NAGT > Professional Development > NAGT Building Stronger Geoscience Courses

Building Stronger Geoscience Courses

Part of the NAGT Traveling Workshop Program


Drawing on experiences from the previously successful Distinguished Speaker Series program and the On the Cutting Edge project, this project brings half or full day workshops, run by national leaders in undergraduate geoscience education, to institutions and events around the country. NAGT members at colleges, universities and other organizations can apply to have one of our facilitators bring a workshop on an important teaching topic to their campus.

Meet the Workshop Facilitators

David McConnell, North Carolina State University
Barbara Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Karl Wirth, Macalester College

The goal of the program is to improve geoscience education by providing local opportunities for extended exploration and development of new curricula and pedagogies. Under the auspices of this program, institutions can bring in an expert to run a workshop in one or more of four important areas of teaching and learning:

The example programs below are provided to give departments and workshop leaders a starting point for workshop planning. The list is designed to convey a sense of the range of topics and workshop opportunities that are possible through this program, but is by no means exhaustive.

Sample Half-Day Program (2-4 hours) on Course Design

9:00 Introductions and background

9:15 Overview of the "Backward Course Design" process

9:45 Design Step I: Identifying "Enduring Goals" that focus and motivate learning

10:15 Break

10:30 Design Step I: Articulating student-learning outcomes that guide instruction and learning

11:00 Design Step II: Designing learning assessments that align with outcomes

11:20 Design Step III: Designing instructional activities that promote engagement and deep learning

11:45 Discussion

Sample Full-Day Program (6-8 hours) Self-Regulation and Active Learning

9:00 Introductions and background

9:20 Reflection on the goals of higher education

9:30 Summary of what we know about "expert learners"

10:00 Self-regulation and motivation in the classroom

10:30 Break

10:45 Discussion of example metacognitive activities

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Active learning and the learner-centered classroom

1:30 Example Activities – hands-on problem-solving

2:30 Break

2:45 Workshop: Planning or re-designing an activity

4:30 Report-outs and Discussion

Expectations and Costs

Application and Selection Criteria

Read about hosting a workshop for more details about the program and selection criteria.


For Additional Information: Karl Wirth, Macalester College or Erica Zweifel, NAGT Office