2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 25-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


JUDGE, Shelley A.1, COLLINSON, James W.2, ELLIOT, David H.2, and WILSON, Terry J.2, (1) Department of Geology, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691, sjudge@wooster.edu, (2) School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210

In 1947, Edmund Spieker established Ohio State University’s field geology course in Ephraim, Utah. For 65 years, generations of OSU students have spent their summers on central Utah’s complex Mesozoic-Cenozoic geology learning how to gather data, map, and interpret. This ‘professional training course’, as Spieker envisioned it, has been sustained through several generations of field camp directors and instructors, educating nearly 1500 undergraduates. In Spieker’s view, “the key to successful field education is to put the responsibility to see, to think, to relate, and to conclude onto the student, rather than have teachers point and tell. His staff was expected to advise by querying students until they saw their own path to answers” (Weiss 1995).

Through the years, OSU faculty have maintained this founding purpose, refining course pedagogy and assessment strategies of measurable skills. By systematic, reflective learning, students improve their professional techniques and dialogue skills and develop an awareness of the geologic narrative of central Utah.

Ohio State’s field camp is purposeful in its pedagogical use of scaffolding and sequencing field-based strategies for student-centered inquiry and instruction. Many strategies in practice relate to Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory (ZPD, zone of proximal development), which emphasizes the academic maturation from novice learner to content mastery under the guidance of faculty who consciously push students through individualized instruction to take charge of their learning. Because students work in the same stratigraphic sequence for most of the mapping exercises during the summer, each activity at OSU’s field camp intentionally builds upon past experiences and prior stratigraphic and structural knowledge, allowing students to move from a pedagogical instructional level at the beginning of field camp toward a mastery level by the end.

Five major mapping assignments that increase in complexity are the framework for our field-based scaffolding and sequencing. These five scaffolds are supplemented with two regional cross-sections that increase student understanding of the regional geology. In recent years, supplemental computer-based exercises using collected field data, have increased our scaffolds to include technology-based activities.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 25--Booth# 5
Geoscience Education (Posters) I
Minneapolis Convention Center: Hall C
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Sunday, 9 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 76

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