This is the first semester that Geology 101 students will not spend a class period in a lab each week. The class will still be worth three credit hours, but will be split into 75-minute lectures twice a week. The adjustment was made in part to accommodate students’ schedules. Making scheduling easier will allow more students to be exposed to geology, said Scott Rice-Snow, chairperson of the Department of Geological Sciences.

The change is also an adaptation to online learning.

“We’ve been finding that, more and more, the hands-on active exercises we’ve been giving students have been online,” Rice-Snow said.

Kirsten Nicholson, a professor in the geology department, said she will adjust to the change by supplementing online assignments with materials she presents during lectures.

“I can’t teach rocks and minerals without showing you guys the rocks and minerals, which is why I’m going to walk everybody back over to the lab,” Nicholson said. “We have time, we have an hour to do it.”

Nicholson said dropping the lab will have no negative affect on students majoring in geology.

“We have a lot of geology majors who love the lab and that’s why they become geology majors,” she said. “We also have a lot of students who detest the lab with a passion. I think the majors understand that.”

Beginning next year, there will be a Geology 105 class available to all majors. The class will be a hands-on lab experience with a field trip opportunity. Students can take the class the same semester as Geology 101.

The classes will still do the same general exercises and activities.

“Just because we’ve done away with the official lab, it doesn’t mean we’ve done away with the exercises we normally do,” Nicholson said.