2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 215-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


JOHNSON, Elizabeth A., Dept of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, johns2ea@jmu.edu

Pedagogically effective instructional resources for analytical methods are needed to help achieve the national initiative to incorporate research into the early undergraduate curriculum at the 2-year college and freshman/sophomore level (PCAST, 2012). These resources should be modular, adaptable to available resources at each institution, and flexible enough to be used in a range of courses and research experiences. Student outcomes from learning modules ideally include development of scientific process and scientific inquiry skills as well as construction of technical knowledge of how to use instrumentation.

Blended learning modules were developed for Raman spectroscopy and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy units within a 3-credit elective laboratory methods course for undergraduate majors in Geology. Modules included online mini-lectures, short videos, and readings. The modules followed a team-based learning format. Individual students took short quizzes online or at the beginning of class, followed by group quizzes using different sets of questions. Face-to-face meetings included laboratory demonstrations and group research projects using the instrumentation. Evaluation for each unit was based upon quiz grades, lab notes, and individually written research reports. Using the same report format and evaluation rubric, the average report grade for the Raman spectroscopy unit was higher for the class using the blended learning module, compared to the average report grade from a previous semester in which a lecture-based format was used. This preliminary result supports blended learning as an effective teaching method for embedding laboratory-based research into the undergraduate curriculum.