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You are invited to join in a Web-based international discussion on 'Learning and teaching geography in higher education' up to 13 August 2004 (http://www.gees.ac.uk/iguevent.htm).
In the run-up to the post-International Geographical Union workshop in Glasgow on 21-23 August, the International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education (INLT) is organising the Web discussion. The debate is hosted by the UK's Higher Education Academy subject centre for Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
International groups of geographers from 10 different countries have produced six downloadable outline discussion papers to stimulate discussion around the following themes:
Your comments on any, or all, of these papers and previous discussion points should be sent by email to Mike Sanders for adding to the website with a clear indication as to which paper and discussion theme you are contributing. Please also state your institutional affiliation (if any) and your country.
The groups will use the discussion as a starting point at the Glasgow workshop for revising the outline papers in preparation for submission of an edited collection to the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (JGHE).
We hope that you will find the outline papers and the discussion stimulating and enjoyable. Although no more contributions will be accepted after 13 August, the record of the debate will still be accessible.
We have run a wide variety of successful events over the last few months including a PDP workshop, a swap shop on taught postgraduate (Masters) learning & teaching, and our annual residential workshop for new and recently appointed lecturers. Additionally, we co-convened the 'HERODOT' project conference on Supporting the Professional Development of Geography Academics and Enhancing the Employability of Geography Graduates, held in Sofia. Our most notable event was 'Supporting the Supporters' Encouraging Continuing Professional Development for Support Staff, which was run in collaboration with the University of Gloucestershire and the Higher Education Research Group of the RGS-IBG. This was run as a pilot to ascertain demand for professional development activities from GEES support staff (including cartographers, lab technicians, administrators, librarians etc.). We were delighted at the popularity of the event which attracted over 100 delegates from around the UK, and we will be exploring ways to continue our support for this part of the GEES community. Further details of all these events can be found on our website.
The latest general edition of PLANET was circulated in May. As well as a variety of articles on learning and teaching in the disciplines, it contains our first 'Resource Briefing', focused on Maths, Statistics & Quantitative Skills. This document is intended to provide information to new staff and to act as an aide memoir for more experienced colleagues, all the resources outlined in the briefing can be accessed via our Resource Database.
A questionnaire on existing and aspiring external examiners' perceptions of the role and their professional development needs was circulated a few weeks ago. Responses are now being collated and the final report will be made available on the website shortly. The information will be fed in to the wider Generic Centre project (http://www.ltsn.ac.uk/genericcentre/index.asp?id=19567) and will used to consider the way forward in supporting external examiners in the future.
This now contains more than 500 high quality learning & teaching resources. Do use it and encourage your colleagues to take a look: http://www.gees.ac.uk/(click on Resource Database tab). If you can't find what you want, contact our enquiry service: email@example.com and we'll see if we can help. .
The LTSN is now officially part of the Higher Education Academy (as of 1st May 2004). The name of LTSN-GEES will alter slightly as the LTSN is phased out, however, the Subject Centre structure remains a core feature of the Academy. More information on the progress of the Academy is available on their website at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk
August 21-23: International Network for Learning and Teaching in Geography (INLT) meeting, Glasgow:
August 21-28: 32nd International Geological Congress (including sessions on Higher Education), Florence, Italy:
We have received confirmation of funding of £20,000 to support the development of materials and resources to develop student entrepreneurship teaching exercises in the disciplines. The work will begin in the Summer of 2004 and will include identifying existing resources, getting case studies from GEES entrepreneurs, and developing a residential 'taster' workshop for students in order to pilot the curriculum materials (staff may also attend this to get some ideas on how to include entrepreneurship in the curriculum).
If you would like information or resources on learning & teaching in geography, earth or environmental sciences, or would like to know more about our activities and services contact us at:
Higher Education Academy Subject centre for GEES, Buckland House, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA
Tel: 01752 233 530
Fax: 01752 233 534
Plymouth PL4 8AA
The Higher Education Funding Council for England is investing £315m to establish Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs). The CETL initiative has two main aims: to reward excellent teaching practice, and to further invest in that practice so that the funding delivers substantial benefits to students, teachers and institutions. Each Centre will have up to £2m capital and £500,000 pa recurrent expenditure for five years.
The competition is part-way through. A total of 259 bids were received and 106 of these have proceeded to stage 2; the 70-80 successful CETLs are due to be announced in January 2005. From the published summaries, at least four of the bids include geography (see below), though all of them cover other subjects as well.
Geographers are involved in the assessment process; Mike Bradford, Brian Chalkley and Liz Elvidge were bid readers and Mick Healey is on the Assessment Panel (though none, of course, were involved in the assessment of bids from their own institutions!).
Further information is available from: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/learning/TInits/cetl/
Bid 04/151: Education for sustainable development
Lead Institution: University of Plymouth
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is about our student's future. and the future of all who inhabit this planet: '.... the people who will succeed fifteen years from now, the countries which will succeed, are those which are most based on a sustainable vision of the world. That is what we should be training people to do.' Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, 25th March 2003. While sustainability is increasingly on the global agenda, education for sustainability is not well represented in Higher Education curricula. An ESD CETL is particularly timely because we are entering the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-15). Moreover, the Education Secretary has recently launched a Sustainability Action Plan, HEFCE is currently preparing its first ESD strategy and sustainability features in its 2003-2008 Strategic Plan. The University is well placed to take a national lead in this area, with outstanding academic staff, strong partners - especially Schumacher College and Forum for the Future - and well established HE Academy links. Through the proposed Centre for Sustainable Futures, this CETL has the potential to play a vital role in the development of ESD at Plymouth and on the national stage.
Bid 04/162: Experiential learning in the environmental and natural sciences
Lead Institution: University of Plymouth
The focus of the proposed CETL is experiential learning in environmental and natural sciences; its principal aims will be to enhance and extend fieldwork, laboratory work and work-based learning in these disciplines. The University of Plymouth has an outstanding record of provision in the environmental and natural sciences and offers a strongly supportive institutional environment. Our success rests largely on the extensive, planned and coherent experiential curriculum in each of the contributing disciplines, and on an excellent delivery by committed and talented staff. This view is fully endorsed by external examiners, QAA assessors and students. Further excellence in experiential learning will be developed by the core CETL staff. A variety of projects will create opportunities for students to extend their lab and field experience through related studies, will enhance the links between the experiential curriculum and employability, and will ensure the experiential curriculum is fully and safely accessible to all students, including those who are disabled or part of a large cohort. A dissemination programme will bring best practice to students across the University and, through interaction with the Academy and other relevant agencies, to the national HE community.
Bid 04/183: Spatial literacy in teaching
Lead Institution: University of Leicester
Partners: University College London; University of Nottingham
Spatial literacy and associated spatial information (SI) technologies such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Satellite Remote Sensing and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have become increasingly important and pervasive in society and education. SPLINT will be a national resource through a consortium of the University of Leicester (LEICS), the University of Nottingham (NOTTS) and University College London (UCL) to develop strategies to: 1. Enable state-of-the-art laboratories for the teaching of SI; 2. Pioneer innovative approaches for improving spatial literacy in teaching and learning through existing successful consortium geography/geomatics SI technology programmes, in ways that cater for inter-disciplinary diversity through adaptive teaching, and that focus on M.Sc. level and undergraduate level education; 3. Establish new formal points of engagement with teaching programmes that are not spatially enabled, thereby extending and deepening the outreach of learning in SI technologies ss and enhancing spatial literacy; 4. Develop outreach activities in spatial literacy and disseminate the outcomes of (1) and (2), largely inside the consortium institutions but also outside the consortium across the UK HE sector.
Bid 04/213: Centre for Active Learning (CeAL) in Geography, Environment and Related Disciplines
Lead Institution: University of Gloucestershire
Active learning involves learning by thinking, doing and reflecting and is particularly effective with the diversity of students attracted through access and widening participation initiatives. In the School of Environment (SoE) active learning involves integrating critical reflection with practical activities, such as enquiry-based exploration in the field and the classroom (real or virtual), field and laboratory experimentation, studio-based work using real sites, learning in and from work-based, community-related and employer-linked activities. Subject areas covered are geography and environmental sciences, design-based disciplines such as landscape architecture, applied humanities such as community development, and management subjects such as heritage management. Tuition is closely integrated, enhancing the opportunities to transfer active learning practices quickly and efficiently. The aim is to develop an international Centre for Active Learning (CeAL), building on our extensive track record of recognised excellence. Embedding active learning will significantly enhance the quality of undergraduate and postgraduate learning in the University and in geography, environment and related disciplines nationally and internationally. Dissemination, drawing on management of change literature, includes reviewing best practice nationally and internationally, undertaking joint student projects with related Schools in the University and eleven Schools in HEIs in the Midlands, and further developing international links.
Review drafts of three modules are now available for the Online Center for Global Geography Education. The titles are Population, Global Economy, and Nationalism. Each module consists of four lessons designed to promote international perspectives, teach geographical skills, and engage international teams of students in collaborative learning and thought-provoking discussion. The modules support online collaboration using Blackboard. Student activities include data, photos, maps, and animations from the AAG's Activities and Readings in the Geography of the World (ARGWorld) project. The modules also include curriculum planners, assessment instruments, and resources that faculty can use to implement the modules in their courses.
Final drafts of the modules will be published in August 2004. To support broader dissemination and bilingual collaboration, the modules will be available in English and Spanish.
Workshops are scheduled for the IGU meeting in Glasgow (August 15-20, 2004) and the NCGE meeting in Kansas City (October 20-23, 2004). We will commission workshop participants to test the modules in their courses. Visit the project website for further information:
The Carnegie Corporation has awarded a grant to the American Council on Education for a project entitled "Where Faculty Live: Internationalizing the Disciplines". The goal of the project is to promote the internationalization of teaching and learning at U.S. colleges and universities through collaboration with five disciplinary associations: the Association of American Geographers, the American Historical Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Society for Engineering Education. Each of the five associations will develop a statement of global learning outcomes within the framework of its discipline and disseminate the statement to its members. Each organization also will develop an action plan for itself to enhance internationalization of the discipline. ACE will serve as a resource to the participating associations as they accomplish this work.
For additional information about the project and the AAG's activities, please contactat firstname.lastname@example.org.
of the US Geological Survey has created a series of lessons on Europe that use Global GIS data and tools, focusing on water resources, earthquakes, and population of the continent, on: http://rockyweb.cr.usgs.gov/public/outreach/globalgis
A new geography GCSE course, aimed at making more effective links between geographical learning and young people's own lives, is currently being piloted in about 50 schools and colleges in England and Wales. The initiative arises directly from the Qualification and Curriculum Authority's Geography Curriculum project .It is hoped that the new course will draw on recent developments in the subject and help to stem the decline in candidature apparent in public examinations at 16 and 18 since the mid 1990s.
The new course comprises a core of content, focusing on three themes. These have been chosen to provide access to some appropriate new developments in geography, to open up a range of scales of study and new approaches to the subject, and to encourage different styles of learning and assessment. The themes are:
In each case, the content aims to highlight interconnections between the students' local community and national, international and global processes. In this sense it has a strong citizenship slant.
In addition to the core, two optional units are selected to make up a full course. Optional units will range in focus from the more traditional topics and academic approaches (eg urban transport, geography through fieldwork) through applied topics (eg living with floods, geography in the news) to those with a distinctly vocational emphasis (eg GIS, planning where we live and travel and tourism destinations). A small number of optional units is available 2003-07 but a wider selection is being explored and will evolve as the pilot develops. All optional units will be internally assessed (by teachers), with innovative strategies being trialled to suit the unit content. Only 33% of the course is assessed by external examination and this comprises one paper assessing the core content and skills.
Schools and colleges piloting the new course are receiving substantial support from the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society with IBG and evaluation is also underway via the examining board itself and through QCA's own monitoring activities. Early indications are that this is seen as a radical change in emphasis, students are enthused and teachers welcome, in particular, the opportunities for more school-based curriculum development.
The pilot will continue until July 2007 after which the experience will feed directly into any changes resulting from the current 14-19 review of qualifications taking place in England. Recent research shows that geography's place in the 14-19 curriculum is uncertain in a number of countries around the world. This new development, focused as it is on enhancing the subject's place in a high stakes examination system, may well have significant messages about how the subject develops and changes at the school-higher education interface and how schools, teachers and students can be directly involved in the process of curriculum change.
For more information, contactQualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) (email@example.com) or visit the Geographical Association's website at www.geography.org.uk/projects.
has produced the following conference photo-reports:
The full programme is available at: http://www.meetingmakers.co.uk/igc-uk2004/
Pedagogic Research in Geography in Higher Education
Thursday 19 August
Convenor: Mick Healey (University of Gloucestershire)
Session 1 - Chair: Mick Healey (University of Gloucestershire)
Fieldwork: Why Bother?
Ian Fuller (Massey University), Steve Gaskin (University of Plymouth) and Ian Scott (St Bartholomew School of Nursing)
Contrasting Perspectives of Virtual Learning Environments: A Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences Practitioner's Survey
Derek France (University College Chester), Stephen Fletcher (Southampton Institute), Kate Moore (University of Leicester) and Geoff Robinson (University of St Andrews)
E-Learning and Geographical Knowledge Construction in Higher Education
Volker Albrecht (Fachbereich Geowissenschaften / Institut für Didaktik der Geographie)
The Online Center for Global Geography Education: Research Plans and Progress
Michael Solem (Association of American Geographers)
Session 2 - Chair: Margaret Harrison (University of Gloucestershire)
Auditing Teaching and Learning Approaches and Staff Development Needs for Geography Departments in Higher Education in Europe
Karl Donert and Glenda Wall (Liverpool Hope University College)
The International Relations of Upv to Reach the Objective of the Creation of a European Area in Higher Education
Francisco García Garcia and Inma Tomás Estellés (EEGECS Thematic Network)
Assessing Teachers' Practices through Standards and the Conflict Between Rational Knowledge and Beliefs: The Case of Portuguese Geography Initial Teacher Training
Fernando Alexandre (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Honours in Geography: What Forms of 'Excellence'?
Marca Wolfensberger and Rob van der Vaart (Utrecht University)
Session 3 - Chair: Sarah Bednarz (Texas A&M)
Developing an Inclusive Curriculum: the Experiences of Disabled Students in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Tim Hall and Mick Healey (University of Gloucestershire)
The Role of Professional Support Staff in Pedagogic Initiatives
Carolyn Roberts (University of Gloucestershire)
The Transition from School to University: Learning to Learn
Michael Bradford (University of Manchester)
PedRes - An Induction Field Course and its Magic
Sheena Wurthmann (Glasgow Caledonian University) and Sarah Maguire (University of Ulster)
Session 4 - Chair: Michael Solem (Association of American Geographers)
Framing Questions for Pedagogic Research in Geography in New Zealand's Neo-Liberalising Context: Some Issues and Strategies and Where They Might Take Us
Richard Le Heron (University of Auckland)
Exploring Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Geography Students Within the New Zealand Neo-Liberalising Education Framework
Julie Trafford (University of Auckland)
Implementing Pedagogical Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Applications in Pre-Service Teacher Training
Tino Johansson and Taina Kaivola (University of Helsinki)
Cognitive Mapping and GIS Education
Jongwon Lee (Texas A&M University)
Employability for Geographers
Thursday 19 August
Convenors: Pauline Kneale (University of Plymouth) and Brian Chalkley (University of Plymouth)
Dr I Sheena Wurthmann (Glasgow Caledonian University)
Geography education as basis for successful employability: the case of Estonia
Dr Jüri Roosaare and Ülle Liiber (University of Tartu)
Encouraging students to consider a teaching career through field engagements
Catherine White and Steve Rawlinson (University of Northumbria)
Why and how I'm encouraging my graduate students to 'perform'
differently- through their work: some critical reflections on
post-graduate education of 'geographers' in New Zealand
Dr Richard Le Heron (University of Auckland)
'Real World' Experiences? Student learning and the motivations of different stakeholders in practitioner engagement within environmental taught Masters courses
Dr Lindsey McEwen (University of Gloucestershire). Professor Martin Haigh (Oxford Brookes University) and Steve Smith (Coventry University)
The UK Employment Record of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science Graduates: Some Implications for Curriculum Design
Professor Brian Chalkley and Dr Sharon Gedye (University of Plymouth)
Developing intrapreneurship opportunities in the curriculum
Professor Pauline Kneale (University of Leeds)
Towards the UN Decade of Education for Sustainability 2005/14: Implications for Higher Education
Friday 20 August
Convenors: Martin Haigh (Oxford Brookes University) and David Higgitt (National University of Singapore)
Environmental Education for Sustainability: Russian Experience
Nikolay Kasimov and Svetlana Malkhazova (Lomonosov Moscow State University)
Understanding the institutional context for educational effectivity: aligning the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in New Zealand for the UN decade of Education for Sustainability
David Chapman (Massey University College of Education), Mary Flaws (Massey University College of Education) and Richard Le Heron (University of Auckland)
Environmental Education in Geography
Robert S. Bednarz and Sarah W. Bednarz (Texas A&M University)
A Sustainable Environmental Education Concept for Galtur, Austria - Aspects of the Approach and Associated Results
Angela Michiko Hama, Anja Sansone, Michael Seitz and Johann Stötter (Institute for Geography, University of Innsbruck, and "alpS" Centre for Natural Hazard Management, Innsbruck)
Mind Geometries and Eschatological Impossibilities: Cultural Assumptions Against Sustainability
Barbara Gambini (University of Urbino)
Reconnecting Learners to Nature: Strategies and Methods for ESD (Education for Sustainable Development)
Martin Haigh (Oxford Brookes University)
Two new HE publications, available on line and for ordering as hard copies, have recently been published by the Geography Discipline Network. Both focus on geography, environment and related disciplines, but they should be useful to academic/ educational developers and university teachers/ faculty in a wide range of subjects, particularly in the UK, North America and Australasia. The second publication should also be of interest to disability advisers.
Engaging students in active learning: case studies in geography, environment and related disciplines
Cheltenham: University of Gloucestershire, Geography Discipline Network and School of Environment (Healey M and Roberts J Eds) 140pp (ISBN: 1 86174 145 6).
This publication contains an introduction and twenty seven examples of active learning (i.e. learning by thinking, doing and reflecting), which are used in the School of Environment and related schools at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. A preface is co-written by Sir Ron Cooke, Chair of JISC, past Chair of the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Teaching and Learning Committee, and past President of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers.
The key audience for the 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.
Further details of this book are available at: www.glos.ac.uk/gdn/active/student.htm.
The experience of learning at university by disabled students in geography, earth and environmental sciences and related disciplines
This report analyses the findings from the first ever survey of disabled students in geography, earth and environmental sciences and related disciplines. It focuses on the experiences of 80 disabled students from six different UK universities of teaching, learning and assessment. By giving this group a voice this report aims to contribute to their empowerment. The report is one of the first outputs from the Inclusive Curriculum Project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Improving Provision for Disabled Students Programme.
This book is available online and in hard copy via www.glos.ac.uk/gdn/icp/survey.htm.
Kenny Lynch (Earth Sciences & Geography, Kingston University, UK) is one of fifty higher education teachers and learning support staff who have each been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship worth £50,000. The criteria used to select both the nominees and the finalists include the candidates' ability to influence and inspire their students, to inspire their colleagues in their teaching, and to demonstrate a reflective approach to their teaching and to the support of learning.
Kenny's project will examine the ways in which new developments in mobile technologies, such as PocketPCs, mobile phones, and Global Position Systems can be used in fieldwork.
Kenny joins four other geographers who have been awarded NTFs since it started in 2000 - Brian Chalkley, Mick Healey, Peter Hughes and Pauline Kneale.
Further details of the scheme are available at: http://www.ntfs.ac.uk/
The Council of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) has conferred Taylor and Francis Award for 'contributions to the promotion of learning and teaching in higher education' on Mick Healey, University of Gloucestershire, UK. He was presented with the award at the RGS-IBG AGM at the Society's Headquarters in London on 7 June.
This is the fifth time the award has been made. Last year it was awarded to Janice Monk at the University of Arizona. The award is sponsored by the academic publishers, Taylor and Francis, who publish the Journal of Geography in Higher Education.
Tim Hall, Mick Healey and Margaret Harrison all from the School of Environment, University of Gloucestershire, UK, have been awarded the 2003 Journal of Geography in Higher Education (JGHE) biennial award for promoting excellence in teaching and learning in higher education.
Their article 'Fieldwork and disabled students: discourses of exclusion and inclusion' was published in 2002 in the top geography journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers NS 27, 213-231. It was based on a project on "Providing learning support for disabled students undertaking fieldwork" undertaken by the Geography Discipline Network, based at the University, and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Improving Provision for Disabled Students programme.
This is the second time that the JGHE biennial award has been made. Nominated papers had to promote excellence in teaching and learning geography or closely allied subjects at higher education level and have been published in a peer-reviewed journal between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2002.
The paper will be reprinted, with some reflections by the authors, in the July issue of JGHE. The award will be made at the 2004 International Geographical Congress in Glasgow in August.
Items for the next INLT Newsletter should be sent to Michele Hills (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 17 January 2005.