“SURVIVING” AN INTRODUCTORY GEOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE COURSE DURING PANDEMIC TEACHING
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.