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

Paper No. 305-11
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM


BARONE, Jessica L. and COLOSIMO, Amanda, Chemistry and Geosciences, Monroe Community College, 1000 E. Henrietta Rd, Rochester, NY 14623, jbarone@monroecc.edu

Student blogging in an academic field setting provides several notable benefits to not only students but to faculty as well. An experimental but required blogging assignment was incorporated into the Monroe Community College, a large two-year college in western New York, introductory level field course "Field Studies in the Geosciences: Yellowstone Supervolcano and Geologic Landscapes of the West" during June 2014. Each student completed two formal blog entries including text describing geologic history and features, as well as photographs, maps, and/or videos that focused on two distinct field sites. The blog is viewable at http://geovignettes.blogspot.com/. Students were encouraged but not required to submit informal blog posts as well, allowing for a more creative expression of their experiences.

Faculty, while advising students throughout the blogging assignment, significantly improved their own abilities in understanding and utilizing technical applications (Blogger, SketchBook, electronic geologic map apps, etc.). Additionally, faculty gained an increased understanding of student perspectives of the field experience as well as further insight on the strengths and weaknesses of student writing. Mitigation of misconceptions by college administration and non-geology colleagues regarding the advantages and realities of field study can assist in obtaining financial support for field experiences. Student blogging provides an accessible record of student learning in the field and allows for real-time connection to those following the blog online.

Several challenges of blogging in the field setting became evident upon application (internet connection issues, lengthy field days delaying posting to blog, technical and field experience levels, etc.), but addressing and adjusting for these challenges prior to future implementation of the blogging project will potentially improve success for both faculty and students.