A digital interactive tutorial has been created to provide undergraduates a 'virtual microscope' resource for learning sandstone petrology. The tutorial does not replace hands-on laboratory experiences with the petrographic microscope, but lends efficiency and breadth to the learning process. Students are able to obtain practice with identification of a wide array of sandstone components outside of the laboratory and independently of the instructor. The efficacy of traditional petrography instruction versus instruction supplemented by the tutorial was assessed in two semesters of GEO 416M, "SEdimentaryARocks" at the University of Texas at Austin. Students in the first semester were not provided with the tutorial, providing a baseline or control for comparison. In the second semester, the digital tutorial was provided to all students on CD and assigned as a required resource in laboratory exercises. Investigation of student attitudes towards the tutorial demonstrates a high level of approval, and subject matter attainment appears to improve with tutorial use. Individualized, one-on-one instruction should remain a key element in effective teaching of petrography. Digital materials have a clear benefit in terms of enhancing the quality, availability, and breadth of the demonstration materials that can be provided to students. Based on this preliminary assessment, there are benefits in student learning as well.
- Digital imaging
- Educational assessment
- Sedimentary petrology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)