Active Learning book cover.

Engaging Students in Active Learning: Case Studies in Geography, Environment and Related Disciplines

Active Learning

The engagement of students in active learning (ie learning by thinking, doing and reflecting) is a key feature of the geography, environment and related disciplines at the University of Gloucestershire. A 'swap shop' workshop on this topic was held in the School of Environment in January 2004. The intention of the workshop was to take stock of the wide range of forms of active learning which occur in courses and to provide an opportunity for staff to exchange and reflect on their experiences. So much excitement was engendered by the event that it was decided to put the case studies together as a book.

The book contains an introduction and twenty-seven examples of active learning which are used in the School of Environment and related schools at the University of Gloucestershire. A preface is co-written by Sir Ron Cooke, Chair of JISC, past Chair of HEFCE's Teaching and Learning Committee, and past President of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, in which he refers to active learning as 'the magic in the classroom'.

The key audience for this book is our colleagues in geography, environment and related disciplines such as community development, ecology, landscape architecture, planning and tourism. However, many of the case studies, particularly those concerned with key skills and improving students' performance at assessment, are transferable to other disciplines. They are especially useful for illustrating workshops on a range of topics featuring aspects of active learning. Sufficient detail has been included for the reader to see how the ideas have been applied in practice. Contact details of the innovators are given at the end of each case study so that further information may be sought. Book reviews

How to obtain your copy

Engaging Students in Active Learning is available electronically in pdf format (148pp, 1.45Mb)

It is also available as a bound book for only 7 per copy, plus post and packaging via our online store. More

Book reviews

"I think it is really excellent and the 'swap shop' layout will make it very useable. I think this book should be given to all new lecturers in our disciplines."
Jenny Blumhof, Senior Advisor for Environmental Sciences, LTSN Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
"This collection will be a highly useful resource for new and experienced teachers in geography and related fields. I plan to use it with early career colleagues in the summer program of the Geography Faculty Development Alliance in the US. I like the range, conciseness, and comments on effectiveness as well as on difficulties that can arise."
Jan Monk, Professor of Geography, University of Arizona
"This is an illuminating compendium of ideas and experiments in active learning, which will be of broad and cross- disciplinary interest. It is admirably concise, accessible, practical and, above all, tremendously inspiring."
Dr Nick Morton, Lecturer in Built Environment, University of Central England
"This booklet is invaluable at a variety of levels. Centrally it makes explicit how staff in these disciplines can give substance to ensuring that students are 'active learners.' There is a wealth of brief practical suggestions for staff to adapt to their own practice. What it also demonstrates is a way of building support inside a department for sharing and embedding good practice through a sharing of effective practice: in this case about active learning; but you could adapt it to other practices you value - even didactic teaching!"
Alan Jenkins, Professor of Higher Education, Oxford Brookes University


Page updated 10 May 2004
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