Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Links: geoscience curricula, and teaching quantitative skills

Two things:

1) There have been a series of workshops and discussions on Building Strong Geoscience Departments that address the questions I discussed in my post yesterday. (And the people involved have more experience than I do - the information ranges from AGI's info on geoscience careers to Kip Hodges' advocacy of something beyond Earth Systems Science. What is it about metamorphic petrologists and Earth Systems, anyway? First Gary Ernst, now Kip Hodges...) (And for constantly changing information, check AGI's workforce page, or sign up to receive their information by e-mail.

2) Alessia at Sismordia is in a lab group that's discussing teaching geophysics to students with a variety of backgrounds. In comments on my post yesterday, she and Chris Rowan both mentioned how challenging this is. (And yes, I agree that it's difficult.) But their comments reminded me that I know about some sources of help (or at least of discussion):

  • The Math You Need project. Eric Baer teaches at a community college, and teamed up with his math department to develop a course that helps intro students improve their math skills while they're taking geology courses. He and Jen Wenner have an NSF grant to turn that experience into something that other geoscience educators can use. Their goal is to create a set of modules (with explanations and exercises) that instructors can plug into their courses. (Eventually they will also have a pre-test that students can take, so that instructors can identify students who need help.) They have a questionnaire about math that geoscientists use - you can help them improve the project by answering it.


Alessia Maggi said...

Thanks for the links, Kim. I shall pass them on to our teaching committee.

Andrew Alden, Oakland Geology blog said...

SERC is a wonderful project. The crew at Carleton College is doing great work.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who managed to get a graduate degree in geology but has NEVER TAKEN CALCULUS. Sorry to shout... just wanted to say that this math stuff is important. Thanks for working on it.