• Teaching sedimentology: opportunities for interdisciplinary, variety, innovation and employability.

      Davies-Vollum, K. Siân; Satterfield, Dorothy; Suthren, Roger; Whiteley, Martin; University of Derby (British Sedimentological Research Group, 2015-12)
      The breadth of content and skills embodied by the subject of sedimentology provides the opportunity teach in multiple learning environments, engage in innovative teaching practice and embed employability skills. Field and practical-based work are essential components of sedimentology and provide opportunities to teach in different environments outside the normal classroom setting. This allows the inclusion of a variety of learning experiences, which can in turn address different student learning styles. Field-based studies in particular create learning environments that can contribute to transformative learning experiences. The emphasis on field and practical based learning experiences in sedimentology promotes experiential learning, founded on the tenets of Kolb’s learning cycle. For example field examination of clastic sequences can be used to determine their economic potential as oil, gas or water reservoirs, thus connecting experiential learning in the field with theoretical calculations. The use of a variety of teaching environments can also facilitate experimentation with innovative teaching practice. Teaching outdoors or in a laboratory or practical class setting opens up possibilities for using technology that may not be possible in a standard classroom setting. For example students can create mini documentaries in the field that focus on modern sedimentary environments and structures using simple equipment, multimedia presentation techniques and software. Sedimentology requires the development of a variety of field, practical, quantitative and problem solving skills. These skills are highly transferrable and can help build student employability. For example, students develop practical, geoscience specific skills in the study of an oil well, combining analysis and interpretations of thin sections, core and wireline data; in grain size analysis exercises they develop more generic statistical skills. Teaching sedimentology gives the instructor scope to create innovative, experiential learning exercises and assessments in which transferrable skills can be embedded across a variety of learning environments. The subject provides a rich learning experience for students and a stimulating teaching environment for instructors.