject matter that the students relate to geographic novelty and social novelty. Changes in student novelty space as measured by the Novelty Space Survey indicate a connection between decreasing novelty space and large effect sizes on the GCI.