This doesn't really answer your questions, but you did ask for other comments.  I would love to take my students out on a field trip.  What I am faced with is 2 classes with a total of nearly 100 students, which is logistically and financially nearly impossible.  The logistics can be worked around with clever site selection, but the cost involved with transporting that many students is prohibitive.  I actually priced it out, and renting a school bus for a day runs about $2000.  I think a car caravan with that many would be a near nightmare.  So, what I do is offer a field trip as an option to replace a missing homework assignment.  That way, the logistics of scheduling a required field trip are eliminated, and it reduces the number to about 15, which is the size of our school vans.  Most every student who goes on the optional trip says "WOW, everyone should go!" (or maybe they're just being nice to get a better grade?)

David H. Voorhees
Associate Professor of Earth Science and Geology
Waubonsee Community College
Rt 47 @ Waubonsee Drive
Sugar Grove, IL 60554
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>>> Frank Granshaw <[log in to unmask]>10/25/10 4:36 PM >>>
Hello everyone...

I am currently looking at two arguments regarding the inclusion of fieldwork in geoscience literacy courses.  

  1. Since field studies are one of the major ways by which geoscience knowledge is constructed it is important to expose novices to how fieldwork works so they have some sense of where this knowledge comes from.  Plus it gives them first-hand experience with at least some of the phenomena that they are looking at. 
  2. With the refinement of remote sensing technology and an increasing emphasis on modeling and lab analysis, we are seeing more and more geoscientists that spend little or no time in the field.  Consequently, it is an inefficient use of limited educational resources to engage novices in an activity that is becoming increasingly less important to the research community.

Are any of you are familiar with any statistics related to the time various types of geoscientists spend in the field vs. other activities such as modeling, lab analysis, administration?  Any reflections or information on the other issues associated with this question would also be appreciated.

Frank G.

Frank D. Granshaw
Earth Science Instructor
Portland Community College
Sylvania Campus
Portland, OR