By now, you’re probably well aware that I’ve been holding “Geology Office Hours” hangouts on Google+ most Monday and Thursday afternoons at 4:00pm CST (2200 GMT). The topics are usually unplanned and tend to go wherever the participants interests lie on any given day. We’ve had some great conversations on topics as diverse as the unfolding eruption sequence at El Hierro, approaches toward teaching geologic time to diverse audiences, the likelihood of fracking causing the early Movember Oklahoma earthquakes, and whether submarine volcanic eruptions could go Plinian, to mane just a few. I’ve been very pleased with the results and I intend to continue these hangouts for the forseeable future (after a holiday recess – more below).
After last Thursday’s hangout +Brian Schrock commented: “Maybe we could do an office hour sometime regarding grad school for us undergrads. I always seem lost in the grad school process despite all the help my professors are giving me.” I think that’s a great topic for one (or more) of these hangouts, so I’m designating it as the primary topic for this Monday’s hangout. Ideally I’d like to have a couple of other geology profs and/or current grad students share their experiences and insights, in addition to as many undergrads with questions as possible. I’ll plan to record the Hangout for those that can’t make it. Also, if there’s enough interest, possibly we’ll repeat this topic sometime in the new year.
For those interested in participating, you’ll need a Google Plus account and a computer (desktop/laptop/Android smartphone), ideally with either a built-in or USB webcam (I’ve had great results with a Logitech 720p Webcam Pro 9000). If you haven’t done a hangout before, read up on Hangouts and make sure to install the required Google Talk add-ons ahead of time (you’ll be prompted to do this).
Finally, I’m going to take a two week break for the holidays from my regularly scheduled hangouts after Monday’s hangout. If there are big geological events in breaking news I may hold an ad hoc hangout or two, as necessary. Otherwise, hangouts will resume on Thursday, January 5, 2012.