BENTLEY ABROAD EARTH SCIENCE COURSES IN NEW ZEALAND AND ICELAND
Students attend three preparation class meetings toward the end of the preceding semester. The instructors provide overviews of the course topics during the first two meetings, along with a selection of specific topics for three student research projects related to course content. The third meeting consists of 10-minute PPT presentations by students on their first research topic. The other two research topics require students to prepare two 2-page photo-essays, one specific to a planned field stop and one on a more general topic. The 2-page photo essays are collated into a field trip guidebook, downloadable to handheld devices. Students are expected to submit drafts of their research topics, which usually undergo multiple revisions before being approved.
In the field, we undertake several quantitative field projects to give students the opportunity to collect and interpret data, such as measurement of lichen diameters to determine the rough age of Neoglacial moraines, or measurement of stream discharge and sediment load. In lieu of exams, students are required to maintain a course journal that we evaluate at the end of the course for content and reflection.