BY ANDREA GONZALEZ
After not being able to offer a new immersive course in the Spring semester last year due to the Covid-19 lockdown, Professor Kirk Domke is ready to finally announce that Geology 192, Coastal Oceanography Field Studies is scheduled for Spring break 2022.
Unlike any classes offered at Cypress College, this course is a five-day field trip that will take place from March 21 through March 25. The journey will begin at Morro Bay and head as far north towards Monterey, California. Students will experience four nights of camping at three different campgrounds, one of which is right on the beach.
Mcway Falls, one of four beaches students will visit. Photo courtesy of localadventurer.com
In an interview held through Zoom, Professor Domke went in-depth explaining the tremendous benefit of taking a course like this, encouraging students to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
“You’re in your textbook, and at the same time, it’s not the type of learning you dread. In fact, you don’t even realize you’re learning as much as you are because you’re having so much fun,” said Domke.
For the most part, everyone can agree that it would be nice to get away considering that some students are still coddled inside their homes. It’s a great way to have fun while learning at the same time.
“When I was told that this lab course will be outdoors, exploring beaches and looking at tide pools I knew I had to make space in my class schedule for it. Also just going to class on the beach for a couple of days just sounds amazing,” said Kiera Hernandez Mendoza, marine biology major.
Additionally, Professor Domke already reserved the campgrounds for spring break. Although no textbooks are required for this course, students are expected to bring their own equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, money for food, writing utensils, and other necessities. However, students should not worry if they do not own a tent or sleeping bag as they can rent, or borrow from a friend.
Each student will be expected to pay a fee of around $50 to the Bursar’s office right next to Admissions and Records. This ensures that there will be enough gas in the campus vans for the long trip. There will be about three or four campus vans that will take students to numerous coastal beaches, students will be driving the vans, just so there are enough drivers.
Other than making various stops at different beaches, students should expect activities that will involve investigating the tides, looking at waves, discussing how the waves are breaking, and observing how and why coastal erosion occurs.
Students will also take notes, and have group discussions about what they learned throughout the day. Of course, professor Domke made sure that there is going to be time built into the trip for students to venture out on their own or in small groups to explore the beaches, and coastal locations.
Not only does this course fulfill the one unit lab portion needed to graduate with an associate’s degree, but this class is also CSU transferable.
There are no prerequisites for students to add this course to their Spring semester schedule. Domke stated, “As long as students have an interest for the outside world, and are able to fit in one unit into their class schedule this should be a breeze.”
Professor Domke has always wanted to create a course like this at Cypress College for the science department since he got hired back in 2015. He explained the great memories he made while on field trips, and that as a student, he felt it was a great way for other students to engage in the class more, considering the activities were hands-on.
Domke said, “I remember how beneficial they were to me as a student, and beneficial they were to my students as an instructor at other campuses.”
It took a while for Domke to make his idea a reality. Once he had a concrete objective, he went through the school and the district’s curriculum process, which took about two years. There had to be input from other people in the SEM division, those who work in the curriculum office at Cypress and the District, as well as the Deans and the higher level administrators. These individuals provided necessary input and evaluated his ideas and structure for the course.
He expressed gratitude for finally having the opportunity to teach a class like this, in which he stated, “It’s the dream way to teach. You’re immersed in the textbook. I wish I could bring the beach and coastal environment into my classroom.”
With Spring registration drawing close, students should be mindful that the class has a maximum capacity of 25.
For more information, please email Professor Domke at firstname.lastname@example.org.