2010 Fall Meeting          
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Cite abstracts as Author(s) (2010), Title, Abstract xxxxx-xxxx presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec.

HR: 1150h
AN: ED52A-07
TI: Bringing Students out of the Classroom and into Research Projects: An Undergraduate Team Research (UTR) Program at the University of Southern California
AU: *Cox, I V
EM: icox@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Quirk, M
EM: mquirk@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Culbert, K N
EM: culbert@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Whitesides, A S
EM: andrew.whitesides@gmail.com
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Sun, H
EM: hailisun@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Black, C J
EM: cblack@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Cao, W
EM: wenrongc@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Zhang, T
EM: taozhang@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Paterson, S R
EM: paterson@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Memeti, V
EM: memeti@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AU: Anderson, J L
EM: anderson@usc.edu
AF: Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
AB: In 2006, USC Earth Sciences professors Paterson and Anderson created the Undergraduate Team Research (UTR) program, a year-long, multidisciplinary, learner-centered, student research experience. This program is open to all USC undergraduate students, but has also involved a few outstanding undergraduate students from other universities. Since its inception the 47 participants have been a diverse group: 53% women, ~17% minorities, and 43% non-Earth Science majors. To date, 15 abstracts written by UTR participants have been presented at national GSA and AGU meetings and several research papers for publication are in preparation. 12 presentations have been produced at University-sponsored research symposia and culminated in a number of senior theses. The central component of this program is a field-based research experience which involves several weeks of geologic mapping in various locations around the world. During the summer expedition, participants organize themselves into 3-4 person mapping teams consisting of a mix of undergraduate geology majors, non-majors, and mentors (professors and graduate students). At the end of each day, student researchers (with limited mentoring) work together to draft a geologic map while discussing their findings, formulating hypotheses about possible geologic histories, and planning research goals and organizing mapping teams for the next day. Throughout the following academic year, the student researchers continue to work in teams to digitize their geologic map, decide which analyses need to be done, and prepare collected rock samples for various structural, geochemical, and geochronologic studies. Most student researchers agree that they learned more in a few weeks than they often did in an entire semester course. What aspects of the UTR program elicit these high-yield results, even for non-majors that can be applied to other learning environments? We speculate that three critical elements are important: (1) The most notable is the collaborative nature, both in regards to the research itself and meeting the daily demands of living in the backcountry or a foreign country while working together as a research group. Students divided tasks amongst themselves while instructing and helping each other. Students with more geology expertise were able to reinforce their own knowledge by assisting in the teaching process that led to more rapid learning for the newcomers. (2) Student researchers developed a greater feeling of ownership in the program, which led to a greater commitment to learning and to sharing a broad range of ideas about both science and non-science activities. (3) Researchers are rewarded not only through grades, but through the excitement of daily new scientific discoveries, the joint publications of their research, and recognition by their peers. It is intriguing to speculate on what would happen if classrooms and particularly labs were designed to function as collaborative, student- run exercises with the ultimate goal to not only learn a subject, but also produce research papers on the class material.
DE: [0820] EDUCATION / Curriculum and laboratory design
DE: [0845] EDUCATION / Instructional tools
DE: [0850] EDUCATION / Geoscience education research
DE: [0855] EDUCATION / Diversity
SC: Education and Human Resources (ED)
MN: 2010 Fall Meeting