Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM


CALDWELL, Marianne O'Neal, Division of Mathematics and Sciences, Hillsborough Community College, 4001 Tampa Bay Blvd, Tampa, FL 33614 and WANG, Ping, School of Geoscience, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Ave, NES107, Tampa, FL 33620,

Field trips in Introductory Physical Geology courses provide important opportunities for students to see and experience geological phenomenon first hand. Unfortunately logistical issues, most notably money and time, make field trips difficult. For two-year community college students with work and/or family obligations, taking several days to attend a field trip may be nearly impossible. Additionally, students with disabilities may not be able to participate fully in a traditional field trip setting. One solution is to allow the students to visit the field virtually. With rapidly improving visualization programs, online virtual field trips can provide an opportunity for students to experience the field from their computer, on a schedule that avoids the problems noted above. This NSF-funded project is in the third year of developing, implementing, and assessing a virtual field trip for teaching undergraduate Introductory Physical Geology.

Coastal Florida offers an ideal setting for learning about a variety of modern sedimentary environments. The environments visited on the field trip include barrier islands and estuaries on both the Florida Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, and modern and ancient carbonates in the Florida Keys. Additionally, field data collecting techniques are documented. The filming, editing, production and initial implementation of the virtual field trip have been completed. Interactive activities with questions that can be scored are included at the end of each segment. Assessment of student learning is ongoing. Student achievement has been measured by differences in pre-test and post-test scored questions on the field trip. Additional data gathered includes student self-efficacy surveys and student satisfaction surveys. These data are being analyzed using typical statistical measurements. Evaluation of the virtual field trip is being conducted by the Coalition for Science Literacy at the University of South Florida.

The virtual field trip may be used in online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses. Possibilities for its use include lab or homework assignments outside the classroom or in-class use if students have computer access. Once tested and refined, it is anticipated that the virtual field trip will be disseminated through a web portal.