Paper No. 16-8
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM
HIGH IMPACT EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES: GEOSCIENCE FIELD-BASED LEARNING DURING A TEXAS A&M STUDY ABROAD SEMESTER IN ITALY
High impact educational practices aid learning for all students and particularly those from diverse backgrounds. During fall semester 2011, we incorporated field-based experiences into geoscience courses for a study abroad semester in Italy to enhance the students’ learning of geoscience concepts. We developed one to four-day field excursions integrating the arts and civilization program with the geoscience courses. For example, the archeological ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum from the Plinian eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. are better understood in the context of plate tectonics. The subduction of the African plate beneath the Eurasian plate has caused earthquakes, faulting, folding, and volcanic activity throughout the country. Ancient shallow water reefs were thrust upward in plate collisions to form the Italian Alps, the Dolomites. Climate change is evident in the Dolomites with the rapidly receding glaciers in the last few decades. The current flooding issues in Venice (acqua alta), with the associated economic and political ramifications, are understood in the context of subsidence from groundwater pumping, spring high tides with strong winds, and sea level rise from climate change. Mitigation of flooding is proposed through ambitious engineering projects balancing needs of humans against the forces of the sea. The students found the field-based experiences to significant enhance their education in both arts and science.