Networked computing presents opportunities for innovation in geoscience instruction. Many institutions are hybridizing their introductory courses or offering them completely online. However, a key challenge in the geosciences is that of adapting laboratory classes to the online environment, particularly with regard to teaching mineral and rock specimen identification. This contribution discusses the design and implementation of an online introductory geology laboratory at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, including curriculum, materials, assessments, and delivery of instruction. Results are presented from a pilot study comparing student outcomes of both an online section and a traditional, face-to-face (F2F) section. No significant differences in assessment outcomes were found between a face-to-face control group and an online experimental group. Recommendations are presented for instructors and institutions that may be considering online laboratory instruction.
- Received 6 March 2009.
- Revision received 22 January 2010.
- Accepted 27 January 2009.
- © 2010 Geological Society of America