GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 231-10
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM


OWEN, Athena M., Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, CLARY, Renee M., Geosciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762 and SHOWS, Eric, Science Division, Jones College, 900 S Court Street, Ellisville, MS 39437

Sense of place research documents greater student interest in their local areas, which can be leveraged to connect geoscience content to students’ childhood experiences and other interactions with the Earth (Clary & Wandersee, 2006). Additionally, students perform better on geoscience content directly applicable to their local areas (Sumrall et al., 2015). Therefore, when tasked with developing introductory online geology courses that will engage local college students and hook their interest into the geosciences, we chose to include active-learning strategies, development of a learning community, and place-based content of Mississippi. The instructors identified locations in the state in which physical and historical geology content could be showcased, traveled to various sites, and filmed short vignettes using a GoPro camera. Some challenges arose when specific content is not readily available within the state (e.g., metamorphic rocks, glacial processes), so the instructors sought creative solutions (e.g., rock types in cemetery monuments, wind-driven loess deposits). We also found it necessary to balance between local content and covering major curricular concepts—without producing overly long video segments. Scheduling video trips, especially to farther regions of the state, also provided challenges to the instructors. However, students responded positively overall to the organization of the classes and affirmed the place-based content. Students were surprised to learn of soil types and fossils within Mississippi and appreciated the hands-on opportunities to investigate geology in their state. One student noted, “Seeing something we talk in class in our own state was awesome!” and another stated that “after taking this class, I almost want to teach science and incorporate some of these lessons/units into my future lesson plans.”