Using ORLO in Earth Sciences

  • Group size: 20 students
  • Teaching type: Seminar
  • Division: MPLS
  • Subject: Earth Sciences
  • Tools: ORLO, Teams


The final year of the Earth Sciences course is geared to developing the cognitive skills of students, and these journal club seminars focus on the development of critical thinking. Teams based seminars are held around a weekly topic. For each seminar students are provided with five papers through ORLO. Two of these papers give background knowledge and three concise and contemporary research papers provide content for discussion in the seminar. Three students are pre-selected to present these, sometimes contentious, papers. Students are also chosen on a rota basis to head discussions whilst the instructor takes the role of mentor.


The student led aspect to seminars leverages a deep level of participation, and the rota pattern ensures that participation is spread amongst the group. The papers chosen are always contemporary (less than a year old) and often contentious. Students have opportunity to discuss not only content, but how papers are written which outlines best practice when utilising and writing research papers. Interaction in front of peers and mentor encourages students to prepare thoroughly for sessions. The contemporary aspect to the papers up for discussion means that materials are always current.


As discussion is student led, there is sometimes sone skill needed on the part of the mentor to elicit pertinent direction to seminars.



  • Contributed by:  Dr David Pyle
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