Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Teaching Introductory Geological Mapwork using Workpacks
Originator Mike Bell
Department School of Environment, Cheltenham & Gloucester College of of Higher Education, UK
Tel. +44 (0)1242 543498
Fax +44 (0)1242 543283

This method, used to teach introductory mapwork, involves providing each student with a kit which can be worked on at home or in the laboratory. The course is designed to help the students to develop certain mapping skills:

The aim of the course is to provide all students with skills they can take on into their careers even if they do not continue with geology. It has been found that standard exercises are often too complicated and detailed and so the department invested in kits that could be used year after year. In order to produce an effective learning tool, two full time staff were employed to look at the teaching in the department and to canvas the academic staff on their opinions of what the packages should include.

Each kit contains three exercises each accompanied by a geological map, the entire package is designed to replace a 5 week course (2 hours per week):

1. Local geological map
Accompanying booklet
Assessment: self-assessment - student writes answers in booklet (with the correct answers provided)
2. More complicated map (of Tewkesbury), includes Bouger and magnetic anomaly maps
Accompanying booklet
Assessment: students submit answers for assessment
3. Leeds geological map, more complicated with more structural features
Geological time scale
Accompanying booklet
Assessment: students submit answers for assessment

Initially the students were left to work entirely independently, however, some students missed tutor interaction and the classroom environment. Now surgery sessions are held for one hour once a week, additionally those students who do not wish to pay the £50 deposit for the kits can use ones available in the laboratory.

Student feedback on this exercise is very positive, they like it and are learning as much as with the more traditional teaching methods. Although the kits initially took a look of preparation they now save a considerable amount of teaching time. The course is a definite success from the student point of view.


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