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Broadening participation in field-based science through virtual field trips

Historically, geosciences are among the least diverse fields within STEM areas. Fieldwork is an important element in geoscience and environmental studies. However, field activities often present limitations for those with a disability or with other personal constraints, becoming an entry barrier. 

The current Covid-19 pandemic has spurred the development of virtual learning experiences to alternatives to in-person field experiences. However, virtual learning experiences can be also implemented to reduce some barriers to participation in in-person field activities, making them more accessible and inclusive.

During an event recorded in October 2021, Ryan Petterson (Director of Field Education at the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University) explored some ways in which the use of virtual field trips may enhance accessibility and inclusion by providing students with a platform to start a dialogue with instructors, gain agency, and make information-based decisions that can foster their participation in field-based sciences.