Index of TopicsREU student working on a computer

Online Mentoring
Tips for Online Mentors and Program Directors

A compilation of tips from different sources, including members of the GEO REU community, guidance from COMET at UCAR, the USGS, CIMER, and others. (Compiled by V. Sloan, R. Haacker, and R. Batchelor.)

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Eos Article: How COVID-19 Is Affecting Undergraduate Research Experiences.

Interactive Teaching and Online Learning Ideas
American Geophysical Union Ethics & Equity Center
Best Practices for Virtual Internships

An excellent two-page summary that was a joint effort of the NOAA, NASA, NPS, and the USGS.

Codes of Conduct

Even though your REU programming will be virtual, you still must develop a Code of Conduct.  This will give participants expectations for what is and isn't acceptable behavior before the virtual programming begins.

Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc.

CUAHSI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides programs and services which support the advancement of interdisciplinary water science.

English Australia

Videos on teaching remotely that are very helpful.  They were originally aimed at teaching the English language. Scroll down to "Online teaching".

International Association for Geoscience Diveristy

The IAGD celebrates diverse abilities and provides resources for faculty and student support.

Michigan State University

MSU is co-creating a Google Sheet where people can add links to online lectures, online labs, and other resources for teaching geoscience online.

Stanford University
Teach the Earth

Explore resources, share experiences, and ask questions about online teaching provided by the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network

U-FERN has resources on the impacts that field experiences have on undergraduate students.


Cohort Building
Breakout Room Icebreaker Ideas

Many video conferencing platforms (e.g., Zoom) support breakout rooms.  For icebreakers, randomly sort the participants into breakout rooms and have each group:

  • Share their favorite...(location, sports team, food, weather event, etc.)
  • Create a team/cohort name and mission to use throughout program activities
  • Agree on key objectives or topics they hope the program will cover
Marco Polo Marco Polo logo
  • App that lets you send quick video clips to each other (think texting with video) to contacts
  • Respond with your own quick video at your convenience

 Tools and Platforms
Google Drive Google Drive logo
  • Organize and share materials
  • Collaboratively work on documents
Google Jamboard Google Jamboard logo
  • Collaborative whiteboard
  • Collaborative sticky notes
GoToMeeting GoToMeeting logo
  • Screen sharing
  • Video conferencing
  • Meeting recording and transcription
  • Meeting features like drawing tools
GroupMe GroupMe logo
  • Private chat room for small groups
  • Good for social communication and reaching students quickly with instructions
Microsoft Whiteboard Microsoft Whiteboard logo
  • Interactive canvas where educators and students can freeform write and draw through an online platform
  • YouTube Tutorial: How to Use Whiteboard
Miro Miro logo
  • Collaborative whiteboard
  • Collaborative sticky notes
Padlet Padlet logo
  • Interactive canvas for creating collaborative projects
  • YouTube Tutorial: How to Use Padlet
Perusall Perusall logo
  • A free, text-based, social-learning platform
  • Instructors can share documents with students and control flow of information
  • Students can review the document in their own time, highlight, break out into groups for discussion, and ask questions
  • Resource sheet
Pinup Pinup logo
  • Collaborative sticky notes
Poll Everywhere Poll Everywhere logo
  • Platform for asking questions of your virtual audience to get the discussion going.
  • YouTube Tutorial: How to Use Poll Everywhere
Slack Slack logo

"In our distributed REU, we have used Slack as the primary communication tool for the past three years or so. Overall, I have found it to work well for making weekly assignments, sending out admistrative details (you can answer questions once for everyone),  creating communication threads around various technical topics (e.g., a matlab channel, a GMT, channel, etc)."

- Michael, Education Specialist

Slido Slido logo
  • Tool for online meetings, events, and conferences that allows of attendees to ask questions, and answer simple poll and survey questions.
  • YouTube Tutorial: How to Use Slido
  • YouTube Tutorial: Slido for Education
Socrative Socrative logo
  • Interactive polling application
  • Offers multi-choice, multi-select, and short answer poll questions
Turning Point Turning Point logo
  • Interactive polling application
  • Offers multi-choice, multi-select, short answer, open-ended, and numeric poll questions
Zoom Zoom logo


For questions or feedback, contact  V. Sloan