Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


RYKER, Katherine, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, 701 Sumter Street, EWS 617, Columbia, SC 29208, MCCONNELL, David, Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, BEDWARD, John C., Education - STEM, Buena Vista University, 2519 Crestline, Raleigh, NC 27603 and FOUNTAIN, John C., Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8208, Raleigh, NC 27695,

As colleges try to deliver content to wider audiences and meet the needs of an increasingly web-savvy population, there is a push to develop online courses and digital instructional materials to supplement face-to-face environments. These materials are well-suited to explaining the dynamic nature of geology that challenges students to think both temporally and spatially. As part of a formal articulation agreement between the two schools, students taking Physical Geology at Wake Tech Community College may apply the credit towards a degree at North Carolina State University. Though approaches to course design may vary between the two schools, similar content is covered. Researchers and instructors are working in partnership to develop an online version of the current face-to-face Physical Geology lab to provide a similar experience for all students.

This new virtual course is equivalent to a face-to-face lab with 11 weeks of course material delivered over 30 hours of class time. Students in either setting will cover the same content, allowing the resources developed for the online course to be tested as supplementary resources in Fall 2012 with approximately 375 students. We have created these virtual labs and resources from a tutoring framework that focuses on the one-on-one interaction between an expert (tutor) and novice (tutee) and the feedback that informs, or scaffolds, that interaction. As a result, resources include concise, instructional videos that illustrate content and skill development, as well as responsive lessons and quizzes that adapt to student input.

We are examining how students utilize these resources when they are assigned vs. available for reference to better understand how they are valued by students. Comments are being collected to assess how students respond to the format and delivery and what they perceive they gain (or do not gain) from their use. We will also be comparing answers to common assessment questions from students who accessed the digital resources and those who did not. We predict that students who access these videos in addition to other course resources will develop a more comprehensive knowledge of important geoscience concepts.