TEACHING MINERALOGY AT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Developing a course from scratch can be a daunting challenge; determining the approach to take for this course benefited greatly from the support of colleagues and ideas exchanged at the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) On the Cutting Edge, Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty 2011 workshop in "Teaching Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry in the 21st Century." Emphasis at the workshop was placed on activity based teaching in the classroom and also in the field. Success was realized quickly in this course using the "Just In Time" instructional method of knowledge and immediate practice available in a draft Introductory Mineralogy Lab Manual by Dr. Julia Nord, Associate Professor, George Mason University (also in this Special Topics Section). All of these great ideas and active teaching strategies have been infused into this 2YC Mineralogy course focusing on physical and optical identification of the rock forming minerals and common rocks in the lab as well as taking advantage of the great natural exposures available in Virginia and Maryland to teach in the field.
Plans in-work include developing a "Hard Rock Lab Techniques" short course, aka, teaching the students how to make their own thin sections.