2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 304-4
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


WHITT, Katelyn M., Geology, University of Kansas, 6841 E. 126th St. S, Bixby, OK 74008, BITTING, Kelsey S., Dept of Geology, University of Kansas, 1475 Jayhawk Blvd, Lindley Hall, Lawrence, KS 66044 and ROBERTS, J.A., Geology, University of Kansas, Multidisciplinary Research Building, 2030 Becker Dr, Lawrence, KS 66047

Fieldwork is widely accepted as an essential aspect of learning for a student in the geosciences. Fieldwork allows students to apply concepts and theories learned in the classroom to the natural world so that they may see these features and processes in context. Furthermore, actively applying and grappling with concepts learned in the classroom in a field setting helps a student to better comprehend the concepts, improves confidence, and helps students understand the inherent complexity in the natural Earth system. While fieldwork is essential to geoscience learning, introductory-level undergraduate geology students rarely have the opportunity to do field work, due to time, cost, and liability constraints. Nonetheless, fieldwork may have additional value at an introductory stage for potential recruitment of majors and minors, helping at-risk students succeed in science, and providing students with an early experience in the nature of science and the complexity of natural systems from the outset of their geoscience careers. We present the perspectives of students, teaching assistants, and professors based on a series of optional one-day field trips in Geology 101 large lecture courses at the University of Kansas. We focus on four categories of potential additive value for students: learning on the field trip, connections to class material, interest in geology as a major, and building of relationships—between students on the field trip and between students and the professor or teaching assistants. In addition, we present observations of the place-based learning value of field trip planning and leadership by undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants associated with the course.