Collaborative Research: A Field-Based Curriculum for Quantifying Deformation of the Earth's Surface with Lasers, GPS and Cameras Grant


  • There is a strong need for integration of geodesy into university geoscience instruction. Geodesy is the study of the size, shape, and mass of Earth and their changes with time. Recent developments in geodesy have revolutionized our understanding of Earth processes and produced discoveries of significant impact to society. Geodesy field techniques are particularly valuable for assessment of natural hazards and other geologic processes. In addition to scientific research, geodetic technologies can be applied to a wide variety of commercial and government sector applications. The primary goal of this project is to improve students' skills in using geodetic technologies through their integration into geoscience field education. Hands-on, field-based experiences provide a unique learning opportunity for students to explore phenomena directly. In this project, curriculum materials will be developed for instructors and students that will help them learn about a variety of geodesy field techniques. During this two-year project at least 240 undergraduate geoscience students will be directly impacted with that number growing to several thousand within five years due to training university faculty to incorporate the learning materials into their college classes.

    This project provides a pathway for faculty to effectively integrate geodetic technologies in field experiences. This project will significantly expand resources for undergraduate geoscience student learning of geodetic field methods, research the implementation of resources by faculty in field experiences, and develop a framework to scale to multiple technologies and reach multiple universities. This project will develop, test, and disseminate two learning modules featuring geodetic field methods relevant for a wide array of geoscience applications, and will include robust measure of student learning and dissemination of developed resources to faculty members in short courses, as well as research of faculty implementation. This collaboration between UNAVCO, Idaho State University and Indiana University brings together expertise in geodetic field methods, field instruction, curriculum design, and science education research. The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) will provide assessment consulting, research support, project evaluation, and website hosting. National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) will support dissemination. The learning modules will provide instructional faculty resources to teach geodetic technologies in ways that help students develop critical thinking and other skills necessary to succeed in applied and academic sciences. A second emphasis will be on training and dissemination including short courses for faculty members with both technical and pedagogical aspects, providing a pathway for improved teaching methods in the field and classroom. We will conduct research on the effective adoption of field education teaching materials created by someone else at five universities. Data collected during the implementation and testing of learning modules will contribute to the body of educational research by analyzing the process of adoption of curricular materials by instructors in diverse field settings. This research will aid the efficiency of future curriculum development through better understanding of instructor needs.

date/time interval

  • June 15, 2016 - May 31, 2018

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 1612248