GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 27-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


HEINLEIN, Sarah N., Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Ave, El Paso, TX 79968; Natural Sciences, University of Houston-Downtown, One Main Street, Ste. N-813, Houston, TX 77002, MARTZ, Jeffrey W., Department of Earth Sciences, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO 80205; Natural Sciences, University of Houston-Downtown, One Main Street, Ste. N-813, Houston, TX 77002 and JOHNSON, Kenneth, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Houston-Downtown, 1 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

The Geosciences Program at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) has undergone tremendous growth in the past few years, and the faculty meets regularly to monitor and guide the development of the program. One major concern is student knowledge transfer from one geology course to the other. Faculty members have discovered that not all lower-level courses, particularly lecture and lab sections of Physical Geology (GEOL 1305/1105), were providing students with the same material at the same time or emphasizing all critical introductory geoscience topics, creating a chaotic environment that has frustrated both instructors and students. This climate directly affects student retention in Historical Geology (GEOL 1306/1106) and upper-level courses such as Structural Geology (GEOL 3312/3112), Field Methods (GEOL 4303) and Field Geology (GEOL 4304), which is the capstone course in the program. Faculty have collaboratively created a Geo Teaching Circle (Geo-TC) to develop, implement, and assess best practices that will be the foundation on which to organize a more extensive scale course redesign project in order to change this environment. This includes adapting the geosciences curriculum at UHD, which is located in the heart of the oil & gas industry, to meet evolving workforce needs while providing basic content knowledge. The Geo-TC primary goal is to establish and implement undergraduate course mapping recommendations for course redesign in the introductory courses of the Geosciences Program during the Fall 2018 semester, and to organize content for online section for Physical Geology (GEOL 1305) in Fall 2019. The Geo-TC activities involve developing essential learning outcomes, identifying new mapping recommendations, and implementing and creating learning activities that will improve student engagement, motivation, and learning for the upper-level courses in the Geoscience Program, including additional field-based projects.