Bringing Down Walls Between Classrooms, Online and Field Studies: A UBC Soil Science Case Study

Date & Time

Monday May 2nd, 9:30-10:15am


UBC Point Grey – Irving Barber Learning Centre, Lillooet Room (301)


This presentation will review how a team of multidisciplinary faculty and staff of the Virtual Soil Science Learning Resources (VSSLR) Consortium utilized media technologies to enhance teaching and learning for soil science students at UBC. Established in 2004, the goal of the VSSLR Consortium ( is to enhance soil science education through cooperative and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. The VSSLR is a focal point for collaborative educational efforts among scientists, students, and multimedia experts from 11 universities and 3 research institutions in Canada. To date, the Consortium has developed 16 web-based tools, 2 distance education courses, 1 soil identification and classification field course, and 1 cross-disciplinary graduate program. Selecting from a variety of media technologies such as video, augmented reality and geo-location scavenger hunting games, the VSSLR website incorporates the most practical tools to provide students with an engaging learning experience. In combination with learning technologies, the VSSLR accommodates different teaching approaches and methodologies to (1) describe key concepts in soil science, (2) explain soil classification, (3) illustrate land-use impacts on soil quality, and (4) raise awareness about the importance of soil. The VSSLR web site takes advantage of the diversity of Canadian soil types and landscapes to expose learners to different soils and ecosystems and a variety of soil management and sustainability issues. Learners access information from various geographic regions, interact with other learners and field professionals and generally broaden their learning perspectives. These educational tools are used by at least 3,500 students/year. The VSSLR is a suite of knowledge-rich, accessible online educational resources for soil science studies and the development of a distributed community of practice in soil science in Canada and beyond. We will review some of the tools and types of media and technologies used while explaining the reasoning behind them.


Maja Krzic, Associate Professor, Land and Food Systems

Saeed Dyanatkar, UBC Studios and Creative Media

Chris Crowley, Distance Education at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology

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