Southeastern Section - 64th Annual Meeting (19–20 March 2015)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


MOBASHER, Katayoun, College of Science and Mathematics- IESA, University of North Georgia, 3820 Mundy Mill Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566, TURK, Jeff, Institude for Environmental Spatial Analysis (IESA), University of North Georgia, 3820 Mundy Mill Rd, Oakwood, 30566 and COLEMAN TATE, Lakeisha, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303,

This initiative facilitated increased student engagement in the geosciences by sharing and transferring lecture information to actual field knowledge and experiences. This interactive learning experience not only begins to allow students to understand and recognize geologic features in the field but also increased their collaboration, enthusiasm and interest in the discipline.

For example, these are some of the comments from students about the initiative. “I really enjoyed doing the project. It allowed me to go to really pretty places and it was cool being able to actually know what I was looking at instead of just seeing rocks” another student wrote “ I really enjoyed the ArcGIS project. It gave me the chance to explore rock structures and it helped me learn more about my classmates”, a third student “ It really was cool seeing (online) all the places people had found different types of rocks” and lastly a fourth student wrote “ The scenery was incredible. Not only did I find things related to what I was working on but other geologic features that we talked about in class”. A survey of students at the end of the fall semester indicated 95% of students surveyed considered the experience positive and enjoyable.

The increased interest and collaboration occurred as students assisted in populating a geologic geodatabase of Georgia developed by faculty using ArcGIS 10.2. The geodatabase contains fields to store information about rock types, age, fossil contents, physiographic provinces, and geologic structures such as faults, or folds. An online group was created for Introductory Physical Geology classes using ArcGIS Online. Each student visited two geologic outcrops and collected data utilizing the collector app downloaded on their smartphones. These data as well as a photo of the geologic feature and a description based on their understanding of the feature was uploaded into ArcGIS online. This online map and corresponding database is immediately shared with the instructor and all students in the class. Thus in addition to providing students with a field experience, the development of an interactive field guide for Georgia and the construction of the corresponding geological geodatabase also enhanced student understanding, collaboration, enthusiasm and interest in the geosciences.