Joint 56th Annual North-Central/ 71st Annual Southeastern Section Meeting - 2022

Paper No. 42-4
Presentation Time: 2:20 PM


MANEIRO, Kathryn, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Wheaton College, 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187

Wheaton College offers a combined, introductory-level course in geology and environmental science, which onboards both geology and environmental science majors/minors and also acts as a popular general education service course. Since I frequently teach this course, through three academic years I have taught this same course in at least four different formats due to course size and pandemic teaching shifts: i) fully in-person with no modifications prior to the pandemic; ii) all students alternating simultaneous in-person and synchronous online attendance due to reduced classroom capacity; iii) most students in-person with social distancing and masking with a handful of simultaneously fully remote synchronous and fully remote asynchronous participants in the same section; and iv) fully in-person with social distancing and masking.

Throughout these shifting adaptation challenges, I have developed and utilized a full-semester game based on the reality television show Survivor to increase student engagement with in-class activities. At the beginning of the course, students are assigned to teams, and during most class periods students are asked to work with their team to master challenges (active learning activities) that reinforce the discussion for the day or apply their learning. Their performance on these challenges can earn their team points toward the semester-long reward challenge or can earn their team “immunity” so that they are protected from being voted out of the semester-long immunity challenge. At the end of the semester, I provide prizes to the teams with the most reward points and to the last team standing that was not voted out. Students have provided feedback that for many of them, especially the general education students, the challenges motivate them to attend class and increase their engagement with the course even in the midst of the pandemic. As the instructor, I find that the added effort to continue the game despite teaching format shifts has helped with community-building during the pandemic, since students have to get to know their team and have teammates relying on them. I have also found that this approach is fully adaptable to either in-person “paper and pencil” activities or totally virtual activities done using shared document editing on Microsoft Teams or a mixture of both.