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Wednesday
Feb132013

Dream geoscience courses

MOOCs mean it's never been easier to learn something new.This is an appeal for opinions. Please share your experiences and points of view in the comments.

Are you planning to take any technical courses this year? Are you satisfied with the range of courses offered by your company, or the technical societies, or the commercial training houses (PetroSkills, Nautilus, and so on)? And how do you choose which ones to take — do you just pick what you fancy, seek recommendations, or simply aim for field classes at low latitudes?

At the end of 2012, several geobloggers wrote about courses they'd like to take. Some of them sounded excellent to me too... which of these would you take a week off work for?

Here's my own list, complete with instructors. It includes some of the same themes...

  • Programming for geoscientists (learn to program!) — Eric Jones
  • Solving hard problems about the earth — hm, that's a tough one... Bill Goodway?
  • Communicating rocks online — Brian Romans or Maitri Erwin
  • Data-driven graphics in geoscience — the figure editor at Nature Geoscience
  • Mathematics clinic for geoscientists — Brian Russell
  • Becoming a GIS ninja — er, a GIS ninja
  • Working for yourself — needs multiple points of view
What do you think? What's your dream course? Who would teach it?

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Reader Comments (5)

I especially agree with Callan's art for geologists. I've TA'd a couple intro to field geology courses and the number one complaint I hear is about sketching. A intro to geologic sketching course or even just a textbook would be amazing.

Summer 2012 I was doing field work in central Namibia in an area first mapped by two german geologists during WWII. Their paper Korn and Martin 1959, has some of the most clear and amazing sketches I have ever seen. You could hold the figure up infront of you and look across the valley and see all the structures.

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTSherry

@TSherry: Thanks for the reference — is it this one? (DOI 10.1130/0016-7606(1959)70[1047:GTITNM]2.0.CO;2 — perhaps the longest I've ever seen...).

I think some students do find all the sketching (field notes, sedimentary logs, samples) off-putting, though it needn't be. And I love the idea of a book about sketching geology, and it aligns perfectly with a book I'm already cooking up. I'll post about it soon... and I'm going to need some help!

February 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterMatt Hall

Is it agile's business entry into the geoscience education market?

Category softskills:
The new generation of explorers grown up with internet & smart phones look for a great international life-work-balance. Additionally, our philosophy is to have a joyful and relaxed working environment using state-of-the-art technology, supplemented by responsibility, flexibility and flat hierarchies. On the other hand, they look for a 24/7 mentoring help desk in case of insurmountable obstacles. Sometimes, my work-style collides with elderly managers - thus, I like the outline of following course "Workplace Wisdom for Handling Friction Between Generational Groups".

Regarding fun@ work: I came across a great course offering seven hours of training including four hours of outdoor activities "Petrophysics & Powdersnow". I like the general course concept and it seems to be very effective to maintain a high level of motivation during the course. However, this kind of courses are a threat for any HSE department...

Technical training:
A programming course for geoscientists is highly appreciated!
I general, my work benefits from courses which combine lectures with some real exercises (hands-on) using standard software packages complemented by discussions to share knowledge among the participants...

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertf

Any course in which we have the time to think through topics and ask dumb questions is my dream course.

That said, my dream courses are:

1) History of Geology - as taught by Professor Bob Dott at the University of Wisconsin - combined with a Future of Geology. What are the big problems? What tools do we not have or need to improve to answer tomorrow's questions?

2) Mathematics and Programming for Geoscientists in one. I took a geostatistics course recently in which we inverted matrices and that was a lot of fun.

3) The Physics of Deep Rocks, taught by a GEOphysicist, and applications to finding fluids and beyond. What do you without AVO and amplitude support?

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaitri

@tf: OK, that petrophysics course looks awesome. Brilliant.

@maitri: "we inverted matrices and that was a lot of fun" — I like this sentence!

It seems there's a rich vein to mine in the between spaces. A course with some field work (real rocks), some hard science, some programming, and some skiing sounds about perfect.

One of the best courses / trips I ever did was three days on a modern analog, then three days on an outcrop analog, then three days in the core store and viz room, looking at wells and seismic. All with one group of people — geologists, geophysicists and engineers from two different companies — working on the same project. Those 10 days were worth at least 100, maybe 1000, working in the office.

February 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterMatt Hall

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