calendar Add meeting dates to your calendar.


Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM


KIRK, Karin B., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057, MANDUCA, Cathryn A., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057 and HIRT, William H., Biological and Physical Sciences, College of the Siskiyous, 800 College Avenue, Weed, CA 96094,

Teaching online presents great opportunities along with new challenges for students and faculty alike. Although the virtual classroom has much in common with traditional courses, specific strategies are needed to make the most of this new frontier in education. The On the Cutting Edge faculty development program convened a workshop about online teaching in the geosciences that included faculty who are experienced with online and hybrid teaching as well as those who were planning new online courses. In keeping with the theme, the workshop was held online and thus was able to demonstrate and explore methods for collaborating with a virtual audience.

The workshop provided one of the first opportunities for geoscience faculty to connect with other practitioners of online teaching, many of whom are the only ones in their department who have ventured into the virtual classroom. A wide range of ideas were shared during the workshop including strategies for course design and assessment, examples of successful assignments and projects, software to more easily communicate with students, and tips to avoid “cut and paste” assignments and detect plagiarism.

An important outcome from the workshop is a set of web pages that describe best practices for online teaching. These pages represent the combined wisdom of the workshop participants and can serve as helpful guides for faculty who are engaged in teaching online and provide a starting point for those who are designing their first online or hybrid courses. For example, creating active and interactive experiences for students can prevent online learning from feeling isolated and static. Approaches such as natural hazards simulations, case studies, and collaborative projects can add interactivity and relevance to the experience. Online discussions can serve many functions in a course: to connect with students, to allow for thoughtful discourse on complex topics, and to provide a forum for students to share their thoughts and experiences with each other. Traditional lab activities such as rock and mineral identification, simple experiments, and interactive models can all be designed to create a valuable laboratory component in a virtual lab.

All of the materials produced by the workshop can be found at

Meeting Home page GSA Home Page