GCC geology students maintain hands-on learning – even from home

Faculty comes up with effort to keep curriculum going

Posted 9/24/20

The Geology Department at Glendale Community College, 6000 W. Olive Ave., overcame numerous obstacles to deliver nearly 200 rock and mineral kits to students taking Introduction to Geology classes.

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GCC geology students maintain hands-on learning – even from home

Faculty comes up with effort to keep curriculum going

Posted

The Geology Department at Glendale Community College, 6000 W. Olive Ave., overcame numerous obstacles to deliver nearly 200 rock and mineral kits to students taking Introduction to Geology classes.

The delivery features rocks, or more precisely, specimen kits that consisted of 25 different examples of types of rocks and minerals.

“Many colleges teach geology labs online using only photos, whereas the GCC geology department has always maintained that mineral and rock identification is best accomplished using all the senses - even taste as appropriate and where hygiene is not a concern,” Glendale Community College geology instructor Gary Calderone stated in a news release.

The challenge facing the geology department was multi-fold: how to maintain high standards during a global pandemic, being short of funds and dealing with the deadline of fall semester looming?

The final goal was to get rock and mineral sample kits into the hands of approximately 200 students who could activity participate with the instructor during Zoom calls.

The first problem was finding sample boxes and getting them delivered on time.

“We thank Wayne Johnson, GCC laboratory specialist and adjunct faculty, for making that minor miracle happen,” Mr. Calderone stated.

The next step was to find nearly 9,000 samples, sort them by type, choose the samples, trim them to fit the container compartments, glue numbered dots to each item, and insert the samples into labeled compartments. Then it was necessary to assemble test kits that included glass plates, streak plates, magnets, copper wire, hand lenses and nails.

GCC chief lab tech Jennifer Harman worked from home for 30 days and nights, selecting, hammering, organizing and more. Two pick-up truck loads of rock and mineral sample kits were delivered to the campus’ Physical Sciences building where geology instructor Steve Kadel and Jennifer Harman further organized and set up a distribution center for students.

Curbside delivery took place over several days.

As a result, students are getting a hands-on learning experience.

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