2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 172-21
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

TEACHING PALEONTOLOGY IN THE 21st CENTURY: RESOURCES FOR TEACHING PALEONTOLOGY AT THE UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL

YACOBUCCI, Margaret M., Dept of Geology, Bowling Green State Univ, 190 Overman Hall, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0211, LOCKWOOD, Rowan, Department of Geology, College of William and Mary, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187, rxlock@wm.edu, TEWKSBURY, Barbara J., Dept of Geosciences, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY 13323-1218, MACFADDEN, Bruce J., Informal Science Education, Lifelong Learning Cluster, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230, and ALLMON, Warren D., Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850-1398

In summer 2009, the NSF-funded project "On the Cutting Edge" held a workshop in Ithaca, NY on "Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century". Sixty-five faculty from colleges and universities across the country attended. The workshop brought together faculty who teach paleontology to explore a wide variety of topics related to teaching paleontology effectively both in paleontology courses and other courses in geoscience and bioscience curricula. Participants discussed course goals and organization, explored strategies for promoting paleontology to students and colleagues, considered the challenges associated with teaching evolution, developed a list of resources for digital learning, and shared exemplary laboratory, classroom, museum, and field activities. We are developing an extensive on-line collection of these resources for general use. You can submit materials to these collections or access submitted materials via the following site: http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/paleo/index.html.

In-depth surveys of workshop participants revealed that 61% of their departments classify paleontology as an elective, as opposed to required, course and that 27% of courses are explicitly cross-listed with other departments. Course prerequisites are diverse, with most courses requiring at least one prerequisite (commonly physical and/or historical geology). About 87% of courses include a lab component, although faculty are increasingly incorporating lab activities into lecture time. About one-third of courses are taxon-oriented, rather than organized by concept. The two most commonly used textbooks are authored by Prothero (31%) and Foote and Miller (15%), although a number of participants are undecided (14%) or choose to use no textbook (10%). Most participants are currently not using digital resources (software, online databases, Web tools) in their courses. Geological applications of paleontology, such as biostratigraphy, are not emphasized as strongly as biological topics. Although evolution is cited as one of the most important concepts students should master, many participants identified phylogenetics as an especially difficult concept for students to grasp and few participants chose to submit evolution-based activities, emphasizing a need for curricular development in this area.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 172--Booth# 111
Paleontology: Morphology, Systematics, & Education (Posters)
Oregon Convention Center: Hall A
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 455

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