DJI 0405Drs. Lujendra Ojha and Lauren Neitzke Adamo were selected as 1 of the 12 teams given $10,000 through the Rutgers University Innovations in Education and Teaching Pilot Grant Award for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.  This award is designed to support novel and creative instructional and learning projects to enhance faculty opportunities to develop and share innovative strategies aimed at remote and/or distance learning for students in all academic disciplines.  Ojha and Neitzke Adamo used the funds to develop virtual field trips to be implemented in various Earth and Planetary Sciences courses.  See the short project description below.

Utilization of Virtual and Augmented Reality to Innovate and Diversify Earth and Planetary Science (EPS) Education

The switch to remote instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the quality of numerous EPS courses that require field excursions and/or interaction with physical specimens of rocks, minerals, and fossils. Here we propose to create virtual field trips and 3D renderings of hand samples to alleviate the effect of remote instructions on EPS courses. The development and utilization of proposed technology also holds considerable promise to engage students with disabilities or other restrictions that would prohibit them from doing field work. After a successful pilot project, we plan on applying to NSF for external funding.