Teaching Structural Geology and Tectonics in the 21st Century
Structural geology and tectonics are two of the most visual subjects in geosciences, and lectures on the subjects form the core of curricula at geology departments at universities around the world. New teaching styles and technologies have found their way into class room and field courses focusing on Structural geology and tectonic, such as Blackboard LEARN, flipped class rooms, classroom response systems, digital mapping on tablets, the use of drones, and virtual outcrops. We invite researchers and lecturers to present their original and innovative ideas, strategies and tools regarding teaching Structural Geology and Tectonics. Co-organized with TS.
Rock Around the University (RAU) is a teaching resource made up of 16 large (~2.5m) blocks of “local” Scottish rock which have been transplanted and orientated into carefully planned locations and elevations between the buildings of the University of Glasgow to look like natural exposures. RAU mimics a real-life fieldwork experience, on-campus, with the aim of enhancing the learning experience of undergraduate geoscience students.
RAU allows progressive, reflective, and effective on-campus outdoor training of a wide-range of geological field skills and concepts, including: the description, analysis and measurements of rock features and structures; geological mapping; the use of structure contours to predict geological boundaries in terrains lacking abundant exposures; construction of cross-sections; and, the interpretation and reconstruction of 3D structure and geological history. Students visit the RAU exposures both during timetabled supervised ‘lab’ sessions and in their own time, providing an authentic fieldwork experience in a controlled location where key geological skills can be developed at the optimal rate for individual students. Being located on the campus means that there are no travel or expenses for students, fewer timetabling issues, and fewer general logistical complications and natural complexities than in remote fieldwork locations. In addition, students benefit from receiving ‘instant’ on-site feedback from staff on the challenges, problems and pedagogic issues that they encounter.
RAU allows us to introduce rigorous field-based teaching at an early stage in geoscience courses and to stimulate and encourage reflective learning. Students locate, analyse and synthesise information in the field to provide effective solutions to problems and use RAU as a self-directed learning experience where they build confidence while working independently in a familiar environment. Hence the students reinforce their field skills before experiencing independent work in remote areas. In effect RAU uses the campus as a sustainable geoscience teaching resource.
Experiences with all levels of undergraduate students over the eight years since RAU was established at the University of Glasgow have demonstrated that this on-campus resource is an ideal complement to the traditional programme of fieldwork classes. Students are much better prepared for their first major residential fieldwork having completed the RAU programme, and are much more confident in their field skills. RAU has allowed us to address more effectively the disconnect between laboratory and fieldwork skills, and remote fieldwork classes are now more focussed on the application, rather than the development, of field skills. RAU has also had the effect of enhancing the awareness of geoscience among the entire University community, due to the presence of students carrying out fieldwork on campus.
Rock around the University is also used in recruitment and outreach, and is open to schools, amateur geoscientists, and anyone interested in Earth history. Printed leaflets are available and more information is available at https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/ges/community/rockaround/ .
How to cite:
Curry, G., Dempster, T., and Persano, C.: Rock Around the University - transplanted rock exposures for on-campus geoscience field skills training , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3746, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-3746, 2020.
João Trabucho Alexandre, Hans de Bresser, Andrea Cuesta Cano, and Yorick Veenma
The ultimate aim of field courses should be to enable students to work autonomously in the field. We should therefore organize learning activities during which students work autonomously in the field. Student- and problem-centered approaches to learning in the field afford students much autonomy, but unlike in the more traditional show-and-tell approach, independent projects have so far required that students spend a significant amount of time working in the field without access to supervision. Unless students are competent enough to experience proficiency and a feeling of controlling the quality of their own work, such autonomy is detrimental to student motivation.
Short knowledge clips that meet the immediate need of a student exactly when it arises are an interesting form of blended learning that promotes student autonomy and competence. Just-in-time knowledge clips can (a) provide further information and insights into a key question; (b) complement students’ background knowledge and help refresh their memory on important concepts; and/or (c) demonstrate techniques needed to acquire field data successfully. Knowledge clips, by their very nature, help students learn visual subjects, such as structural and sedimentary geology in the field.
Students no longer need to wait to get the contact time they need to move on with their work: they can watch (a knowledge clip) and learn just-in-time. Face-to-face time in the field with an instructor can then be used to achieve higher-order learning outcomes, focusing not on acquiring knowledge but on gaining insight and understanding.
How to cite:
Trabucho Alexandre, J., de Bresser, H., Cuesta Cano, A., and Veenma, Y.: Watch and Learn: Promoting Student Autonomy and Competence in the Field with Just-in-Time Knowledge Clips, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7048, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-7048, 2020.
Barbara Tewksbury, Florian Fusseis, Phillip Resor, Jennifer Wenner, Kim Blisniuk, Cailey Condit, Anne Egger, Kyle Fredrick, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Sara Mana, Kendra Murray, Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Christine Regalla, and Carolyn Tewksbury-Christle
The landscape of college and university teaching in the geosciences has changed over the past 20 years. Research has documented 1) that faculty in the U.S. now spend less time lecturing and more time actively engaging students in the classroom, and 2) that active engagement is more common in geoscience classrooms than it is in biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering. The web sites of Teach the Earth and On the Cutting Edge have thousands of web pages of resources for geoscience faculty who want to more actively engage their students in the classroom. But what if you want to incorporate more active learning but aren’t sure where to start or how these techniques might work in your courses? Or what if you are looking for new approaches or fresh ideas to add to techniques that you already use?
On-Ramps are quick-start guides designed to bring you up to speed in effective strategies for engaging students more actively in the classroom. Each 2-page On-Ramp focuses on a particular teaching strategy, rather than on how to teach a particular topic. The current On-Ramps cover interactive lecture, brainstorming, concept sketches, jigsaws, discussions, quantitative skill-building, just-in-time approaches, case studies, and re-thinking course coverage and linearity. Each On-Ramp includes a simple example that illustrates the strategy, why the technique is valuable, implementation tips, additional examples and modifications, and links to activities, supporting research, and other resources. On-Ramps will be available at the poster and can also be downloaded as pdfs from serc.carleton.edu/onramps/index.html
On-Ramps originated from the 2018 community vision report to US National Science Foundation on Challenges and Opportunities for Research in Tectonics, and their development was supported with a grant from NSF. The On-Ramps writing team is a group of geoscientists at a variety of career levels with specialties across the range of subdisciplines that regularly address tectonic problems. Although examples currently focus on the broad field of tectonics, On-Ramps can be easily adapted for courses in other geoscience disciplines at all levels.
How to cite:
Tewksbury, B., Fusseis, F., Resor, P., Wenner, J., Blisniuk, K., Condit, C., Egger, A., Fredrick, K., Kirkpatrick, J., Mana, S., Murray, K., Pratt-Sitaula, B., Regalla, C., and Tewksbury-Christle, C.: On-Ramps to more effective teaching: Quick-start guides to strategies for actively engaging students in the classroom to improve learning, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9992, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9992, 2020.
Florian Fusseis, Hans de Bresser, Bernhard Grasemann, Janos Urai, Kamil Ustaszewski, Anna Rogowitz, and Mark Anderson
In most university geosciences curricula, structural geology and tectonics (SGT) form a core part of teaching. While only a small percentage of Earth science graduates will become structural geologists, many will someday use structural concepts and techniques to solve problems in fields such as nuclear waste storage, the geology of growing urban environments, geohazards, unconventional reservoirs, geothermal energy, CO2 sequestration, energy storage and more. A basic understanding of structural geology is thus part of a critical knowledge foundation in Earth sciences and many related disciplines. In addition, new tools and data are becoming available at a rapid pace, and enable more integrated, multi-dimensional assessments of the geosphere and our societal interfaces with it. All of this provides new opportunities and challenges for STG courses.
In April 2019, a pre-EGU two-day workshop (TeachSGT21) was organized during which strengths and weaknesses of, and threats to current SGT curricula were analyzed. Participants of the workshop covered 11 European and 2 overseas countries, and came from academia as well as industry. On the basis of the workshop, we now outline educational demands from industry and research and discuss the role and significance of field training. Further, we review initiatives that use innovative tools and techniques in teaching. While not claiming to represent all aspects of modern SGT teaching, we expect that our observations can stimulate reflection on degrees and approach and may help making choices in curriculum renewal.
How to cite:
Fusseis, F., de Bresser, H., Grasemann, B., Urai, J., Ustaszewski, K., Rogowitz, A., and Anderson, M.: Opportunities and challenges in Teaching Structural Geology and Tectonics , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10254, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10254, 2020.
Jens Klump, Kenneth Muhumuza, Ulrich Engelke, and Neil Francis
One of the challenges for students of geosciences is learning to read geological maps, interpret structural geology, and understand the link between geology and geophysical properties. Augmented Reality (AR) sandboxes are interactive visualization tools that are becoming increasingly popular to demonstrate various earth processes.
An AR sandbox consists of a box filled with white sand and uses a Kinect 3D camera to continuously scan the topography of the sand surface. The topographic view of the structures sculpted by the user is then blended with digital information and a computed image is projected back onto the sand surface. Due to their intuitive operation, AR Sandboxes serve as a powerful science outreach and communication tool by making abstract concepts easy to see through the leveraging of playful learning and visualization, offering huge potential for teaching geological and geophysical principles.
Several versions of AR Sandboxes have been developed for a whole range of scenarios, spanning a wide variety of Earth Science topics and learning environments. The most common scenarios are from physical geography, hydrology and ecology. Their underlying data models stay at or close to the surface, making it hard to incorporate geological models.
Recently, an Open-AR-Sandbox software was published by researchers at the Institute for Computational Geoscience and Reservoir Engineering (CGRE), RWTH Aachen University, Germany. With this AR Sandbox, geological models can be projected onto real sand and the relations of subsurface structures, topography and outcrop can be explored in an AR environment.
We tested the Open-AR-Sandbox software after successfully installing and running a conventional AR sandbox software. The combination of the Sandbox and GemPy geomodelling tool offers unique 3D interactive modelling solutions to explore geoscientific data and processes, with linkages to other software tools. We can use the AR sandbox to project a variety of geophysical measurement data onto the sand surface, offering an interactive experience that integrates geological and geophysical data. The Open-AR-Sandbox is, therefore, an innovative tool in geoscience education for the public as well as the classroom because of its benefits for teaching geological mapping, structural geology and geophysics.
How to cite:
Klump, J., Muhumuza, K., Engelke, U., and Francis, N.: Updating the Augmented Reality Sandbox for Geophysics, Structural Geology and Stratigraphy, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12020, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12020, 2020.
Sophie Viseur, François Civet, Juliette Lamarche, Magali Rizza, Lucilla Benedetti, Jules Fleury, Laurent Jorda, Olivier Groussin, Jean Borgomano, and Philippe Léonide
Aix-Marseille University launched the VirtuaField project whose objective is to integrate DOMs into a VR application to provide students with a pedagogical tool enabling learning field practice.
Indeed, students have few occasions to train in the field during their academic curricula. Field trips are expensive and require a complex logistics. Nowadays, the photogrammetry or LIDAR techniques allow geoscientists to obtain High-Resolution 3D representations of outcrop geometries and textures, often termed as Digital Outcrop Models (DOM). DOMs are already used as pedagogical supports for practical exercises on computers such as fault throw or seismic occurrence calculation, or modelling 3D geological structures from outcrop interpretations. However, these exercises do not cover all required skills to gain autonomy and consistence in the field, such as the pertinent observation sampling. The computer engines are not convenient support for that task because the visualization, although in 3D, still depends on a 2D screen and does not preserve the 1:1 scale, which is of paramount importance for Geoscience interpretations.
The Virtual Reality (VR) technique is the ultimate way to provide a full 3D view, which can preserve the 1:1 scale, while benefiting from the numerical nature of the support (DOMs, DEM).
First prototypes were provided by the VR2Planets company from the case study of La Fare les Oliviers (SE France), which shows diffuse fractures and fracture corridors, in addition to sedimentological and geomorphological structures. The prototypes have been tested in training experiences with volunteer students. Surveys have been performed in order to obtain feedbacks from students on the ability of the VirtuaField application to gain field skills, but also on the more pertinent way to design the pedagogical tools. The synthesis of these feedbacks will be presented as well as a first outline of the pedagogical guidelines on using VR tools for educational purposes.
How to cite:
Viseur, S., Civet, F., Lamarche, J., Rizza, M., Benedetti, L., Fleury, J., Jorda, L., Groussin, O., Borgomano, J., and Léonide, P.: Learning geology using VR: student feedbacks on the VirtuaField applications, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13208, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-13208, 2020.
The Structural Geology and Tectonics (SGT) course I teach at Utrecht University is a 3rd year bachelor’s degree course with typically 20–40 participants. The course consists of 4 hours of lectures and 4 hours of practical (labs) per week, for a total of 8 consecutive weeks. It is well known that conventional lectures do not form the most effective way of teaching students in terms of learning outcomes, but constraints on classroom availability and (financial) limitations on the number of hours a lecturer is allowed to spend on a course make that we still schedule classical lectures. Interactive lecturing is the way out.
In order to improve student learning during lectures, I actively engage students in the classroom by regularly interrupting my lectures by giving short class-exercises. This is certainly not a new idea, as for example shown by the quick start-up guides for interactive lectures presented at https://serc.carleton.edu/onramps/index.html (NSF funded project). However, in my experience, class exercises are not widely used yet as a useful teaching strategy, which is a regrettable since it is easy to implement.
I typically give two class exercises per lecture hour. They always have a well-defined aim and task, and take about 3–10 minutes each. The exercises bring back the attention of students, re-emphasize a topic that I’ve just talked about, and give the students a chance to directly apply a concept, equation or technique. The exercises may include a quick calculation, making a measurement, reading a graph, or interpreting a (seismic) section or rock (micro)structure. Discussion with the neighbours is encouraged and the answers are reviewed plenary. There is no formal assessment of individual answers.
Course evaluations show that students very much appreciate the interactive nature of the lectures induced by the class exercises. They feel engaged and later revisit the exercises in preparation for exams. Although hard to quantify, in my experience the exercises improve learning. In this presentation, I’ll show examples of the class exercises I designed, and will put forward the suggestion to come to a shared database of class exercises from which we all can easily draw.
How to cite:
de Bresser, H.: Using class exercises to actively engage students in Structural Geology and Tectonics courses, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13691, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-13691, 2020.
Guillaume Duclaux, Carole Petit, Gueorgui Ratzov, Michel Corsini, Chrystele Verati, and Bruno Scalabrino
Structural geologists love their compass and cherish their maps and field book more than anything, don’t they? And they are absolutely right to do so! Now, technical evolutions and the increasing availability and use by geology professionals of digital devices for structural and geological mapping means that our teaching curriculum also has to evolve and engage in these new ways of doing geology. Nevertheless, introducing tablets as field tools in the curriculum has not been so easy… If we had received one euro every time we heard that our students need to learn how to measure geological structures with a compass and maintain a proper field book rather than use a tablet for geological mapping we would be rich! We heard complaints from colleagues because students were getting too excited about using tablets… We argue that the issue with digital mapping and the use of tablets as field tools does not lie in the tools themselves, but in the overall methodology that is simply not properly mastered by the students, and that introducing exciting new tools helps overcoming the lack of interest of some and better engage them in the field in general.
The Earth Sciences Department at the Université Côte d’Azur purchased a pool of 15 iPad-mini units (3G models, as only those are equipped with GPS) protected in water-resistant and dust-proof cases. Students are given the tablet along with a battery pack, so they can charge their devices in remote locations and keep using them for mapping for at least three days. We have used a range of free apps for mapping, depending on the objectives of the field campaigns. For brittle deformation and fault slip data analysis students have access to Rick Allmendinger’s free app: FaultKin. We have been using for digital mapping in various terrains, the free Field Move app developed by Petroleum Experts Limited. Data acquired in the field (including georeferenced pictures, structural measurements, units contacts, and faults traces) have been seamlessly imported in GIS tools like Google Earth or QGIS, and been used for generating maps and field reports. We made mistakes assuming that some mapping techniques were already understood, and we are trying to improve our teaching content both in the field and in class to better prepare our students in using digital technology. Finally, we want to emphasize that the tablets are not replacing but complementing traditional mapping techniques. After a year using these tablets we have had a great engagement from our Master students and aim to introduce these tools progressively as part of the undergraduate curriculum, still insuring that correct observations are done in the field and detailed descriptions are properly entered on the tablets.
How to cite:
Duclaux, G., Petit, C., Ratzov, G., Corsini, M., Verati, C., and Scalabrino, B.: Pitfalls on the path to success… what did we learn after introducing tablets for digital mapping and field tectonic analyses into Nice’s Geology Master program?, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18002, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18002, 2020.
Cristina Wilson, Thomas Shipley, Randolph Williams, and Basil Tikoff
We are a collaborative group of geoscientists and psychologists seeking to understand the influence of uncertainty information on geologic interpretation. We have developed a five-fold ranking system for characterizing uncertainty in the internal features of an outcrop. From least well constrained to best constrained, these are, Permissive, Suggestive, Presumptive, Compelling, and Certain. In some sense, Permissive and Certain are end members, because there is no variability within these categories. In contrast, the middle three categories - Suggestive, Presumptive, Compelling – have a range of possible values.
Permissive is the least certain form of evidence. Permissive suggests that a particular idea or interpretation cannot be ruled out, but it is also not the only available solution. Suggestive indicates that there is positive evidence for a particular interpretation, but that the evidence also allows the possibility for other interpretations. Presumptive – defined as “presumed in the absence of further information“– indicates that an interpretation is “more likely right than wrong”. Compelling indicates that the evidence is strongly supportive of the interpretation. That is, compelling evidence for an interpretation is based on a preponderance of positive evidence. Finally, Certain indicates that there is a direct and resolvable link between the evidence and a particular interpretation.
Attaching uncertainty rankings to observational data has the potential to improve the sharing and combining of datasets within geoscience, and offers experts the opportunity to weight data (based on uncertainty) during geologic interpretation. At this poster, we are investigating how the availability of uncertainty rankings for strike and dip bedding measurements impacts the structural interpretation of folding rocks in Mecca Hills in Southern California. The geology of the Mecca Hills is often described as three distinct structural blocks (the platform, central, and basin blocks), all of which are highly exposed. The Central block is characterized by highly deformed stratigraphy of Palm Spring and underlying Miocene Mecca formations that define a series of en-echelon anticline/syncline pairs of varying frequency.
We invite expert geoscientists (who have completed at least a Master’s degree) to make structural interpretations of folds (e.g., hinge orientations). You will be provided drone imagery of anticline/syncline pairs, with strike and dip bedding measurements marked at different locations. Each measurement has a corresponding ranking of uncertainty in measurement quality. We will not collect any identifying information, but we will ask you to complete a brief demographic survey.
How to cite:
Wilson, C., Shipley, T., Williams, R., and Tikoff, B.: Does having access to uncertainty information improve geologic interpretation? You tell us!, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21111, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-21111, 2020.