Members of sotonDH are part of a consortium funded by the Student Centredness fund to produce a virtual alternative to field studies applicable to a range of subjects across the University.
The primary aim is to provide fundamental fieldwork experience for students with mobility impairments who cannot access some field areas, students requiring additional time in the field to examine localities and all undergraduate students who will benefit from accessing the field virtually when back on campus.
Beyond increasing the accessibility of fieldwork, a further aim is to provide a laboratory-based learning tool which integrates field observation, data recording and hands-on sample investigation.
The funding will be used to pilot five virtual field courses across three faculties, which will be extended in the future to encompass range of modules across all faculties. The intent is to bring together a team combining expertise in field teaching and visualisation techniques for students.
Initially the project will gather GigaPan panoramas, close-up images, field data, hand specimens and microscope slides from active field courses. These components will then be linked as a series of layers within a web platform, but with the opportunity to connect with physical samples in the practical laboratory.