Journal of Geography in Higher Education - Volume 27 Number 1 2003

Reflections on a Discipline-wide Project: developing active learning modules on the human dimensions of global change

SUSAN HANSON, Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA
SUSANNE MOSER, Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, MA, USA

ABSTRACT Developing Active Learning Modules on the Human Dimensions of Global Change was a four-year discipline-wide project that aimed to infuse current scholarship on global change into introductory and intermediate university courses, develop active learning materials on the human dimensions of global change for use in introductory and intermediate college courses, motivate faculty to think critically about their approaches to teaching and learning, and, finally, establish a process within the Association of American Geographers to develop and disseminate active learning materials. The authors describe the project and reflect on lessons learned.

KEYWORDS Active learning, human dimensions of global change, curriculum development, faculty development, geography instruction.

Have Geographers Lost Their Way? Issues relating to the recruitment of geographers into school teaching


ABSTRACT Despite efforts by the United Kingdom Government, the Teacher Training Agency and other organisations to address the problem of teacher shortages in geography within English schools, the subject is still failing to attract sufficient students into the profession. Whilst the impact of this has yet to be felt fully in higher education, it is only a matter of time before university geography departments may find it increasingly difficult to recruit quality students onto their undergraduate courses. By sampling three distinct populations, geography teachers, geography undergraduates and sixth formers [1], this research presents evidence of the recruitment problem, seeks to understand its nature and suggests strategies for addressing the underlying issues.

KEYWORDS Admissions, recruitment, teacher shortage, ITT (initial teacher training).

Teaching Europe in Spanish Universities: looking for new approaches in regional geography

MIREIA BAYLINA & MARIA PRATS, Universitat Auto`noma de Barcelona, Spain

ABSTRACT The teaching of the Geography of Europe in Spanish universities is analysed with the aim of detecting the relationship between the practice of teaching and recent geopolitical changes in Europe, along with the evolution of regional geography studies. The organisation of the subject, the study environment and the focus adopted are all examined, along with any issues that are recurrent, absent or new. Attention is also given to the bibliographic resources used in the teaching process.

KEYWORDS Europe, teaching, regional geography, Spanish universities.

Developing External Links through Teaching and Learning in Geography and Environmental Science: the use of the mini-conference

ANN WORSLEY, Edge Hill College of Higher Education, UK

ABSTRACT A student-led mini-conference has been used as a means of developing employer links. The one-day conference forms part of a final-year module in the Department of Geography at Edge Hill and involves the participation of external agencies. Links with the world of work, the enhancement of student learning and the promotion of regional research are reported. It is suggested that the conference could be used successfully in a variety of subject disciplines.

KEYWORDS Mini-conference, employer links, regional perspective, student experience.

Student Perceptions of Geography and Environmental Science Fieldwork in the Light of Restricted Access to the Field, Caused by Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK in 2001

IAN FULLER, University of Northumbria, UK
STEVE GASKIN, LTSN Subject Centre for Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK
IAN SCOTT, City University, London, UK

ABSTRACT Internationally, fieldwork is generally seen as intrinsic to the very nature of geographical education. However, objective experimentation comparing student learning experiences with and without fieldwork is rare. During 2001 in the UK, fieldwork was withdrawn from many university degree programmes as Foot and Mouth Disease led to restrictions on access to the countryside. This restriction provided an unexpected opportunity to assess student perceptions of fieldwork in the light of its absence and to review those alternative learning strategies which were put in its place (where appropriate). To this end, nominal group technique (NGT) was applied to five groups of students from five separate UK universities to obtain information on the groups' perceptions of the value of fieldwork. NGT elicited almost 300 responses from 33 final-year students representing a high level of group consensus on the issues involved. Rationalisation of responses identified 12 categories, which reflect and amplify key educational objectives addressed by fieldwork in geography and environmental sciences from existing theoretical literature. Results demonstrate that student perception of fieldwork (based on previous university-level field experiences) is overwhelmingly positive. The groups identified the experience of geographical reality, developing subject knowledge, acquiring technical, transferable and holistic skills, and working with peers and lecturers as being the most important perceived benefits of fieldwork. Negative impacts of fieldwork included high levels of time consumption. Using a systematic and objective methodology, these results confirm, in a novel rigorous multi-institutional approach, the conception of geography and environmental science fieldwork as being of significant value for the overall student learning experience.

KEYWORDS Fieldwork, nominal group technique, student perception, objective evaluation.

Discovering Networked Information in the Internet Age: the JISC Resource Guide to Geography & the Environment

ADAM GARDNER, University of Manchester, UK

ABSTRACT As networked information resources are used ever more in higher edu- cation, the requirement for subject-specific, quality-assured resource selection assumes greater importance. The UK's Joint Information Systems Committee has implemented the Resource Guide initiative in which seven subject-specific printed and web-based guides to electronic resources have been provided. The centralised coordination of the guides ensures consistency in resource awareness across UK higher education and the training element packaged within each aims to improve students' approaches to resource discovery.

KEYWORDS Electronic resource, resource discovery, learning guide, JISC.

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

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