Abstract by Nicole Ortiz
The impact of a virtual dinosaur excavation project on student academic performance in an introductory, university-level course about dinosaurs.
BYU’s GEOL 100 fulfills part of the physical science GE requirement and focuses on dinosaurs to teach students how science works. Traditionally, it utilizes two term papers on subjects chosen by students to prepare for exams and improve writing skills. To test the hypotheses that an applicational practice of course learning objectives better prepares students for exams than term papers, two course sections will be taught simultaneously: one with term papers and the other with a project (reports analyzing simulated dinosaur excavations based on course learning objectives). Qualitative and quantitative data based on exam scores and questionnaires will be compared between sections. If the project-based section outperforms the term paper section, it corroborates the viability of the practice of applying course learning objectives to a semester-long-project and will be a resource for others in applying research-supported geology instructional design.