Virtual field trips in tertiary science
About the project
In this project we will adapt the successful LEARNZ Geohazard virtual fieldtrip (VFT) from the compulsory education sector to suit university field sciences.
General criticisms of virtual learning include lack of community, slow feedback, and less motivated students. LEARNZ VFT’s are aligned with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, to specifically address these criticisms.
- Collaboratively develop a virtual fieldtrip framework suitable for tertiary learners that will produce a more equitable and diverse student field experience.
- Provide internship opportunities for advanced tertiary science students to develop educational research experience within and outside the university.
- Use student and staff interviews to assess the VFT and answer our key research question – Can the synchronous, interactive and immersive LEARNZ style VFT motivate tertiary learners more than the current interactive lectures?
- Compare performance on assignments to previous years where virtual fieldtrip was not run to investigate whether the fieldtrip improved learning of hazard concepts.
Design / Methodology
Mixed methods design of interviews, focus groups, literature review and learning measures to 1) align resource development and 2) to measure benefit to learners.
- 100-200 learners will have experienced the tertiary virtual field trip. Several teachers will have engaged with the tertiary materials to benefit their classrooms. Geohazard students and teachers will have video materials that can be used for years to come.
- We will have learnt the ingredients that make a good virtual fieldtrip. From these we will provide a guide to instructors developing virtual fieldtrips.
- A plan for continuation of the collaboration will be developed, that will allow more funding to be supplied for continuation of virtual fieldtrips in the Tertiary sector.
Research student Nathaly Reyna has successfully aligned the school trip with tertiary learning goals, and developed background information pages, quizzes, and planned video segments with experts.
The fieldtrip was successfully completed with Nathaly Reyna as the university teacher, Shelley Hersey as the LEARNZ teacher, Sam Hampton and Alistair Davies as experts and Pete Sommerville as the video expert - all supported by Barrie Matthews.
3,296 school students and 90 University of Canterbury students went on the trip.
The University of Canterbury students read background pages, watched video segments (total viewing time 73 hours), completed quizzes, and took part in a live Q&A session with experts, co-ordinated by the Geol 113 instructor team.
Instructors reported student engagement and attendance at lectures and the workshop was high compared to normal classes.
Fifteen tertiary students completed an online survey about the field trip, with > 80% saying they enjoyed the trip, found background material useful for preparation for the trip and the assessments in the course, and that the additional work was at the appropriate level.
Student learning is currently being analysed through performance on the workshop assessment in comparison to previous years without a virtual field trip.
Student feedback included:
“Was interesting getting to learn about a place through seeing it. Something different than your average lecture.”
“I enjoyed the whole virtual field trip, as it prepared me well for the workshop.”
“It was helpful because it got me thinking about all the different hazards that could occur. And without those videos I probably wouldn't have thought about them.”
Nathaly is also presenting an oral presentation at the meeting of Geological Sciences of America (25-28th September in Denver, USA) where she will talk about the success of incorporating virtual fieldtrips into tertiary education.
Left to right back row: Barrie Matthews (Core Education) Pete Sommerville (Core Education) Clark Fenton (Geol 113 Lecturer, UC) Tim Davies (Geol 113 Lecturer UC), Bridget (Ako Aotearoa) David Winter (College of Education UC) Mushtak Daawood (UC flexible learning group)
Left to right front row: Kate Pedley (UC senior tutor) Alison Jolley (UC research assistant) Ben Kennedy (UC Project PI), Alistair Davies (UC Hazards Impacts Expert) Nathaly Reyna (UC research student).
The matrix we have developed to demonstrate the alignment of learning objectives with background material is encompassed in this poster.
- Ako Aotearoa - $14,935 (excl. GST)
- University of Canterbury and Frontiers Abroad - $18,240 (excl. GST)
- Earthquake Commission - $40,000 (excl. GST)
Project commenced: Mid 2016
Expected project completion: Start 2018
- Kennedy, B., Reyna, N., Pedley, K., Sommerville, P., Hampton, S., Wilson, T., Hersey, S., Matthews, B., Davies, T., Fenton, C., Brogt, E., Davies, A., Jolley, A., Daawood, M. & Winter, D. (2016). Virtual fieldtrips in tertiary science. Presentation at Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub Projects Colloquium IV, Christchurch. (14 November).
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