|Title||Group-Based Projects In Metamorphism: Case Study|
|Department||Department of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK|
|Tel.||+44 (0)151 794 5154|
|Fax||+44 (0)151 794 5196|
Over the last 6 years, second year geology students have completed a group-based practical project in metamorphism, involving the study of about 30 pelite specimens, about one third of which also have thin sections. The specimens are located on a topographic map and the students have to:
The project is designed to make students gather a wide range of information, to analyse, synthesis and report it in a succinct manner. Tasks 1-4 above can be divided up but must be internally consistent which provides a valuable check for assessment. Tasks 5-7 force students to severely edit what they hand in, especially the 200 word summary limit. Task 8 forces the group to reflect on what they have done.
Originally, the project was done on an individual basis but during modularisation of existing geology courses, the formal time available for practicals was decreased to comply with faculty guidelines. The halving of practical time meant that individual projects became unsustainable. As a result I changed it to a group-based project running over 3 weeks, using established 2nd year tutorial groups. Various advantages accrued from this:
Student feedback has been generally positive. Some suggest that they would have preferred to do it alone, many said that they would have like more generous word and page limits. However, the students already get plenty of practice working alone and the severe page and word limits are to force the groups to decide what they consider to be really important, rather than just presenting everything they have seen.