2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 97-19
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF INTERDISCIPLINARY FIELD STUDIES FOR GENERAL STUDENT POPULATIONS AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES

WOLFE, Benjamin A., MARTIN, Todd C., and KITCHELL, Sean K., Department of Natural Sciences, Metropolitan Community College-Blue River, 20301 E. 78 Highway, Independence, MO 64057, benjamin.wolfe@mcckc.edu

Two-year colleges and open access institutions face a difficult struggle in teaching college level science curriculum to often under-prepared students, many of whom require developmental coursework in English, reading, and mathematics. Most of these students are non-science majors pursuing general education coursework for transfer to four-year schools. Many approach the sciences with pre-conceived negative attitudes and low self-confidence. The challenge is to make science stimulating and engaging for these students. This also includes helping students understand the relationship between all the sciences. Incorporation of interdisciplinary field studies into the science curriculum can achieve this goal.

To measure the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary geology and biology field study at Metropolitan Community College – Kansas City in increasing student confidence and improved attitudes of science, a basic interpretive qualitative method was used. Qualitative analysis is an effective method to understand a phenomenon, process, or perspectives of individuals involved.

Student participants in the study reported positive feelings towards science related topics and an understanding of the relationship between geology and biology. They also reported increased confidence in doing science they previously thought they couldn’t do. Student participants also conveyed increased interest in pursuing science related degrees at transfer institutions. Our findings show interdisciplinary field studies actively engage students in scientific inquiry. They illustrate links between fields of study and they provide students with positive, successful experiences with science. Our results suggest these interdisciplinary activities will result in greater scientific literacy and an increase in the pursuit of STEM degrees at transfer institutions.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 97--Booth# 71
Geoscience Education (Posters) II
Minneapolis Convention Center: Hall C
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 256

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