GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 301-9
Presentation Time: 4:05 PM


VILLENEUVE, Marlene C., DAVIDSON, Jonathan, KENNEDY, Ben and WATSON, Alexander, Geological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, WA 8140, New Zealand

The geoscience education team at the University of Canterbury actively creates, delivers and demonstrates the effectiveness of virtual field trips (VFT), with one or more of the following aims: improving a student’s sense of place, maximising the effectiveness of field teaching, supporting the development of fieldwork skills (e.g. sketching and interpretation), creating an inclusive classroom, and taking students to places that they would never have been able to go otherwise. Over the past few years, the group has created a number of VFTs with varied destinations and purposes. These open educational resources are built using the most up to date best pedagogical practice, giving the students the opportunity to effectively learn while having a load of fun!

We constructively align the VFTs to ensure an enjoyable, engaging and appropriate experience for learning at all tertiary levels that links and reinforces concepts from the lecture with applied social or skill-based tasks of a laboratory, workshop, or field assessment. The VFTs are deisgned to provide scaffolding and promote students to higher-level (expert-level) thinking skills. The implementation of the VFTs stimulate more engagement – where students actively partake in discussion sessions with peers and instructors within the classroom. We propose that the VFTs enhance immersion in the field environment compared to what can normally be achieeved in the classroom environment. Additionally, the pre-field trip practice reduces cognitive load when students first apply new skills in the field. The trips also reinforce concepts through 3D spatial exploration and feedback to aid interpretation. In addition, the ability to reuse the virtual field trips minimises technical hitches, lecturer stress and creates opportunities to improve and adjust the content and delivery. We have found that incorporating gamification, built-in feedback, instructional videos (including 360 videos) and 3-D models that the students can navigate significantly improve the student experience and their abilty to develop interpretations of outcrops. We have also found that student expectations must be clearly set so they understand the purpose of the VFT and how it aligns to the learning outcomes and assessment.