Journal of Geography in Higher Education

Volume 25 Number 1 2001


Educational Innovation and the Market for Geographers in Hungary

GÁBOR MEZÕSI; LÁSZLÓ MUCSI; ÁBEL GARAMHEGYI, University of Szeged, Hungary

ABSTRACT
This paper examines the status of geography in higher education in Hungary. Stress is placed on reforms begun in the 1990s to launch new curricula for training professional geographers. The authors played an important role in developing this new curriculum by introducing new subjects into geography programmes, working out the scope and sequence of courses, obtaining accreditation and carrying out market research for graduates. The project was motivated by a decline in demand for geography and geography teachers in secondary schools accompanied by an increase in demand for geographers trained to work in public administration, government and business. The graduates of the new professional geographer curriculum receive a practice-oriented education designed to cultivate their spatial problem solving and applied geographical skills. In this paper the authors present the steps in the curriculum reform and suggest that it may serve as a model for reform in a number of nearby countries planning to join the EU.

KEYWORDS
Hungary, curriculum reform, employment trends, market research.

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


Benchmarking in Geography: some implications for assessing dissertations in the undergraduate curriculum

DAVID PEPPER, Oxford Brookes University, UK
FRANK WEBSTER, University of Birmingham, UK
ALAN JENKINS, Oxford Brookes University, UK

ABSTRACT
Internationally there is concern about assessment standards and the qualities of graduating students. In the UK this is resulting in the introduction of benchmarking by disciplinary communities, including that of geography. In that context the authors report on a project across social science disciplines, including geography, in one UK university, to examine and improve the assessment of undergraduate dissertations. The project examined what assessment criteria are currently published to students and identified some sources of inconsistency in applying them. It identified some potential core criteria and recommended ways of increasing transparency in applying them, so as to reduce inconsistencies and potential unfairness in marking. Implications for geography departments and the international disciplinary community are suggested and for the benchmarking exercise in British geography.

KEYWORDS
Benchmarking, dissertation, assessment, standards, geographical education.

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


Analysing Heritage Landscapes with Historical GIS: contributions from problem-based inquiry and constructivist pedagogy

ROBERT SUMMERBY-MURRAY, Mount Allison University, Sackville, Canada

ABSTRACT
This article examines a practical classroom experience using GIS technologies to analyse aspects of a local heritage landscape. An inventory of historic buildings comprising architectural and construction details was revised in the field and then analysed using GIS software. Elements of the geographies of these buildings were displayed using thematic mapping and students used these maps to develop explanatory hypotheses and to suggest policy options for future management of the heritage landscape. Practically, the project demonstrated the contribution GIS can make to historical geography methods, engaged students in an externally supported research partnership working with real-world data, and suggested directions for local public policy formation. Pedagogically, the project demonstrated that historical GIS can be used effectively to shape problem-based inquiry and constructivist learning.

KEYWORDS
Historical GIS, heritage buildings, student research, constructivist pedagogy.

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


Predictable Achievement Patterns for Student Journals in Introductory Earth Science Courses

ALBERT D. HYERS, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, USA

ABSTRACT
Student journals encourage more frequent thinking about course topics, foster development of writing skills, provide feedback about course content and administration, and mitigate exam anxiety. Measures of academic 'ability' and other student characteristics were found to correlate with journal grades. This was unexpected. For example, grades correlated positively with exam scores and GPA, and correlations varied widely among the disciplines represented by the students. Females consistently earned higher journal grades than males. Segmentation modelling (SPSS) identified important subgroups involving gender, age, exam scores and major subject. The journal assignment is, therefore, not equally beneficial for all students.

KEYWORDS
Journals, assessment, grades, writing, intervention.

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


Working with the Community: improving the learning experience for large classes

SHELAGH B. WADDINGTON, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland

ABSTRACT
The need for students to develop skills that are of use in the wider labour market, as well as those specifically related to their degree subjects, has been widely accepted for a considerable period of time. It has also been noted that unless these skills are practised and are contextualised they tend neither to be learned, except at the most superficial level, nor transferred to other situations where their use would be appropriate. This paper reports the use of projects extending over a number of sessions, involving working with local community groups, carried out within a discrete module specifically designed to facilitate the learning and practice of both geographical and transferable skills. The problems of providing an integrated approach to the learning of skills for a large group of students, with limited resources and in the context of timetable restrictions imposed by a two-subject degree structure, are addressed. The degree of learning perceived by the students is evaluated and suggestions are made for further development of this approach.

KEYWORDS
Active learning, key skills, community, group work.

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


Student Empowerment through 'Area Analysis'

BETTINA VAN HOVEN & ESTHER DE BOER, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT
As a result of the teaching quality assessment at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences in Groningen (Netherlands), the course 'Gebiedsanalyse' (Area Analysis) was set up in spring 1998. The aim was to provide an opportunity for the development of transferable and geographical skills in the context of a group-based research project at level II. In addition, an effort was made to move from tutor-led to student-led learning. Experiences from the past 3 years have shown that Area Analysis has been largely successful in providing an opportunity for the application of geographical and transferable skills but also for the 'deep empowerment' of undergraduate students.

KEYWORDS
Group work, field research, student empowerment, student’s role, tutor’s role.

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


Approaches to Learning: a study of first-year geography undergraduates

S. MAGUIRE, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK
S. E. EVANS & L. DYAS, Liverpool Hope University College, UK

ABSTRACT
This paper reports the findings of a survey conducted to investigate how a cohort of geography undergraduates approach learning. The learning approaches they adopt and how their perceived confidence levels change after one year in higher education are discussed. The students were exposed to a geography-based skills-development programme which emphasised a deep approach to learning. Results demonstrate that, although students' confidence levels in their ability to study and learn improved, they became increasingly instrumental in their approach to learning.

KEYWORDS
Learning approach, confidence, Geography for the New Undergraduate (GNU).

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


What Key Skills do Employers Need?

ELAINE OWEN, Ordnance Survey, Southampton, UK

ABSTRACT
This paper explores key skills required by potential employers of geography graduates. Academic ability combined with a variety of transferable skills such as communication, organisation and self-motivation appeal to many of the employers questioned. Graduates can face potential difficulties expressing these key skills in standard application forms and interviews. Extracurricular activities and previous employment can provide impressive ways to display skills relevant to the job. Key skills are dynamic; graduates need to keep pace with ever changing expectations particularly with regard to information technology.

KEYWORDS
Key skills, transferable skills, employment.

* 2001 Index

*Journal of Geography in Higher Education Cumulative Index


The Geography Discipline Network would also like to thank Taylor & Francis Ltd for permission to reproduce abstracts from the Journal of Geography in Higher Education

For a copy of the full text article, please connect to
http://www.catchword.co.uk/titles/03098265.htm

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