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Steele Building 03, Room 229

Saint Lucia, QLD 4067

Australia

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ERTH2002 is a second year science course that explores Earth’s history of life through time, with particular emphasis on the application of the fossil record to contemporary problems in the Earth and Biological Sciences. The class was traditionally targeted at Earth Science students, but today, now attracts enrolments from multiple disciplines across several faculties (including geology, biology, zoology, education, archaeology, anthropology and others). From Semester 2, 2017, the entire course will be taught as ‘Contacts’, with each session being a combination of theory and practical work.

Prior to Dr Price taking control, the course was fairly unpopular among students with average exit ratings of 3.4/5 for the period between 2006 and 2009. Since 2010, innovative strategies to improve student engagement, learning and achievement have been implemented. These include:

• Informal surveys at the start of the semester to gauge student interests; selection of theoretical content and especially assignments (term paper) are then tailored to suit individual students
• Re-developing the class as ‘hands-on’ and practical rather than being purely theoretical
• Interactive presentations with live student input broadcast into PowerPoint slides using their personal electronic devices (not clickers)
• Online oral feedback for every individual student based on assignment submissions
• Establishment and management of semester-specific Facebook pages/groups to foster extracurricular course engagement
• Development of online 3D virtual fossil specimens for both in-class learning and at-home study
• Introduction of our own research into the program in both the form of theory and practical teaching.

The new approach has proven very successful, with the class now rated among the most popular within the University (2010-2016 average of 4.7/5) and is consistently ranked in the top 10% of all courses, and as high as the top 1-2% (such as in 2011 - 12 and 2014 - 16).

Dr Gilbert Price is a former ARC DECRA fellow, and now lecturer based in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He has been the coordinator / lead lecturer of ERTH2002 since 2010 (with teaching support from Professor Gregory Webb).

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Location

Steele Building 03, Room 229

Saint Lucia, QLD 4067

Australia

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