Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Designing an Innovative Earth Science Course in Collaboration with Education Students in a Nontraditional Program

Event Name/Location

2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 16-19, 2005

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


We are adapting problem-based learning to an earth science course, designed primarily for pre-service teachers in a nontraditional teacher education program. We plan for our students to achieve content knowledge consistent with the State of Florida Sunshine State Standards, to improve our students' attitudes towards science and understanding of the scientific process, and to enhance their ability to use technology to learn about science. To accomplish these goals, we are revising our current introductory earth science course, SCI 105 Earth Science, from a guided independent study course, taught one-on-one, to a whole-class model that includes active problem-based learning assignments, consistent with local and national content and technology standards.

Because UI&U students work in a low-residency program, the course will use a blended online and live format that emphasizes online investigation and limited live collaborative sessions and field trips. Working together with an outside evaluator, the team hopes to design a course following best practices in online learning and problem-based pedagogy. The investigators plan to adapt the approach and materials, where possible, of an earth system course developed by the faculty of San Francisco State University (SFSU) and materials from the Digital Library for Earth Systems Education (DLESE).

Faculty-student collaboration is an important element of the course revision strategy. In order to insure that we set realistic course goals and that the course is attractive to our students, the course revision team includes pre-service and in-service teachers as designers and evaluators. UI&U students are diverse in ethnicity, age, and technological experience. If our students meet these shared goals, their success will have an impact on Miami-Dade County and Broward County Schools, the 4th and 5th largest school districts in the country.

The investigators will present the results of the first phase of course design. Results include initial adaptation of SFSU materials to include Florida datasets, adaptation of problem-based strategies to the course platform (eCollege), and field-testing of the course modules with student and teacher participants.


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Additional Comments

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 37, No. 7, p.550

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