Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-27-2020


The global transition to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic was an extremely difficult task for both students and faculty in geological sciences. Technical courses, such as Structural Geology, Mineralogy, Petrology, and Invertebrate Paleontology, that require in-person lectures and laboratory sessions involving various rocks and mineral samples, fossils, maps, and models, were a major concern at the start. The challenge of delivering the technical content via Microsoft Teams, Skype, Webex, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, and other internet based platforms was not only a burden for the faculty to carry, as students were struggling to conceptualize outcrop-and-type-section-based information and link these to pertinent geological phenomena dealing with depositional environment, provenance and diagenesis. Traditional classroom teaching heavily depends on signature samples and scaled models routinely used in the classrooms. However, the adaptive approach that integrates ArcGIS Pro, Google Earth Pro, and other geospatial tools coupled with digital libraries of rock samples, video simulations, and 3D scaled models can yield positive results. A preliminary assessment followed by subsequent surveying among the students enrolled in gateway geology courses mentioned above at York College – The City University of New York - revealed that not only was the delivery of the content effective for the most part, students managed to comprehend the conceptual aspects of various plate tectonic processes, key deformational features, association of mineral(s) and rock types with particular tectonic setting, post depositional and geomorphological changes on both a micro- and - macroscale.


This work was originally presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, GSA Connects Online.



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