Virtual Palaeoscience (ViPs)

Collating, curating and developing virtual lab and field trip resources for palaeoenvironmental teaching

Welcome to ViPs

Why is this project needed?

This project started in Spring 2020, when many of us within the university teaching sector had to scramble to get teaching material online in response to coronavirus closures.  ​Different universities have made different choices for academic year 2020-21, but almost every one requires at least partial online provision, and it seems very likely that many will experience a period of online instruction this year in response to local lockdown. 

​There is a clear need for, and great potential in, virtual environments to improve access to learning for educators, students and wider audiences, both in the current crisis and in the future to increase accessibility and to enhance classroom, field and lab classes.

The ViPs project is created by the palaeosciences community for the community, and intends to make it easier for educators, students and the curious to find existing resources, share expertise in creating and using resources, and bring together the community to support each other. 

Changing technology and its availability can offer new/ different opportunities within the learning environment (and shifting student expectations) and the current situation gives us opportunity (and a push) to begin to address this. 

ViPs Aims

We hope to create a shared archive of virtual palaeoenvironmental teaching resources to support the teaching of environmental change science. 

The need for these resources has been greatly accelerated in the short-term in response to COVID19 but we hope to incorporate plans for longer-term creation of digital teaching resources leading to improvements in environmental change teaching, accessibility of teaching and outreach.

Overview of ViPs

Short-term Objectives:

  • Create a single, collated source of currently available shared ViPs materials (first share comes out 28th August – spreadsheet here)
  • Gap analysis – what materials are missing or poorly represented?
  • Reduce duplication of effort across the community and maximise student experience in 2020-21
  • Working Groups take on different parts of the task

Longer term objectives:

  • Create a useful and widely used resource for finding, creating and using materials for teaching and learning about the palaeosciences.
  • Create a community which can seek grant funding and institutional support to produce high quality materials over a longer term and study their use by students and academics.
  • Transfer curation to an established organisation (e.g. the QRA)

* Throughout the process we will ensure that intellectual property of creators is recognised and resources made widely and freely available via creative commons and related mechanisms

Launch Workshop

Wednesday 27th May
09:30am -12:00 (UTC+1). 
(via Zoom)

Meeting summary now available

Second meeting

Monday 24th-Tuesday 25th August,
11:00-16:00 (UTC+1). 
(via Zoom)

meeting talks and notes coming soon…

Get Involved

Join our mailing list, register your interest in the workshop or other activities


Jane Bunting ¦ Simon Hutchinson ¦ Des McDougall Nicki Whitehouse ¦ Kim Davies

Please use the contact form to get in touch with us!

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