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

Paper No. 156-6
Presentation Time: 3:05 PM


ATCHISON, Christopher L., School of Education and Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, 511E Teachers College, P.O. Box 210002, Cincinnati, OH 45221, christopher.atchison@uc.edu

Most geoscience practitioners agree that field competence is an essential skill for undergraduate geoscience students and should be emphasized as a primary part of the geoscience curriculum. Field studies provide students with opportunities to put theory into practice, developing problem solving skills while formulating scientific interpretations from field-based observations to extend understanding and transfer of classroom content. Field-based research opportunities place students in a many types of field settings, often including remote locations that require physical ability and endurance to traverse difficult terrain, all while working long hours in the unpredictable elements of nature. A mere inconvenience and discomfort for some, uncontrolled field sites often present complete barriers for students with physical and sensory disabilities to participate.

Traditional field-based instructional methods often marginalize those who are physically unable to participate in physically rigorous field environments. Many upper-level field-based learning experiences can be classified as much of a rite-of-passage than an authentic learning experience. Just because this is the way most of us learned our field methods doesn’t mean it should continue to be taught this way. This presentation will discuss the difference between field-based learning experiences that places an emphasis on physical rigor and field experiences that are focused on academic rigor through inclusively-designed learning objectives and instructional strategies.