Dr. Martindale’s Teaching Philosophy
I teach about a range of topics, including oceanography, field geology, paleontology, (paleo)ecology, and taphonomy. My courses emphasize connections between the geo-, bio-, hydro-, and atmosphere to provide a comprehensive view of geological processes and Earth systems evolution. I believe that we must do more than teach a curriculum; we must instill in our students a curiosity about the natural world as well as the skills to use their expertise and logic to solve (geological) problems. My goal is to have students think creatively so they can continue learning and problem-solving throughout their careers. I also believe that experiential learning is critical, as it helps students connect with the science and synthesize new information. I achieve this by integrating real data, samples, and examples of UT Austin research in activities; offering field trips when possible; and including active learning activities in every class. This commitment to innovative experiential learning is has extended to my recent foray into designing serious (i.e., educational) board games. In addition, I encourage student participation in UT research to promote intellectual engagement; depending on the class, this ranges from incorporating field or museum data in exercises (e.g., using fossils for a lab), to independent projects in a UT research lab.
Fall 2023: GEO397L Transitions in the History of Life
Graduate/Upper-level Undergrad GEO class (3 credit hours), mix of interactive lectures and discussions of both seminal and new research papers about mass extinctions and major environmental perturbation events in the history of life on Earth.
Fall 2024: GEO389E Evolution of Reef Ecosystems
Graduate-level GEO class (3 credit hours), mix of interactive lectures and discussions of both seminal and new research papers. This course is designed to introduce students to the variety of reef ecosystems throughout the geological record.
Spring 2015: GEO391 Exceptional Fossilization
Graduate-level GEO class (3 credit hours). This seminar focused on the book “Reading and Writing the Fossil Record: Preservational Pathways to Exceptional Fossilization” (Laflamme et al 2014).