Creating accessible introductory geology field trips

Michele Lynn Cooke, Kai Stephen Anderson, Stephen Estese Forrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Introductory geology courses comprise an important part of a complete undergraduate education, and federal law stipulates that they must be accessible to all students. Mobility-impaired students, unfortunately, tend to avoid courses with required field trips because of real and perceived barriers to physical accessibility. Inexpensive evaluation, revision, and creation of accessible laboratories are pragmatic approaches that satisfy federal laws and open earth-science careers to talented students with mobility impairments. We have developed three new accessible field exercises for Stanford University's introductory geology course that improved the course rather than compromising its academic merit. In developing two new field trips, we set the following goals: 1) to locate potential sites relevant to material; 2) to eliminate obviously inaccessible locations; 3) to evaluate the remaining sites with, regard to accessibility criteria developed with advice of mobility-impaired students; 4) to test site accessibility with mobility-impaired persons; and 5) to advertise the new field trips. A third exercise creates a hypothetical field problem to teach principles of geologic mapping in an accessible setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-9
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Earth science teaching - nontraditional clientele
  • Education - general
  • Geology - field trips and field study
  • Geology - teaching and curriculum
  • Mobility-impaired students


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