Educating the next generation of geologists

12 Nov

This is an edited extract of a keynote presentation originally delivered at the Tenth International Mining Geology Conference in 2017-

Australia has a long tradition of providing high-quality geoscience programs to prepare graduates for entry to the workforce or undertake further studies. Employment opportunities in the future will be significantly different from those of the past and educational pathways need to provide for this. Geoscience graduates must have highly transferable generic skills that extend beyond traditional geoscience careers.
Changes in systems are brought about by revolution or evolution. At the tertiary level, changes to the way universities deliver academic programs are becoming more revolutionary than evolutionary. There are several drivers for this revolution. The dominant drivers are the dramatic and disruptive advances in the digital world – from data availability and advanced personal digital devices to new capabilities in data analytics. For educators there is increasing focus on delivering material and designing activities based upon more systematic studies on how students learn rather than simply how academics wish to teach (Bain, 2004; Hochella, 2007). Advances in the quality and quantity of online material and the capacity for software to analyse student performance will benefit students at one end of the scale, and potentially allow universities to significantly ‘scale up’ teaching at the other end.
In an increasingly competitive market, the need to improve the quality of our teaching programs, ensure a good student experience and better meet the expectations of employers is driving universities to commit significant resources to staff educational development and new infrastructure.

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