EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Exploring the use of ‘ThingLink’ in delivering online virtual fieldtrips

Annie Ockelford1, Zarah Pattison2, Simon Hutchinson3, and Amy Evans3
Annie Ockelford et al.
  • 1School of Applied Sciences, University of Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University,United Kingdom
  • 3School of Science, Engineering and Environment, University of Salford, United Kingdom

Fieldwork features prominently in national subject benchmark statements for geography, earth and environmental sciences. Field learning tends to involve a problem-centred approach, often with more open-ended questions, which fosters greater motivation in the students and encourages acceptance of uncertainty and context-dependent outcomes. The current Covid-19 pandemic has meant a move to online teaching, especially for field work learning. Academics have had to offer virtual fieldtrips as alternatives to in-person field teaching as a rapid response to the pandemic, often without prior experience of the relevant IT and pedagogy.

Whilst some premade fieldtrips are available for purchase, they can be expensive, with some having limited applicability for the region of interest for individual modules, thereby not meeting students learning outcome requirements. Therefore, during the pandemic there has been a need for individual academics to develop their own virtual fieldtrips which are tailored to the specific needs of their students. 

ThingLink is an education platform which allows users to undertake virtual ‘walk throughs’ and 360 immersive experiences. Thinglink is fully Microsoft compliant and has options to link to external resources, embedded audio, video and still photographs.  In this talk, we will introduce you to ThingLink (with comparisons to other options e.g., ESRI StoryMaps and Google Explore) and its use for creating custom fieldtrips. We will also reflect on examples, from our three universities, of how we have used it for different undergraduate virtual fieldtrips. The fieldtrips focused on sampling techniques across a variety of habitats, including sampling design and assessing typical sampling errors, fluvial geomorphology and analysing cross sectional hydraulics, and geology and landform interpretation.

How to cite: Ockelford, A., Pattison, Z., Hutchinson, S., and Evans, A.: Exploring the use of ‘ThingLink’ in delivering online virtual fieldtrips, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10061,, 2022.

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