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

Paper No. 305-9
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM

USING ONLINE VIDEO CONFERENCING AND FILE SHARING TO RUN MULTI-INSTITUTIONAL SEMINARS AND TO BRING GUEST SPEAKERS TO THE CLASSROOM


TEWKSBURY, Barbara J., Dept of Geosciences, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY 13323-1218, HOGAN, John P., Geosciences, Geological and Petroleum Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, 129 McNutt Hall, Rolla, MO 65409 and MEHRTENS, Charlotte, Geology, University of Vermont, 180 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401, btewksbu@hamilton.edu

Blended/hybrid courses commonly combine online pre-class preparation with face-to-face class time for lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, presentations, and so on. Over the past several years, we have used an opposite approach in a successful seminar course that has pre-class offline preparation coupled with online, virtual face-to-face class sessions. The Desert Eyes Project is an NSF-funded research project investigating the origin of enigmatic structures in sedimentary bedrock of the Western Desert of Egypt. The project is a multi-institutional project that has involved four colleges and universities in the US and five universities in Egypt. We developed a weekly seminar course in order to prepare the faculty and students (both graduate and undergraduate) for a month of field work in Egypt. We posted reading, mapping, and presentation assignments on Google Drive that faculty and students completed on their own between seminar meetings. Each week, we met as a group for a virtual face-to-face seminar during which we had short faculty and student presentations, discussions, and work sessions. We used online video conferencing services that allowed us to both hear and see one another on screen. For the main part of each seminar, each of the four US institutions participated as a group with one camera and mic. For work sessions during the seminar, students used their own Skype accounts so that students from different institutions could pair up and work together on discussion and mapping assignments. We recorded all sessions and posted them to DropBox for our Egyptian colleagues to access for their own seminars. Despite some bandwidth issues, the seminar was very successful and allowed people from different institutions to work together, get to know one another, and plan field work before leaving for Egypt.

One of us (Tewksbury) has also used online video conferencing platforms to have guest speakers talk to a class in real time and to allow students to interact with and ask questions of the speaker. This works well for all concerned – students have a chance to interact with professionals in the field and the guest speaker doesn’t have to travel. High quality data projectors, web cams, and microphones make interactions nearly as real as having the speaker there in person.

Handouts
  • Tewksbury GSA online seminar poster 2014 opt.pdf (1.7 MB)