Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2021-10
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2021-10

  19 May 2021

19 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Multi-scale virtual field experience, Grand Ledge, Michigan, USA

Madeline S. Marshall1 and Melinda C. Higley2 Madeline S. Marshall and Melinda C. Higley
  • 1Department of Earth & Environment, Albion College, Albion, Michigan, 49224, USA
  • 2Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies Department, Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49546, USA

Abstract. Field experiences are a critical component of undergraduate geoscience education; however, traditional onsite field experiences are not always practical due to accessibility, and the popularity of alternative modes of learning in higher education is increasing. One way to support student access to field experiences is through virtual field trips, implemented either independently or in conjunction with in-person field trips. We created a virtual field trip (VFT) to Grand Ledge, a regionally important suite of sedimentary outcrops in central lower Michigan, USA. This VFT undertakes all stages of a field project, from question development and detailed observation through data collection to interpretation. The VFT was implemented in undergraduate Sedimentation and Stratigraphy courses at two different liberal arts institutions, with one version of the VFT conducted in-person and the other online. The VFT was presented from a locally hosted website and distributed through an online learning platform. Students completed a series of activities using field data in the form of outcrop photos, virtual 3D models of outcrops and hand samples, and photos of thin sections. Student products included annotated field notes, a stratigraphic column, a collaborative stratigraphic correlation, and a final written reflection. VFT assessment demonstrated that students successfully achieved the inquiry-oriented student learning outcomes and student reflection responses provide anecdotal evidence that the field experience was comparable to field geology onsite. This VFT is an example of successful student learning in an upper-level Sedimentation and Stratigraphy course via virtual field experience with an emphasis on local geology.

Madeline S. Marshall and Melinda C. Higley

Status: open (until 14 Jul 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Madeline S. Marshall and Melinda C. Higley

Madeline S. Marshall and Melinda C. Higley

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Short summary
We created a virtual field trip (VFT) to Grand Ledge, a regionally important suite of outcrops in Michigan, USA. There is a wide range of sedimentary and stratigraphic features encompassed in this locality, making it ideal for a comprehensive virtual field experience. The VFT undertakes all stages of a field project – students investigate outcrops and samples at multiple scales, and students report successfully learning how to interpret complex sedimentary environments "like a real geologist."
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