TS
Tectonics and Structural Geology

Teaching

Cargèse Earthquake Summer School 2017

Cargèse Earthquake Summer School 2017


Earthquakes: nucleation, triggering, rupture, and relationships to aseismic processes – 
2-6 October 2017, Cargèse (Corsica)

A good spot to ponder over earthquake physics… or life! Credits: Elenora van Rijsingen

A summer school in October, isn’t that a bit late? Well, not if it is held in Cargèse, a small town at the coast of Corsica! After a successful first edition in 2014, scientists from all over the world gathered again last week at the beautifully located ‘Institut d’Etudes Scientifique’ in Cargèse, to learn, share, discuss, agree and sometimes disagree about all facets of earthquakes.

The scientific program of the course was built around  several keynote lectures per day, given by well-known scientists in these disciplines like Satoshi Ide, Chris Marone, Bill Elsworth, Gregory Beroza, Shamita Das and many more. In order to give the participants of the course the opportunity to share their own work as well, the keynote lectures were alternated with short talks and poster sessions.

Some free time to discuss in small groups. Credits: Elenora van Rijsingen

Topics like earthquake nucleation, triggering, rupture propagation, rate and state friction laws, induced seismicity and the wide range of ‘slow earthquakes’ were discussed. Due to the various backgrounds of both the participants and the keynote speakers, many different scales and aspects of these processes were addressed: from seismological observations to laboratory earthquakes, and from microfractures to the subduction megathrusts. Bridging the gaps between these different disciplines and scaling from the laboratory scale to the natural cases is a big challenge. Therefore, frequent interaction between the communities helps us to move forward together and better understand the intriguing processes behind earthquakes.

“On Friday evening we had a final discussion session which I enjoyed. All of us participants agreed on several common points like the connection with geological observations, simplifying our earthquake jargon and stimulate diversity by including more disciplines for potential future workshops. Considering the partial disagreements during session discussions and different standpoints from various communities this final agreement was a nice outlook. I hope this was not only because it was Friday evening and everybody was tired from an intense but inspiring week.” – Simon Preuss, PhD student at ETH Zurich

Posters were displayed outside throughout the week. Credits: Elenora van Rijsingen

And what better way to have this interaction in a beautiful and inspiring place like the Corsican coast? Fortunately, many of the participants remembered to bring their swimming gear so that they could go swimming during the long and lazy lunch breaks. Others would continue discussing at the posters or join the optional early afternoon sessions, which varied from software tutorial sessions to informal discussions about earthquake early warning systems and how to implement them. The small scale of the course, combined with the relaxed and informal atmosphere throughout the whole week made it a very successful event, almost like a scientific retreat! And the good news for the people who missed it: word is getting around that there might be a third edition of the course within a few years!

Teaching in the 21st century – a PICO session

Teaching in the 21st century – a PICO session

With the progress in the digital world there are more and more e-tools available for research and teaching. What are smart ways to make use of new techniques in teaching? For inspiration and learning, Hans de Bresser, Janos Urai and Neil Mancktelow convened a PICO session at the EGU 2017 General Assembly to showcase present-day e-learning opportunities to improve the efficiency and quality of teaching structural geology and tectonics. Despite an 8h30 morning slot and a limited number of abstracts, all spots during the 2 min madness were taken and all authors were talking the full 90 minutes – and some even well into the coffee break – about what they are using and how. Inspirational and fun!

Hans, you’re somewhat of an expert on teaching in Utrecht as former head of teaching in geosciences, how would you say that teaching has changed from back when you were a student?

”In my time as a student, I spent hours learning to identify rocks and recognizing minerals in thin sections, browsing back and forward in text books packed with determination tables and graphs of which more than half was not relevant for me. I also invested a lot of time in making maps in the field, carefully adding measurements and colors, hoping that I did it right the first time (never) and that I wouldn’t spill coffee over my precious products (it happened). And I sat in classes in which professors talked for hours, repeating the content of books that I had in front of me, while my level of activity in class was so low that preventing to fall asleep was a serious challenge.  I really learned a lot, definitely had a lot of fun, but looking back I feel it could have been done more efficiently. New styles of teaching, such as blended learning and flipping the class room, and state-of-the-art e-tools for data collection, modelling and visualization now help us to be very efficient and improve the quality of teaching. And it can be fun”.

 

Broadly speaking the presented aids can be divided in the following 3 categories, for each category we give examples below.

1. How to bring the real and experimental world into the classroom?

2. How to make life easier for a teacher?

3. Can we add extra information using the virtual world?

 

Category 1:  How to bring the real and experimental world into the classroom?

Benjamin Craven explaining his PICO: Fieldwork Skills in Virtual Worlds. Credit: Anne Pluymakers 

Virtual landscape, presented by Benjamin Craven: a 3D model of a field area, to bring the real world in the classroom, and increasing the efficiency of real world field teaching. Different packages of open source software make it easy to design your own landscapes, though you can also make use of the already made world. One could also teach students photogrammetry, to enable them to make their own 3D models using photos made with a smart phone, of rocks or other items in the classroom. One idea is to ask students to create a geological map in the virtual “field”, but then to give each student only a limited amount of time to do so. This allows them to learn how to plan their time in mapping projects.

Drones and 3D models , presented by Thomas Blenkinsop. Using drones one can make 3D surface models, which can be combined with cross sections to create a 3D MOVE (TM Midland Valley) project. It starts with the regular manual work, but adding the digital models improves 3D thinking as well as it allows students to check their own cross sections.

Deforming ice with students, presented by Dave Prior. A low-cost ice deformation rig, designed to be used by student teams. It brings Dave’s own research into the class room. Through a questionnaire teams were designated by Dave to get the right mix of skills to eventually present a poster. Some results are of high enough quality to publish.

 

Thomans Blenkinsop explaning about using drones, Lidar measurements and 3D models for undergraduate teaching. Credit: Anne Pluymakers.

Category 2: How to make life easier for a teacher?

Jupyter notebooks, presented by Florian Wellmann: software for those who can’t program. It makes it easier to create exercises, and to allow students to play around with parameters. Automatic and manual exercise grading are both easy.

STEREOVIDEO, presented by Jose A. Alvarez-Gomez. This is a (currently Spanish only) channel with various Youtube video instructions on how to use stereonets. The channel will bring more subjects later. It is very popular in Latin America.

 

Category 3:  Can we add extra information using the virtual world?

Zappar, presented by Friedrich Hawemann. Using an icon on a poster and a free download app one can add extra layers of information to images. It also recognizes objects such as a polished rock, allowing the teacher to add arrows, circles etc. to highlight features

 

By Anne Pluymakers (just a visitor) and Hans de Bresser (session convener)