Place-Based Geosciences Courses in a Diverse Urban College: Lessons Learned

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Articles and Special Issues
Boger, R., Adams, J. D., & Powell, W. (2014). Place-Based Geosciences Courses in a Diverse Urban College: Lessons Learned, Journal of Geoscience Education, 62(1), 19-24. DOI: 10.5408/12-372.1
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Recognizing the need to attract more students, especially those from underrepresented groups, a team of college faculty and experienced New York City Department of Education (DOE) Earth Science Teachers redesigned the two foundational Earth and Environmental Science courses required for all teacher and science major students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES). These two foundation courses have been taught in a survey style with broad, but shallow, content. The redesign team worked together to place greater emphasis on science process skills, technology, and discovery and chose air quality and beach morphodynamics as integrating topics for skill and content development throughout the courses. Students conducted long-term, place-based research within the city in ways that allowed them to apply the scientific method and develop skills necessary for practicing geoscientists, which included conducting online data searches, performing statistical analyses, graphing, using geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS), and making and giving presentations. Students used research-grade equipment, scanning electron microscopes (SEM), survey instruments, and petrology microscopes to collect and analyze their data. Iterative evaluations were conducted on the courses to provide guidance on ways to improve, and they formed the basis for course revisions in more-advanced courses.


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