This course is as close as possible to a face-to-face course without actually going in the field. It utilizes: a) video lectures to replace the classroom and outcrop lectures; b) GPS located field video descriptions, photos, hand lens views, field notes, and field sketches of outcrops; c) Google Earth Pro for 3-D visualization of outcrop settings, tracing contacts away from the video field stations, etc.; d) topographic maps for geologic mapping; e) cross section construction, stereonet analysis, and other geologic analysis tools for interpretation.
This course is as academically rigorous as the IUGFS face-to-face field courses but does not pose the physical challenges and potential barriers. Most students who have taken this virtual course tell us they learned an immense amount about geologic mapping, geoscience interpretation, time management, and geoscience project management. However, most students also found the course very difficult because of the isolation of working online. As currently configured this course requires about 40 hours of structured learning plus up to 25 hours of “homework” per week for three consecutive weeks.