Under the surface: Studying geology and plate tectonics online

Hear from Professor John Waldron on how he’ll be teaching an undergraduate geology course in September 2020.

Katie Willis - 23 June 2020

From the formation of the supercontinent Pangea to a thin-section view of deformation in plastic materials, John Waldron’s undergraduate geology course covers a great range of content. 

Waldron will be teaching Structural Geology and Tectonics (EAS 421) from a distance in September 2020, and he is working tirelessly to ensure that the remote learning experience is just as rich and informative as the in-person version.

“We work at a great range of scales, starting with the global scale,” said Waldron, professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The course will include virtual, interactive reconstruction of plate movements—from the formation of Pangea to modern times—as well as videos with Waldron from the field, including in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. 

And in an effort to make the virtual experience as hands-on as possible, students will also examine individual rock samples online. 

“On the smaller scale, we’ll look at mineral samples using visual presenters similar to the ones that we have inside the classroom,” said Waldron, in a video address to incoming and returning geology students. “We can also go even further down in scale to look at thin sections together online.” 

The global COVID-19 pandemic has required a mass migration to the digital world, and post-secondary learning is no exception. As the University of Alberta prepares to continue delivering course content primarily remotely in the Fall 2020, the Faculty of Science has connected with some of our top instructors and scientists to illustrate what the university experience will look like in the Fall 2020 term. While delivery may look different, what remains the same is our strong commitment to an engaging and quality education and experience for our students.

Hear more about Wandron’s plans for Fall 2020.

Learn more about how the University of Alberta is preparing to engage students for September and beyond on our Fall 2020 hub. 

Students, faculty, and staff can stay up-to-date with the latest information on COVID-19 for the campus community online.