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

Paper No. 305-10
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


COLOSIMO, Amanda, BARONE, Jessica L., YAGER, Kristie and WAMSLEY, Randy, Chemistry and Geosciences, Monroe Community College, 1000 E. Henrietta Rd, Rochester, NY 14623

Students from Monroe Community College, a large, suburban 2-year institution, wrote blog posts during an introductory level field course in self-determined pairs in June 2014. Students used iPads to collect data, photographs, and videos at specific field sites in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, and posted their writing at http://geovignettes.blogspot.com/. Students were required to blog about the geologic history and features of two distinct field sites and encouraged to post about informal topics and ideas as well. While 40% of the students’ grades were earned during 10 weeks of traditional lecture classes, 60% was earned in the field by assessment of field notebooks, projects and blog posts.

The blog served student learning in several ways. Students gained experience collaborating with one another and with faculty to articulate concepts and geologic histories, as well as experimented with a variety of applications, including SketchBook, electronic geologic maps, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, and YouTube. In their posts, students worked to develop a “voice” in their writing, reflected on what they had learned, occasionally remarked on their own evolving perspectives of themselves as geologists, and were able to communicate their field adventures to family and friends back home, while also creating a group travel journal of sorts. Some students were inspired to write geology poetry while others generated links to their personal blogs with additional photographs and posts. While blog posts did not comprise a significant portion of their field grade, the public nature of the blog caused the students to be concerned with the accuracy and readability of their posts, leading to additional research by some.

While all were students were considered to be strong academically, many struggled with basic grammar, spelling, and conventions of syntax while writing their blog posts. Additionally, variability in the academic and technological background and motivation were evident in blog assignments.