Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Earth Systems teaching

There is an interesting discussion on Kim Hannula's blog about the pros and cons of teaching Earth Systems science as opposed to more hard core Geology topics. Essentially the debate centers on the purpose of such courses for the students that take them. If these students end up in careers outside Geology, then having the kind of overview an Earth Systems course could offer would be more than enough. However, for students intending to continue to a Geology based job (in the oil industry for example) or to a master's or doctorate degree, such courses are wholly inadequate.

A similar debate is happening at the moment in the Geophysics circles at our lab. We are being asked to open up geophysics teaching to students from a variety of backgrounds, including a number who have little or no mathematical training. The question is how to follow these courses with a master's or PhD program that necessarily involves a great deal of mathematical analysis? As for the Earth Systems debate, the jury is still out on this one.

1 comment:

Alessia Maggi said...

Kim has just published a couple of very interesting links regarding methods (online and off) for teaching mathematical skills in introductory geophysics courses. Thanks Kim!