SUPPORTING THE LONG-TERM INVESTIGATION OF SOUTHERN BLUE RIDGE META-IGNEOUS ROCKS THROUGH CLASSROOM RESEARCH ON COLLECTED SAMPLES, FACILITATED BY REMOTELY OPERABLE EPMA ANALYSES: SCIENTIFIC AND HUMAN RESOURCE OUTCOMES
Students learn to operate the EPMA system through formal laboratory exercises and their own hands-on time with the instrument, collecting mineral chemistry data on samples they collected in the field for use course term projects. These data and the analyzed samples and sections are archived for use by future courses and for post-course student research projects that arise out of each GLY 3311C offering. These accumulated results have supported a large number of independent undergraduate research projects and have thus far led to several MS theses completed by past undergraduate researchers, as well as several publications in preparation.
Coming out of this class, students appear to seek out similar experiences, if not in petrology than in other parts of the discipline. Post-course surveys point to a sense of confidence on the part of students regarding pursuit of geoscience investigations, and various special topic "research courses," modeled on this kind of approach, have since been offered at USF at student request on a regular basis. A current NSF-TUES Type 2 project seeks to expand adoption of these kinds of strategies in several other FL institutions and beyond.