Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM


NYMAN, Matthew, College of Education, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331,

I will present details and evidence of effectiveness for two teaching strategies used in courses for undergraduate non-majors. The first strategy involved using Google Earth as a presentation platform for a course on earthquakes of the Pacific Northwest. The course goals were to provide background on earthquake basics, detail the seismic history of the region and discuss hazard preparation and mitigation efforts. All geologic concepts can be linked to place. For example, in discussing evidence from turbidite sequences for large seismic events, slides of subsurface features and sedimentary cores were dynamically connected to the specific sample locations using Goggle Earth placemarks. Using Google Earth as a dynamic presentation platform provided an engaging learning experience for the students; an assertion borne out by positive feedback during both conversations with students and semester evaluations.

The second strategy that I used was integrating social justice issues with learning earthquake concepts. The overall goal was to cover specific content and stimulate awareness of how geologic hazards can have variable impacts, frequently felt more intensely by poorer or at risk citizens. In the earthquakes of the PNW course students participated in a jigsaw activity reading short articles on large seismic events and participating in group discussions aimed at comparing the impacts and recovery efforts for the different events. The group then explored potential reasons for the disparity in impacts and recovery efforts for different earthquakes. Although students reported that this was an engaging and useful activity, implementation in large class in a standard classroom was difficult. I used a similar activity for a physical geology class for non-majors that had 24 students. Students spent time investigating the history, economics, geologic setting and seismic history of the country. Each group produced a presentation that was delivered at the end of the section on earthquakes. This activity worked much better; students spent lab time conducting research, interacting with the group and seeking my input. Overall the presentations were excellent and students’ reported high satisfaction with both learning earthquake content and gaining a perspective on inequities of impacts and recovery efforts.