Bringing the mountain to the student: developing a fully integrated online volcano module

Chris Turney, David Robinson, Maria Lee, Alan Soutar

Abstract


Fieldtrips are a crucial and established component of teaching in the Earth Sciences, providing an effective means of turning theory into practice. Increasing class sizes, ‘exotic’ locations and the associated costs, however, often make it impractical to take the students into the field. In an attempt to reconcile these issues, we have started exploiting technology to develop a new module entitled ‘Volcanoes, Humans and Environmental Catastrophes’ for which five ‘virtual’ field trips were integrated within the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. The fieldtrips were formed around online interactive maps that allowed the students to explore the field study environment by streamlined film footage, high quality images and text. This paper explores the advantages of this approach and identifies problems that are likely to be of relevance to colleagues developing similar resources in their own speciality.

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