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


Adapting Earth Science to a Web-Distributed, Inquiry-based Approach: Results of Collaborative Course Design

Event Name/Location

2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 22-25, 2006

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



We are adapting inquiry- and 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. Our target audience for the course is our education students who are primarily minority students from the urban school districts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

To accomplish our goals, we revised our introductory earth science course, SCI 105 Earth Science, from an independent study course to a hybrid model that includes web-distributed materials and class meetings. The course is organized into web-based, pre-class activities and in-class assignments using active inquiry- and problem-based learning strategies. To date, we have finished adaptation of the course modules into the course management software (CMS) and tested each module. We have also designed and tested two field experiences for our learners.

An important element of this project was the collaborative panel review process. We recruited a committee of four current students, a graduate, and two members of our science faculty to help us design and test course elements, and keep course outcomes relevant and practical. The committee also helped us anticipate the readiness of our students to use the CMS and the web effectively in and out of the classroom. As course designers, we found the collaborative process both useful and challenging. The committee gave mixed reviews to this dependence on the CMS and web-based activities, as well as the collaborative process in general. Results from this project will be presented including examples of web-distributed modules, in-class activities, best practices in online learning, and outcomes of collaborative work with undergraduate learners.


© Copyright 2006 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.

Additional Comments

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 38, No. 7, p.79

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