Developing blended learning: Marine Geology and Geophysics
Student experience 30th November 2020
Dr Neil Mitchell tells us how he has adapted a third year module for the blended learning format, and includes a taster lecture.
My approach has been similar to many, in that I broke my lectures into a series of smaller (15 minute) podcasts, interspersed with formative tests so that students could check their learning. We have weekly one-hour drop-in sessions, when I can address areas of misunderstanding by rephrasing some of the parts of the podcasts. These are followed by 2-hour practicals two days later. My class is a 3rd year Geology module and is quite small (around 14 participants). This allowed me to have very small breakout groups (varying up to 5). When breakout groups are small like this, students have said that they find it easier to talk with each other, so the activity becomes quite social and enjoyable. We found some funny oddities of Zoom – e.g., should you knock before entering a breakout room?! I have found students also find it easy to ask questions in the drop-in sessions. The social aspect has been key to the experience. In the following podcast, I introduce the module and explain why Marine Geology is so different from Geology on land (references in the podcast to pre-existing modules refer to our earlier degree – these have since been changed, but much of the content remains).
Whilst this particular module will not be running next year, much of the material will be covered in a new module “Oceanic and continental tectonics”.