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New approaches in vocational, technical and continuing geoscience education
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 21:22 authored by Madonna, James A
Geoscience programs at the two-year vocational, technical and continuing education level experience severe enrollment fluctuations that follow the global cycle of supply and demand for mineral resources. The absence of stable enrollments has manifested itself into a major problem. Many of these geoscience programs have not survived periods of low enrollments and have either been merged with other programs or been discontinued altogether. This research into new approaches in vocational, technical and continuing geoscience education was initiated to identify what variations in need for geoscience education exist and how the problem of low enrollments may be addressed. During the initial stages of investiga-tion, answers began to surface in University of Alaska Mining Extension enrollment files and in the literature, suggesting the need to diversify geoscience education programs. Govern-ment, industry, educators and students indicate that there is a need for geoscience education that would serve industry, teachers and the general public. Theoretically, enrollments would be stabilized in two-year programs that provided geoscience education simultaneously to these three user groups. To identify the needs of each group, research was conducted in Tasmania, Australia; British Columbia, Canada; and Alaska, USA. During the initial stages of the investigation, it was revealed that, in addition to the stability created by providing courses simultaneously to the mineral industry, teachers and general public, there was a need for internal diversification to meet their individual needs. Diversity in geoscience education for the mineral industry includes the three levels of vocational, technical and continuing education. Through distribution of a comprehensive ques-tionnaire to representatives of the geoscience based organizations in each study area, the em-ployment levels, employment positions and skills required to satisfy those positions were iden-tified. It was also demonstrated that the greatest potential for success in presenting geoscience education for the mineral industry would be created if the training needs for each of the three levels of education coincided. Diversity in geoscience education for teachers involves geology, intellectual growth and mineral industry subjects. Through distribution of a comprehensive questionnaire to primary and secondary school teachers in the three study areas, the value of subjects required to satisfy these three divisions were identified. It was also shown that where the curriculum categories for these three divisions coincide, the greatest potential for success in presenting geoscience education for primary and secondary school teachers would be possible. Geoscience education for the general public was recognized as serving three areas of need, including intellectual growth, geoscience for entrepreneurs, and recreational geoscience. Through distribution of a comprehensive questionnaire to the general public in each study area, the courses required to satisfy these three educational needs were identified. It was shown that where the curriculum categories for these three elements coincide there was the greatest potential for success in presenting geoscience education for the general public. The information provided by representatives of the three study areas indicated that the curriculum diversity required to maximize provision of geoscience education for industry, teachers and the general public simultaneously, would also have the greatest potential for development of a two-year geoscience program with stable enrollments. By amalgamating the results obtained for each user group from each study area, a model has been created that includes each of the components required for the development of a diversified two-year geoscience education program. Through this model, weaknesses and strengths peculiar to individual study areas have been balanced. This model serves as a resource of information for other regions interested in developing or improving geoscience programs. This investigation into new approaches in vocational, technical and continuing geoscience education provides solutions to current problems faced by two-year geoscience programs and satisfies the geoscience educational needs suggested by government, industry, educators, students and the general public.
Rights statementCopyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1996. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 327-332)