Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


RUBERG, Laurie, Center for Educational Technologies, Wheeling Jesuit University, 316 Washington Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003,

Factors that hinder Native American and other underrepresented students from pursuing advanced study and careers in geoscience range from financial barriers, pressures from family obligations, and even health issues. Also keeping underrepresented students at a distance from geoscience careers are these social-behavioral factors: (1) student unfamiliarity with geoscience as a field of study and career choice; (2) a disassociation toward Earth Science as a profession because the course of study initially seems quite disconnected from the every day concerns of underserved students; (3) geoscience academic assumptions about educational preparation; (4) academic information and counseling that traditionally steer underserved students toward other careers; and (5) the prevalence of a Western scientific perspective to the exclusion of all other perspectives.

This paper describes how strategic use of pedagogical strategies like problem-based learning can provide a way to counter balance many of the social-behavioral factors listed above. Problem-based learning is an effective way to engage students in argumentation that requires scientific evidence while also incorporating human conditions and cultural perspectives as significant influences on policy and community affairs.

As a pedagogical strategy, problem-based learning is enhanced by the contributions and non-traditional data sources (like geo-referenced artifacts). Geoscience research designs can involve community members to help gather and analyze data. This report will show how teachers have used web-based problem-based learning curriculum modules across disciplinary contexts to bring climate science topics into a broad context of discussion that engages and invites diverse perspectives and broader participation.