Paper No. 23
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


ARTHURS, Leilani, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 330 Bessey Hall, P.O. Box 880340, Lincoln, NE 68588,

Arguably, classroom-based instruction at the leading edge of educational developments utilizes transformed physical learning environments that facilitate student engagement and success more than traditional lectures. Instructors who teach in transformed physical learning environments typically ascribe to a constructivist approach to teaching and learning where students are viewed as already possessing knowledge and skills that may influence their ability to learn course material. Furthermore, these instructors utilize technology and small group seating arrangements in their implementation of in-class activities and discussion to facilitate the development of students’ conceptual understanding of course material, critical thinking, problem solving skills, and ability to communicate and work with others. Not all departments or institutions, however, are in the position to transform their existing teaching spaces. Nevertheless, there do exist innovative strategies (both low-tech and high-tech) that can be implemented in large courses taught in lecture-style auditoriums. Examples of low-tech strategies were integrated into the course design of an introductory-level Environmental Geology course aimed at satisfying the general education requirement. These strategies include: in-class solo and group work, discussion about course concepts and materials, case study videos, video-based demonstrations, as well as reflections about how to succeed in college and in future careers. In this presentation, I describe the approach used in selecting what strategies were used and when, how they were implemented, and their effect on student attitude and performance in the course.