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20 May 2019

Digital manipulation as a teaching aid

Photoshop is a powerful image editing program. Its “cloning” tool allows the removal of “distracting” data from geological imagery. Examine these four examples and consider the ethical limits of the technique. Is it okay to remove fractures and lichens from an outcrop photo in order to allow novices to focus on the geological content you want them to learn from?

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18 February 2019

What the Best College Students Do, by Ken Bain

Periodically, the administrators at my college will buy a lot of copies of a particular book, and then distribute them to the faculty as a way of sharing a useful resource or message. Generally, I find that I have other more urgent ways to spend my reading time: books about astronomy or rocks or ancient life or politics or philosophy. But this semester there are a couple of new variables …

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28 November 2017

A new approach for teaching the geologic history of Virginia

I believe in tinkering with my teaching, and reflecting on the new approaches to see if I think they’re worth keeping or not. One of the topics I teach is the geologic history of Virginia. I do this because it’s essential knowledge to put the students’ upcoming field trip in context, but it’s also a nice example of how geologic techniques can be applied to understand the history of a …

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20 September 2017

Make It Stick, by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel

This past spring, when I attended the InTeGrate workshop called “Teaching About the Earth Online,” one of the participants recommended the book Make It Stick, by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel. Months later, the volume finally moved up in my reading queue to the top. It’s a fascinating account of the empirical research about how people successfully learn. I found it absolutely engaging and stimulating, in particular the …

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15 August 2015

Paleobiology database survey request

Dear colleagues, My collaborators and I are exploring the potential of big science databases, like the Paleobiology Database (see below), to enhance geoscience education and research at all types of institutions. We’re very interested in learning who is and isn’t currently using this and other databases for education and research and why. This work is supported by an NSF DUE grant #1504588. If you could take about 10 minutes to …

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12 August 2015

Rockies student projects, 2015

Another year, another batch of student projects from my Rockies field course, each intended to elucidate some aspect of the geology of the Montana / Wyoming Rocky Mountains for the general public: Geology of Grand Teton National Park (Marcell) Tilted glaciolacustrine beds near Glacier National Park (James) Blog on various aspects of the field course’s geology (Zack) A geologist’s guide to the Beartooth Highway (Peri) The Sawtooth Range and the …

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Student guest post: the Belt Supergroup in Glacier National Park

As longtime readers know, late summer is when my Rockies students submit their final projects – web-based explanations of key geologic sites they examined during the trip. Today, I offer you a guest blog post by student John Leaming. You’ll notice that I’m not *completely* absent from the post, however – I make a couple of cameos as “sense of scale.” Enjoy, -CB ______________________________________________________________ Glacier National Park, Belt Supergroup I …

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10 August 2015

Losing Ernie

I got horrible news yesterday. One of my favorite students committed suicide Saturday night. Ernie was a participant in last year’s Border to Beltway field exchange. He was a student at El Paso Community College, and was an enthusiastic participant in both phases of that program (a week in spring in West Texas, a week in May in the mid-Atlantic region). I only got to interact with him directly for …

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12 August 2014

More Canadian Rockies student projects

In addition to the projects I linked to last week, here are a few more: Jessica H. made a Prezi about the Kananaskis Trail outcrops, with a bonus trip up to Peyto Lake. Sean D. made a PowerPoint tour of the sedimentary features we saw in the Great Plains. James focused on the Cougar Creek drainage’s damage during the 2013 floods and subsequent remediation. Finally, Josh D. explored the geological …

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7 August 2014

A selection of “Canadian Rockies” field course final projects

I’ve got some student work to share with you today. Like yesterday’s guest post on deltas growing into Canadian Rockies glacial lakes, my Rockies students are turning in their final projects – digital products that aim to serve the world at large by introducing key places in the Canadian Rockies to a wider audience. The idea is to go from outcrop-scale observations to the larger context, to tell the interpretive …

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