Geography and Geology


Development and Implementation of an Introduction to Earth Science (GEOL 100) web site

Liberal Arts
Warner Cribb

Cribb will develop a web site for Introduction to Earth Science Laboratory. This web site will enhance student understanding of GEOL 100 lecture topics and lab exercises while enhancing the students appreciation of the important effects of earth processes on the planet's past, present and future development.

I am pleased to submit this end-of-grant report for my Summer 2000, Instructional Technologies Development Grant. The grant was awarded to support development of an MTSU Introduction to Earth Science/Introduction to Earth Science Laboratory (GEOL 100/GEOL 100L) web site. The web site was designed during Summer, 2000, and is now available for approximately all GEOL 100/GEOL 100L students to access during Fall Semester (

The site is designed to allow students quick access to topical web sites directly related to subjects covered during a typical GEOL 100 semester. For example, students may link to the Smithsonian rock and mineral collection, the U.S. Geological Survey earthquake hazards team, or the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory. Additionally, several links can be used as GEOL 100L laboratory support exercises.

An important aspect of the topical links is that all have been reviewed to ensure that material presented is consistent with the level of an introductory earth science course. Thus, students do not have to search the internet for material which they can easily understand. Importantly, many topical links are also appropriate for the K-12 the classroom.

The site is being used by all GEOL 100 instructors teaching in SAG 125, a newly renovated master classroom. The site enables faculty to easily access photographs and images of geologic processes and features which would not otherwise be available for display in the lecture hall. Also, instructors can quickly access information and data on any earth science 'event' that may occur during the semester, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

The GEOL 100/GEOL 100L web site will be, updated on a per semester basis to include new topical links and other information pertinent to the course. In addition, a photo gallery of geologic features with descriptions will be added as departmental faculty contribute their own photographs taken during field work, travel, etc.


Multimedia & On-line Instructional Technology for Earth Science

Liberal Arts
Clayton Harris

Harris is developing a series of multimedia presentations and a World Wide Web-based student resource for GEOL 100-Earth Science. The visual aids for lecture use and on-line resources for independent learning and investigation should enhance student learning and experience while making class subjects more accessible and interesting.

My grant project (Multimedia and On-line Instructional Technology for Earth Science) consisted of two parts, which I discuss under separate headings below. Please excuse the delay in submitting this progress report but the demands of the Fall semester and a number of computer related problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome, made it rather difficult before now.

Visual Aids for Lecture Use

Before the end of spring semester I began work on my visual aids for use in GEOL 100 (Earth Science). As originally envisioned, these would be presented during lecture via computer, using a video projection unit. By late spring, however, I learned that contrary to earlier assurances, my department would not have ready access to a 120+ seat lecture hall equipped for computer presentations before fall semester of 1998. For this reason, I decided to concentrate my efforts on developing a student lecture guide with computer-drafted figures and text. At a later date, I will integrate them with slides to develop a series of complete multimedia lectures as originally proposed. In class, I am currently using the figures from the student lecture guide as overhead transparencies. This seems to be fairly effective, although not what I had envisioned. I have enclosed a copy of the student lecture guide for your benefit. As is probably obvious, drafting, editing and correcting the hundreds of figures contained therein was a monumental task.

On-Line Resources for Independent Learning

I was, likewise, somewhat foiled in my plans for developing on-line resources for GEOL 100 this summer. Obviously, the figures and text from the student lecture guide were to be an integral part of my Earth Science website, so the effort that I expended on them has not gone to waste. However, by mid-June, I was informed that in all likelihood I would not have a network connection to my UNIX account this summer. My plans for development of a website were contingent upon moving from the modular offices (which are not on the campus-wide network) to KOM by mid-summer. Since I currently have a text-only Internet connection, development of a graphically oriented website would be nearly impossible. I have collected numerous resources, such as URLs, invested a lot of time considering the design and layout of the website, written HTML code for a number of web pages, plus various and sundry other things. I have not, however, actually posted any documents for GEOL 100 on the Internet. As it turns out, access to a graphical network connection is still months away, so I am glad that I did not devote any more time to this part of the project.

Obviously, I am somewhat disappointed by what I was able to achieve on the project this summer. However, as I am sure you now realize, the circumstances involved were beyond my control. The time and effort that I have already expended on preparing my lecture guide and developing my website far exceed the time I would have expended in preparation for and presentation of a three hour class. Even so, I continue to work on my web page materials, and am editing the graphics and text from my lecture guide based on student input and classroom experiences. When the necessary facilities become available, I will be ready to implement both my multimedia lecture presentations and web site.

During the Spring semester, 1998, I will be teaching an Honors section of Earth Science in a master classroom. Therefore, by then I will have my multimedia lecture presentations completed, and even though I won't have a graphical Internet connection, I will be maintaining a presence on the web. I will upload a first draft of my web site by periodically accessing my account from our student computer lab in KOM. Since I am in the modular offices, this is going to be rather inconvenient and time consuming. However, I want to take advantage of the small class size in Honors' sections while I work out the bugs in my web site.