Hybrid course “Living with Cascade Volcanoes”

I plan to develop a hybrid version of the GEO 305 course Living with Cascade volcanoes. This is a 3 credit baccalaureate core course for non majors, and is designed to provide students with an insight into the processes that lead to the formation of volcanoes, the different types of volcanoes and volcanic eruptions, and the hazards that volcanoes can present to people and infrastructure. The typical enrollment is 40-60 students. The focus of the class is on our “local” volcanoes of the Cascades such as Mount Hood and Mount St Helens, but we will also venture out to look at other volcanoes around the world – particularly in the developing world where volcano-related hazards can be much more acute. We’ll specifically use case studies from recent volcanic eruptions to understand volcanic processes and the hazards they represent (examples such as the Amero disaster in Columbia, Mount St Helens in 1980, Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland, Kilauea Hawaii and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines).

The course is being developed to be a “hybrid” class – with both face to face (‘f2f’) and online modalities. My goal with a hybrid approach is to prioritize f2f time for discussions and other activities that reinforce learning, while using online activities and research to provide the initial knowledge, and also to take advantage of an existing rich environment of online resources regarding volcanoes and volcanic eruptions.

Other features I plan to build into the course:

  • Continual assessment – i.e. no midterm or final, but weekly online quizzes and exercises to bolster learning.
  • An in-class volcano monitoring simulation based around Mount St Helens where students take the roles of various people involved in making decisions about volcanic risk
  • Development of a group multi-media term project presentation based around illustrating the volcanic hazards that exist for different cities and towns in the Cascade region.
  • Active learning demonstrations – i.e. blowing up trash cans full of water, adding mentos to coke etc., and using these to illustrate key concepts about volcanic behaviour.
  • A class field trip to Mount St Helens or to Central Oregon.
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2 Responses to Hybrid course “Living with Cascade Volcanoes”

  1. mulletk says:

    I see that your enrollment will be about 60 students. Do you think you will use on-line discussion board activities or do you think you will use most of your on-line time as individual quizzes and reports?

  2. Adam says:

    Hi Kathy – I am still not sure about this. I have listened with interest to the group talk about graded discussions, and have read some of the material Cub supplied. However I am still a little shy about making this a big part of the class with 60 odd students.


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