2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 97-23
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


TURNER, Sheldon P.1, STEFFKE, Christy2, PERSON, Deanna2, and LIBARKIN, Julie3, (1) Institute for the Study of Environment, Sustainability, and Energy, Northern Illinois University, 321 Health Services Building, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 48824, sheldonpturner@gmail.com, (2) Geocognition Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, Department of Geological Sciences, 206 Natural Sciences, East Lansing, MI 48824, (3) Geocognition Research Laboratory, 206 Natural Science, East Lansing, MI 48824

The vast majority of geoscience lab experiences, whether for geoscience majors or non-science majors, occur within a traditional laboratory classroom setting. Generally, field experiences are either not offered in laboratories, are offered as stand-alone extra credit opportunities, or are limited to one field excursion per course. Exceptions do exist, notably in geographic areas with sufficient rock outcrops or through alternative approaches like virtual fieldtrips. The reconstruction of a physical science lab for non-science majors, taken by 1000 students per year, offered an opportunity for students to engage in a real-world river setting located on campus. We quickly recognized the importance of considering a diverse student population during the redesign, including students with mobility impairments. A “mobility impaired student” means, to us, any student who is limited in their ability to walk or climb because of limited leg or foot function. For the purposes of instruction, this includes those with permanent impairments, such as quadriplegics, through those with temporary impairments. We identified wheelchair accessible areas near the river, provided explicit training for graduate teaching assistants on ways to accommodate students with impairments, and used a spy camera to videotape a student engaging in all lab activities for the use by students who would need additional time with the material. We found that consideration of mobility impairments was quite easy to integrate early in the curriculum planning process, and similarly expect to modify materials to accommodate other types of student disabilities in the future. Course design that explicitly considers all types of students is one of our best means to increase diversity in the geosciences.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 97--Booth# 75
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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