Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2021-9
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2021-9

  05 May 2021

05 May 2021

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

Virtual mapping and analytical data integration: A teaching module using Precambrian crystalline basement in Colorado's Front Range (USA)

Kevin H. Mahan, Michael G. Frothingham, and Ellen Alexander Kevin H. Mahan et al.
  • Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 2200 Colorado Ave., Boulder, Colorado 80309

Abstract. The COVID-19 pandemic hindered the ability to conduct field geology courses in a hands-on and boots-on traditional manner. In response, we designed a multi-part virtual field module that encompasses many of the basic requirements of an advanced field exercise, including designing a mapping strategy, collecting and processing field observations, synthesizing data from field-based and laboratory analyses, and communicating the results to a broad audience. For the mapping exercise, which is set in deformed Proterozoic crystalline basement exposed in the Front Range of Colorado (USA), student groups make daily navigational decisions and choose stations based on topographic maps, Google Earth satellite imagery, and iterative geological reasoning. For each station, students receive outcrop descriptions, measurements, and photographs from which they input field data and create geologic maps using StraboSpot. Building on the mapping exercise, student groups then choose from six supplements, including advanced field structure, microstructure, metamorphic petrology, and several geochronological datasets. Because scientific projects rarely end when the mapping is complete, the students are challenged to see how samples and analytical data may commonly be collected and integrated with field observations to produce a more holistic understanding of the geological history of the field area. While a virtual course cannot replace the actual field experience, modules like the one shared here can successfully address, or even improve on, some of the key learning objectives that are common to field-based capstone experiences, while also fostering a more accessible and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Kevin H. Mahan et al.

Status: open (until 30 Jun 2021)

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

Kevin H. Mahan et al.

Kevin H. Mahan et al.

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Latest update: 05 May 2021
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Short summary
We describe a virtual education module that encompasses many of the basic requirements of an advanced field exercise, including designing data collection strategies, synthesizing field and laboratory data, and communicating the results. Modules like the one shared here can successfully address, or even improve on, some of the key learning objectives that are common to field-based capstone experiences, while also fostering a more accessible and inclusive learning environment for all students.
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