Instructor: Carl Renshaw, Earth Sciences
Overview: We seek to address the growing disconnect between the technologically-rich learning environment Dartmouth students enjoy in the classroom and the relatively “primitive” environment we provide them during field training. This disconnect exists despite the ever-increasing technical sophistication of the instruments that we use in the field and that students later use in their post-Dartmouth careers. The fundamental pedagogic issues, however, go beyond the desire for our students to be technologically proficient. Currently, the instruments we bring to the field largely work in isolation and thus hinder the sharing of data between students and limit their learning. The promise of mobile technology in the field is to connect and share data and ideas in near real-time in a manner that fosters, rather than impedes, learning.
We are requesting Venture funding to purchase field portable computers and software to be used on our off campus studies program. Our proposal immediately involves all six faculty who co-teach the off campus program and, ultimately, other faculty in the department who teach field-based labs as part of their regular courses. The specific Dartmouth courses directly benefiting from this proposal include EARS 45, 46, and 47, all offered each fall term as the Earth Sciences Off Campus Field Studies Program (the Stretch). When not being used during the Stretch, the equipment and software will be available to all faculty in our department for use in field labs that are part of a number of our regular Dartmouth-based courses, including EARS 26 (Hydrology and Water Resources), EARS 28 (Environmental Geology), EARS 33 (Earth Surface Processes and Landforms), EARS 44 (Structural Geology), EARS 64 (Introductory Geophysics), and EARS 66 (Hydrogeology).