FIVE PATHWAYS TO INTRODUCTORY GEOSCIENCE AT UCONN: A NEW MODEL
Within our curriculum, we have four 3-credit science literacy courses: Earth's Dynamic Environment; Natural Disasters and Environmental Change; Dinosaurs, Extinctions, and Environmental Catastrophes; and Geoscience and the American Landscape (Honors). Students meeting general education requirements for a non-lab science course may take one of the four courses, but no more. Those needing to meet a lab-science requirement, or needing the lab to meet the prerequisites for the "discovered" major, can add the lab at any subsequent time.
We completely redesigned the lab to fill content gaps and to upgrade geo-thinking skills. Each of the eleven labs contains four setups, each designed to facilitate engaged learning towards a concrete learning objective. We have developed our own in-house lab manual, which capitalizes on a local and regional sense of place, with campus at its center. Two field trips are designed to open and close the course. The pedagogical advances of a full-immersion lab designed around a ‘flipped’ classroom model are already adding to our teaching-learning-assessment portfolio, creating a model that can easily be adopted at any institution of any size.