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DEVELOPING STRATEGIES AND TOOLS TO IMPROVE LEARNING AND STUDENT ASSESSMENT DURING FIELD PRACTICES

Fieldwork practices are essential to strengthen the soil science knowledge of students and their learning process. These fieldwork practices involve doing a physical activity rather than passively attending lectures or watching demonstrations. The simple visual and tactile observations in the field could be used to predict soil behavior and these direct observations are best made in the field. Therefore, when scheduling the coursework an important time is assigned to field work, which sometimes is not sufficiently profited from the standpoint of student learning taking into consideration the economic effort involved. For this reason we consider is very important to provide students with material such as field guides, which they are supposed to work on before the field trip. We are aware that part of the students are simple spectators in the field so we encourage their participation by making them responsible for obtaining part of the information about the place and the types of soils that will be visited. On the other hand, we will invite the students to do some game based exercises, which are fun and forces them to work in groups and to pay attention to explanations. Our objective is to present the information more attractive to be studied as well as they learn easily how a soil profile description is done. The exercises that we propose are both field and problem-based learning to make sure that the knowledge is more memorable (non-stop learning). Fieldwork is amenable to different strategies for enhancing feedback and for providing assessments and this work presents several of them.