You might be interested in a project being run by the Open University in the UK which provides remote access to fieldwork: http://projects.kmi.open.ac.uk/era/. The project was initially set up to provide fieldwork opportunities for mobility-impaired students, but the method and equipment that the OU have developed has the potential to enhance access for mobility-impaired and able-bodied students across a range of contexts, e.g. to inaccessible, risky, or protected sites. The great thing about this approach is that it enables students to interact with the field site in real time and so to ‘participate’ in fieldwork, albeit from a distance. I worked with the project team earlier this summer to evaluate and compare the learning experiences of a group of students carrying out fieldwork at a field site, and a group participating remotely using this equipment. We found no significant difference in task performance between the different groups, i.e. in their abilities to meet pre-defined learning objectives. What differed, unsurprisingly, were their affective responses to the different types of fieldwork.
I’ll be at GSA if you want to know more!
Dr Alison Stokes
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Plymouth, UK
Tel: 01752 587912
From: Frank D. Granshaaw [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 26 October 2010 16:19
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Geoscience reliance on fieldwork