During the last three and a half years iEarth have been working towards revolutionizing the geoscience education in Norway. This year has been no different. The year started with a plethora of activities in the different focus areas.
The year kickstarted with workshops held by Professor Susan Kaspari, on integrating sustainability in education. Susan’s visit sparked fruitful discussions and led to several initiatives in integrating sustainability into courses. In Bergen there was also an entrepreneur workshop for students with StartUp-lab with a total of 67 students attending. Additionally, Thomas and Jostein attended the annual Nordic Geological Winter Meeting at NTNU in Trondheim and the first iEarth publication of the year was published;
“Students’ response to the introduction of active learning and computational practices in a bachelor-level earth science course. Nordic Journal of STEM Education 7 (1): 15-26. Tor Einar Møller, Serianna J. Kvarøy, Bjarte Hannisdal.”
January also marked the start of yet another GeoIntern-course at UiT, UiB and UiO, this time with newly appointed Kenneth Mangersnes as the course coordinator at UiB. In addition to this GeoInternInterantional, had its official start in January. This project will bilaterally exchange between UiB, UiO and UiT with international partners in Canada, USA, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, China and Japan.
The iEarth-train kept rolling into February, with yet another publication this time by PhD-student Rafael Kenji Horota; An Immersive Virtual Field Experience Structuring Method for Geoscience Education. February was also the first week of internships in Bergen, which set the precedence for work on industry collaboration that we continued to work on for the remainder of the year.
In line with the iEarth philosophy of using students as agents of change, Elena Victoria Brattebø was appointed National Student Coordinator at the beginning of March. The position as national student coordinator has been important for all the student activity occurring during 2023. Furthermore, members of the iEarth Bergen branch attended the MNT conference in Stavanger. The overarching theme and aim of the gathering was to find new ways of improving our education to better prepare students for the unforeseen challenges of the ever-evolving professional life.
In April the GeoIntern students had their final two weeks of internships and thus completed the practical component of the course. At UiB Læringskonferansen 2023, iEarth had several presenters starting with Dario Blumenschein’s presentation on “Implementing changes in higher education: a social network perspective”, followed by Julien Pooya Weihs presenting ““I will survive”: Enhancing the sense of belonging in academic communities”, and Kjersti B. Daae talk on “Student guides: supporting learning from laboratory experiments through across-course collaboration”, as well as Bjarte Hannisdal presentation on “Towards a visible, connected and flexible higher education”. Several iEarth funded seed projects also presented their work with Henk Keers talk on “The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on University Education”, and Sondre Bollands presentation on “Mandatory vs Voluntary Course Work in Introductory Programming Courses”. Pål Ringkjøb Nielsen also had a poster on “Redesign to student-active learning for Field and Laboratory Course in Quaternary Geology/Physical Geography”. Keynote speakers Prof. Catherine Bovill, a world leader in co-created curriculum and Prof. Crina Damşa, an expert on collaborative learning, ensured the UiB-hosted Læringskonferansen 2023 was a major success and wonderful way to round off another month of iEarth activities.
Towards the end of spring the iEarth institutions wrapped up the semester in May and June. In the start of May, Hakan Heggernes stepped in as a temporary network coordinator while Thomas was on parental leave. During the same period, the iEarth-students arranged a career day in Bergen, where seventeen different companies highlighted possible career paths to our students. The day ended with dinner and networking at 360 rooftop bar in the city center with a hundred participants. The GeoIntern-course also came to a close at the different institutions, with a fun gathering with final presentations from the students. At the same time Iver Martens travelled around Europe presenting the importance and the effect of the GeoIntern project at the international stage.
The highlight of the year came in May and June as GEOV114 at UiB won theEducation Quality Award for Higher Education, as well as Bjarte Hannisdal, Kjersti B. Daae and Maria Jensen being awarded the Excellent Teaching Practitioners (ETP) award. We are incredibly proud of everyone who has been involved with the development of excellence in teaching. These awards underline the importance of the SFU scheme to stimulate innovation in higher education and show the way for others who want to develop teaching in the direction of more student active learning forms.
The final agenda for the spring semester was the “Teaching and Learning” conference in Edinburgh, hosted by Prof. Catherine Bovill. A delegation of iEarth staff and students travelled to Edinburgh, and during our trip we had two days filled with meetings with our colleagues from the School of Geoscience and the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh, as well as a full day attending the teaching and learning conference.
In the end of July, Mirjam S. Glessmer and Kjersti B. Daae together with Linda Latuta and Francesco Saltalamacchia published a paper: "Activity Bingo: Nudging Student to Make the Most out of Fieldwork". The paper focuses on making the most out of the valuable learning opportunities that fieldwork present.
In the beginning of August, we welcomed Carly Faber to the iEarth family. She is currently conducting research within Focus Area 3, highlighting our continued commitment towards novel educational research. As the autumn semester progressed into September a small iEarth delegation attended the Conference of Higher Education 2023 in Kristiansand hosted by the Norwegian directorate for higher education and competence (HK-dir). The program was opened by Norwegian minister of higher education Sandra Borch. Later on, iEarthers Iver Martens and Bjarte Hannisdal gave talks on their nationally recognized work within iEarth.
The final months of the year were among the busiest as several iEarth-lead conferences were held in October and November. In Tromsø the student chapter arranged a career day, which gathered a range of local businesses that presented themselves. In the start of october another publication was published in the Nordic Journal of STEM Education; "Student guides: supporting learning from laboratory experiments through across-course collaboration", by Kjersti B. Daae, Elin Darelius, Anne Digranes Årvik and Mirjam S. Glessmer. In Bergen we invited students, academia and industry partners to “GeoPraksisdagen 2023” in the University Aula. The theme for this iteration of GeoPraksisdagen was increased collaboration between universities and industry. This conference was a big step forward in the continued progression of work-life relevance in our education. In Oslo we held our final conference of the year, the GeoLearning Forum (GLF). In the weekend before GLF a student workshop gathered all the iEarth students with the main goal for the students in the iEarth students to get to know each other and discuss their experience being a part of iEarth. Additionally, the workshop focused on student engagement and what the earth science education should look like in the future. The workshop ended with a meeting Monday November 6th where Elena Victoria Brattebø was voted by the student leaders to continue as the National Student Coordinator.
The annual GLF gathered students and academics in Oslo at Scandic Helsfyr. The program this year focused on sustainability and inclusivity in Earth Science Education, and included posters, workshops and talks from students, staff and three invited keynotes; Prof. Susan Kaspari, Prof. Katja Enberg and Dr. Steven Rodgers. On Monday, we voted over a new national student leader and Elena Victoria Brattebø was voted forward to continue her work. We are incredibly happy that Elena wants to continue her journey as our national student leader until the next GeoLearning Forum in 2024. The GLF showed that we should continue implementing sustainability into our education. It was also evident from talks, workshops and discussion that there is a need to raise our efforts within diversity and inclusivity for both staff and students.
Through the year the iEarth student chapters have arranged many small events at the different institutions like pub lectures, georakel and UNIS breakfasts. We would like to say a big thank you to the students for the hard work they are putting into iEarth and the engagement they have regarding improving the Earth science education. And especially thank you to the chapter leaders: Siri Tungland (UiB), Marie Aas (UiO), Emilie Norbeck Larsen (UiT), Ingrid Jørgensen Valstad (UNIS) and Daan Boer (UNIS).
As we enter December and approach the holidays, we look back on a fantastic year for our SFU. At the same time, we recognize that the work is not finished. We recently devised a new strategy for iEarth to ensure next year will be just as prosperous and that we keep improving the quality of the education for our current and future students. This is a huge undertaking that would not be possible without the enthusiastic and dedicated individuals that make up the iEarth team. In light of this, we would like to end this summary by welcoming our new professor II, Maria Weurlander. Her expertise on teaching in higher education is a huge asset for us that will surely propel us to greater heights next year.
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