Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


CERVATO, Cinzia1, CAISSIE, Beth1, DUGGAN-HAAS, Don2, HASIUK, Franciszek1, O'CONNELL, Suzanne3, SMAGLIK, Suzanne M.4, SPRY, Paul G.5 and WEINER, Carla6, (1)Dept. of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011, (2)Education, Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, (3)Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, 265 Church Street, Middletown, CT 06459, (4)Central Wyoming College, 2660 Peck Ave, Riverton, WY 82501, (5)Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011, (6)English, Iowa State University, 203 Ross, Ames, IA 50011,

ThinkSpace ( is an e-learning environment created to host and deliver case-based assignments. While dozens of assignments exist for veterinary medicine, physics, horticulture, and other disciplines, only two ThinkSpace assignments have been authored covering aspects of the geosciences. A small group of geoscientists convened during a two-day authoring workshop to lay the foundation for the two new assignments. The expertise and interests of the participants clustered around two themes: hydraulic fracturing, and mineral and rock identification.

The ‘hydrofracking’ scenario is built around the premise that the grandfather of a New York State college student is faced with a decision about whether or not to allow an extraction company to operate on his land. The grandfather seeks advice in making this decision from his grandson who is in college and who stands to inherit the farm. The exercise is meant to scaffold the process of integrating scientific and environmental information to come to a reasoned decision.

The mineral and rock identification case involves a mysterious death by an unknown disease where the only clue is a rock specimen. Students are led through a “crime scene investigation” where they must evaluate certain medical and geological data to identify the recent history of the individual and what might have caused his untimely demise.

The cases are currently being further developed and will be classroom-tested during the spring semester. This presentation will outline the network-building and resource development process, and show examples of the current state of the cases as well as plans for their further refinement.