Online Teaching

On this page we have compiled online teaching resources, specifically resources that allow for classes to be taught mainly or completely online. Most of these are designed for undergraduate college and university courses, but some are useful for high school Earth Science courses. We will continue to add to this list over time. 

Resources are also being compiled by the Paleontological Society members and affiliates: Paleo-Online Educational Resources

The Earth Science Women’s Network is also compiling a list: Online Teaching Resources 

The SERC InTeGrate Teaching Materials page include lots of online teaching resources. 

Professor Julie Libarkin created a Geoscience Online Database Google Sheet with tabs across the bottom for online lectures, online labs, and other online resources. 

List of HS Earth Science Online Resources curated by Robert Williams. Shared on Facebook here.

Includes GSA’s online resources and other related geology and natural science resources: Geological Society of America Online Resources

Micro My Earth features online lectures, courses, and links to other geoscience resources.

Resources for Moving Classes to Online Formats

Teaching Remotely in Times of Need

Rapid Transitioning to Online Learning 

Inside Higher Ed Article: ‘So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online’

How to Find the Best Internet for Online Teaching Jobs

Online Lectures and Modules

Professor Matthew Clapham’s YouTube channel

  • Contains lecture videos on statistics and sedimentology/stratigraphy

Phylogenetic Methods: building and using trees to answer compelling questions.

  • Professor Brian O’Meara’s course on phylogenetic methods. Open access textbook, syllabus, assignments, YouTube videos, etc.

River Geomorphology 

  • Set of 50 videos on river geomorphology on YouTube. Shared by Steve Gough, a river conservation scientist. Original tweet here.

Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education on QUBES

Natural History Collections Portal on QUBES

  • The vision for this portal is to create a space for the broader collections-based education community to aggregate and disseminate resources. All individuals and projects with natural history collection-based educational materials for any grade levels, disciplines, and topics are invited to link materials to this portal. To find just BLUE teaching resources visit here.

Virtual Textbooks

Introduction to Petrology

  • A free, online petrology textbook with great resources, including an atlas of minerals in thin section.

Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life

Physical Geology Laboratory Book and Exercises

  • Open access laboratory book with interactive exercises covering topics such as minerals, rocks, topographic maps, plate tectonics, geologic structures, geologic time, and geologic maps
  • This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike license

Virtual Geology Field Trips and Outcrops

3D Outcrop and Hand Samples on SketchFab

  • A collection of outcrops, fossils, and hand samples all hosted on SketchFab (3D viewer is self-contained online), compiled by Professor Robert Mahon.


  • An online library of geologic outcrops that can be incorporated into lesson plans.

Columns of the Giants in California

  • An interactive geologic tour of the columnar basalts in California. Developed for Grades 6-12.

School of Earth and Space Exploration Upheaval Dome Field Trip

  • Complete with lesson plans, a tutorial, and an introduction to get you and your students started, this virtual field trip explores Upheaval Dome, the impact crater in Utah.

Virtual Field Trip of Australian Ediacaran sites

  • This trip takes students to Australia to explore the location of some of the oldest animal species on Earth!

Arizona State Virtual Field Trips

  • A collection of trips that range from exploring modern to ancient environments preserved in the sedimentary rock record, including the Grand Canyon.

University of Florida Grand Canyon Trip

  • This assignment uses Google’s Grand Canyon Trek to ‘hike’ the entire length of the Bright Angel Trail, with full 360 degree views along the way.

Landscapes of Nova Scotia

  • This online resource involves a map of Nova Scotia with areas that students can ‘visit’. Each site has a description that is technical and one that is non-technical.

Rock Walk Edmonton

  • A downloadable PowerPoint presentation that takes students on a virtual tour of the buildings of Edmonton, and their geologic significance.

GeoTour: Alberta’s Landscapes

  • Explore landscapes and geological features across the province, with 14 sites to visit and explore. Most include 360 degree views of the local geology.

Nova Scotia Geoheritage Virtual Tour

  • Visit natural and cultural sites of Nova Scotia. Lesson plans not included but images are nice and can be enhanced.

EPICC Virtual Field Experiences

  • EPICC virtual fieldwork experiences (VFEs) provide opportunities to virtually visit classic paleontological field sites along the Pacific coast and to explore images and data from specimens that have been collected there. VFEs can combine high resolution and 3-D pictures for exploring an outcrop, images of fossils (snails, clams, sand dollars, and others) in place and in museum collections, geological maps and satellite views, and much more.

Virtual Sediments, Outcrops, Minerals, and Thin Sections

Sediment Gigapans

  • This Google Sheet, curated and compiled by Professor Callan Bentley, contains a list of 150 gigapan images of different sediment types, all linked within the sheet.

Gigapan Images by Professor Callan Bentley

  • These very high-resolution images captured by Professor Callan Bentley are of rocks, minerals, and outcrops from all over the world, and can be incorporated into any lesson plans.

Virtual Microscope

  • This page contains a collection of thin sections from meteorites, rocks from certain parts of the world, and from natural history collections. The ‘Teaching Resources’ page has links to other related online resources.

Historical Geology Minerals, Rocks, and Fossils

  • Interactive PDFs shared by Joseph Peterson in the Paleontology Education Facebook group. Original Post. These work best in Adobe Reader (which is freely available). Rocks minerals, and fossils were digitized with a NextEngine Scanner.

Professor Mark Wilson’s Wikimedia

  • Rock types, field photos, fossils, random geology. All available for use.

WVU Volcanology and Petrology Lab

  • Official SketchFab account for the WVU Volcanology and Petrology lab’s 3D models.


Smithsonian Learning Lab

  • The Smithsonian Learning Lab puts the treasures of the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex within reach. The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources, creating content with online tools, and  in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning.

Digital Biological Specimens & Objects

**Sketchfab has a web viewer and mobile app**

Digital Atlas of Ancient Life 3D Collections

  • Digitized by the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI), this page contains over 200 3D scanned fossil images from PRI’s collection.
  • Over 500 models on Sketchfab.

Virtual Fossils

  • Atlas of 3D fossil models, all under a Creative Commons Attribution.

Western Science Center 3D Printing Lab

  • Scanned collections are open access. You can find them available for download on Sketchfab and MorphoSource.

Blackburn Lab

  • Natural objects, largely animal skeletons in 3D. Viewer requires Java.

California Academy of Sciences 

  • Over 700 models of scientific specimens on Sketchfab

Virtual Curation Lab

  • Over 1500 models on Sketchfab. The Virtual Curation Laboratory was founded in August 2011 to digitally preserve and share the world’s cultural heritage through 3D scanning and printing.

Royal Museum of Central Africa

  • Over 432 models on Sketchfab. The Royal Museum for Central Africa’s task is to preserve and manage collections, carry out scientific research, and disseminate knowledge to a wide audience through its scientific, educational, and museological activities.


  • Over 70 models on Sketchfab. We are a non-profit group creating high-quality, accurate 3D models of life on earth for science, conservation and education. Downloads only for non-profit use. For licensing, visit Copyright University of Massachusetts.

Idaho Virtualization Laboratory

  • Over 1300 models on Sketchfab. The Idaho Virtualization Laboratory (IVL) is a research unit of Idaho Museum of Natural History on the campus of Idaho State University. Our lab houses state-of-the-art technology for imaging, simulation of material items, and landscape reconstruction

Holliday Lab

  • Over 50 models on Sketchfab. We use anatomy, 3D modeling and computational analysis to discover patterns in vertebrate form, function and evolution. We generate models from CT, MRI, contrast imaging, histology and photogrammetry for use in research, education, and outreach.

WitmerLab at Ohio University

  • Over 50 models on Sketchfab. 21st century approaches to fleshing out the past.

University of Michigan Online Repository of Fossils (UMORF)

  • The University of Michigan Online Repository of Fossils (UMORF) is a project of the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology to increase the accessibility of fossil specimens through online 3D and 2D representations.
  • Webviewer that works on computers & mobile devices

Professor Mark Wilson’s Wikimedia

  • Rock types, field photos, fossils, random geology. All available for use.

3D Objects for Teachers

  • Bring your curriculum teaching to life by using objects from the Science Museum’s collection and fuel your students’ fascination and curiosity around science and engineering.
  • Found on Thomas Flynn‘s Twitter feed. Includes links to Sketchfab models.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

  • This is the University of Edinburgh’s Open Educational Resources account, sharing OERs created by staff and students. On Sketchfab.

Smithsonian Learning Lab

  • The Smithsonian Learning Lab puts the treasures of the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex within reach. The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources, creating content with online tools, and  in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning.

3D Pollen Project

  • The 3D Pollen Project is based in the UK at the University of Leading and the University of Hull, with the project initiated by a graduate student with support from professors. Researchers have scanned different species of pollen and provided them for download, printing, teaching, and outreach. You can find the models hosted on their Sketchfab page.

Evolution, Biodiversity, Paleontology

HHMI Your Inner Fish

  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute page with resources for teaching evolution through the discovery and bones of Tiktaalik roseae, the transitional sarcopterygian from the Late Devonian.

BLUE: Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education

  • Modules that include materials for students and instructors. Often these incorporate biodiversity data or natural history collections data for students to analyze and interpret.

Dinosaur Footprint Reservation Exercise

  • Dino track data: PDF maps, KMZ files, orientation data, etc. Made by Chris Aucoin, shared on Facebook here.

The Mysteries of Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry

  • Natural History Museum of Utah’s Research Quest. Aimed at middle schoolers but scale-able! Found on Facebook here.

Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Natural Disasters

Seismic Explorer

  • An interactive map containing up-to-date earthquake and volcano data. Students can look at plates and plate movement within the app.

Earthquake Simulator

  • A block and slider widget that students can manipulate online to investigate earthquakes. Site contains video instructions and a Google spreadsheet for student use.
  • Here’s an article by the pages’ author, Matthew A. d’Alessio, explaining the activity.

Plate Tectonics

The Geological Society Plate Tectonics

  • An overview and introduction to plate tectonics, including the men behind the theories (please be sure to tell your students about Marie Tharp!).

Change in the Uinta Mountains: Normal or Not?

  • Natural History Museum of Utah’s Research Quest. Aimed at middle schoolers but scale-able! Found on Facebook here.

Climate Change

University of Washington Urchin Lab

  • This online learning lab teaches students about microscopes and ocean acidification through the lens of urchin research.

Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources

  • A 2 to 3 week completely online module that takes students through the carbon cycle and implications of carbon perturbations. These are 6 self-contained modules that will help students develop critical thinking skills through exploring deep time data.


Learn ArcGIS

  • A website full of resources to learn ArcGIS, filled with guided lessons.

QGIS Handouts

  • Mikaël Attal working to transition ArcGIS work to the freely available QGIS, scroll down to find the work.

Groundwater and Hydrology

Groundwater Flow Widget

  • In this online activity, students use hydrogeologic principles to determine the source of a pollutant.

Geomorphology / Surface Water Hydrology 

  • Online exercise. Head to the link and search ‘teaching notebooks’. Shared by Nicole Gasparini created by Katy Barnhart. Original tweet.

Oil, Natural Gas, and Industry

Fracking Widget

  • Students can frack and learn about the process in this online simulator.
  • Here’s an article by the pages’ author, Matthew A. d’Alessio, explaining the activity.

Oil Drilling Widget

  • Students can explore where to drill for oil in this online resource.

General Geology

Aspen Global Change Institute Introduction to Geology

  • This website offers pages that provide students with an overview of geology in a virtual classroom setting.