28 Jun 2021

28 Jun 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Virtual strike and dip – Advancing inclusive and accessible field geology 

Natalie Bursztyn1, Pejman Sajjadi2,3, Hannah Riegel4, Jiawei Huang2,3, Jan Oliver Wallgrün3, Jiayan Zhao2,3, Bart Masters3, and Alexander Klippel2,3 Natalie Bursztyn et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences, University of Montana, Charles H Clapp Building 126, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
  • 2Department of Geography, The Pennsylvania State University, Walker Building, 302 N Burrowes Street, University Park, PA 16802, USA
  • 3Center for Immersive Experiences, The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802, USA
  • 4Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Appalachian State University, 033 Rankin Science West, Boone, NC 28608, USA

Abstract. Accessibility and inclusivity in field geology have become increasingly important issues to address in geoscience education and have long been set aside due to the tradition of field geology and the laborious task of making it inclusive to all. Although a popular saying among geologists is “the best geologists see the most rocks”, field trips cost money, time, and are only accessible for those who are physically able to stay outside long hours. With the availability of 3D block diagrams, an onslaught of virtual learning environments is becoming increasingly viable. Strike and dip is at the core of any field geologist’s education and career; learning and practicing these skills is fundamental to making geologic maps and understanding the regional geology of an area. In this paper, we present the Strike and Dip virtual tool (SaD) with the objective of teaching the principles of strike and dip for geologic mapping to introductory geology students. We embedded the SaD tool into an introductory geology course and recruited 147 students to participate in the study. Participants completed two maps using the SaD tool and reported on their experiences through a questionnaire. The SaD tool was overall perceived positively by students. Furthermore, some individual differences among students proved to be important contributing factors to their experiences and subjective assessments of learning. When controlling for participants’ past experience with similar software, our results indicate that students highly familiar with navigating geographical software perceived the virtual environment of the tool to be significantly more realistic and easier to use compared to those with lower levels of familiarity. Our results are corroborated by a qualitative assessment of participants’ feedback to two open-ended questions, highlighting both the overall effectiveness of the SaD tool, and the effect of geographical software familiarity on measures of experience and learning.

Natalie Bursztyn et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gc-2021-16', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Sep 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Hannah Riegel, 22 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gc-2021-16', Anonymous Referee #2, 24 Sep 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Hannah Riegel, 22 Oct 2021

Natalie Bursztyn et al.

Natalie Bursztyn et al.


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Short summary
The Strike and Dip (SaD) tool is a desktop virtual reality environment to teach taking strike and dip measurements and compiling geologic maps. SaD replicates real world field mapping by using virtual 3D outcrop models and a geologic compass the user manipulates to take measurements. SaD was implemented in an introductory geology course and students were surveyed about their experience with it. We found that the experience was overall positive and is a viable resource for accessible field trips.