In this issue: 
  • Land of Fire and Ice: How a trip to Iceland led to an exciting video series being featured in Carleton’s Natural Disasters course
  • Online Tools for Learning Support at Carleton
  • CUOL Exam Schedules
Land of Fire and Ice

Find out how a trip to Iceland led to an exciting video series being featured in Carleton’s ERTH 2415 (Natural Disasters) course

Vast peninsulas. Towering glaciers. Jagged volcanic rocks.

These were some of the sights a group of Carleton University students and faculty witnessed during a field trip to Iceland in 2014.  During the Iceland trip, more than 20 undergraduate and graduate students experienced diverse landscapes firsthand. Led by Carleton professor Brian Cousens, these students – who were studying at Carleton and the University of Ottawa – toured sites such as the renowned Reykjanes Peninsula.

The trip is documented in a series of three videos that will be incorporated into ERTH 2415, a natural disasters course available through CUOL. Professor Claire Samson, who teaches the course, enlisted the help of Carleton alumnus Dave Melanson to take photos and videos throughout the trip. These videos showcase Icelandic geology and feature explanations from Carleton students and faculty.

The main focus of the trip was on volcanic processes, Samson says. She voices a desire to see the ERTH 2415 videos enhance the learning experience for her students.

“Maybe [the videos] will inspire them to travel the world and seek a more thorough understanding of geological processes,” Samson speculates.

Melanson adds that he hopes the clips will leave students with a desire to experience, firsthand, the geological landscapes they learn about in class.

“When it comes to earth science or really any natural science, there’s just so much more to learn when you actually go out into the field and see the locations,” he says.

The trip doubled as a field course – Advanced Igneous Petrology (ERTH 4504/5202) – for which students earned credit. Cousens says the field course format helped him teach his students about the volcanic system in a setting where they could best understand the context.

“When you’re in the field, everything is in the right context,” he explains. “The size, the breadth, how close particular rock types might be that are dramatically different in composition, telling you something about processes that occur within the volcanic system. You can’t get that if you’re just here at Carleton.”

Of the highlights of the Iceland trip, Cousens recalls his group’s brief stay in cabins near the edge of a major glacier.

“If you hiked up you had these beautiful views of the glaciers, you could turn around and you had these beautiful views of the coastline,” he remembers. “Oh, it was heaven.”

Cousens says the Iceland trip was partly funded by the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG), a global organization of what Melanson calls “economically minded geoscientists.” The Ottawa-Carleton chapter is the largest of the organization’s student chapters.

Melanson is full of praise about the trip and says he hopes to be able to return to Iceland in the future.

“I would highly recommend Iceland to anyone who likes outdoorsy things and natural landscapes, because it was just an incredibly beautiful place.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the earth sciences, CUOL offers online courses in everything from dinosaurs to oceanography.  Check the course list for the next offerings!
Online Tools for Learning Support at Carleton
A glimpse of some of Carleton’s online learning support services

At a time of year when students are swimming in assignments and exams are looming, on-campus learning support services (LSS) may seem like a remote luxury to students working full-time or living away from campus.

Fortunately, Carleton also offers online support services that are just a few clicks away.  Worried about the upcoming December exam period?  There is a workshop on test and exam preparation.  As for the time management workshop – well, that is useful at any time of year!

Writing Tutorial Sessions
Among the LSS online services are Carleton’s writing tutorial sessions. Available through cuLearn, these sessions give students guidance on how to improve their written work. This service is flexible, with sessions available on weekends and after-hours. Students and tutors can discuss their assignments in real time in a virtual meeting room. Email to book a session or visit the website.

The LSS workshops offer another source of online academic support. Students can attend online workshops on:

  • Academic integrity
  • Academic reading
  • Learning preferences
  • Note-taking
  • Test & exam preparation
  • Time management

See the Online Workshop page for more information. Learning Support Services also offer a number of videos on these topics and more.

Academic Advising

Students unable to reach campus can also take advantage of online academic advising services, which Carleton’s Student Academic Success Centre offers using BigBlueButton – a voice conferencing tool.  This is a useful means of gaining advice on subjects such as audits and changing program elements. Students can email to book a session.