Journal of Geography in Higher Education - Volume 27 Number 3 2003

Using the Internet to Support International Collaborations for Global Geography Education

MICHAEL N. SOLEM, Association of American Geographers, USA
SCOTT BELL, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
ERIC FOURNIER, Samford University, USA
HARWOOD LOCKTON, Avondale College, Australia

ABSTRACT This paper reports the results of a pilot study that evaluated a prototype instructional module designed to support international collaborative learning in the World Wide Web. The module, Migration, was tested at four higher education institu tions in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Students valued the opportunity to learn global geography by collaborating electronically in multinational teams, yet many students complained about confusing instructional procedures and uncooperative team members. The results of the module evaluation provide useful suggestions for managing pedagogical issues related to the process of online international collaborative learning.

KEYWORDS World Wide Web, international collaborative learning, global geography.

Teaching Research Methodology to Geography Undergraduates: rationale and practice in a human geography programme

RICHARD V. WELCH & RUTH PANELLI, University of Otago, New Zealand

ABSTRACT Recent acknowledgement that geography students should gain knowledge and experience in the research process has not been matched by accounts of how this experience should be taught. In human geography, apart from a small selection of informative textbooks, scholars have remained relatively quiet on the matter of curriculum design and teaching programmes that would provide this experience. Instead, attention has been devoted to specific, individual research skills or selected intersections between teaching and research. In contrast, this paper argues that it is important to consider how we might best teach research methodology in a comprehensive manner to human geography undergraduates. The authors identify pedagogic and pragmatic reasons for teaching this material and then address some of the difficulties and challenges associated with this endeavour. Taking one New Zealand human geography example, the aims and structure of a 200-level course that attempts to provide such an example of research methodology teaching are then sketched out. Responses to the course are noted and followed by reflections on the pragmatic and disciplinary challenges that continue to exist.

KEYWORDS Research, methodology, teaching, undergraduate.

Building a GIScience Community in Cyberspace: reflections on GIScOnline

RICHARD HARRIS, University of Glamorgan, UK

ABSTRACT In this paper, distance learning is defined not as the physical separation of students from a tutor but by the need to facilitate group learning, interaction and a sense of community amongst course participants. A critical review of an established distance-learning course is made reflecting on the team's experiences of building a learning community in cyberspace. The successes and failures are recorded, as are the barriers to engendering a sense of kinship on the course. A survey of students' own experiences with and feeling towards various communication technologies is also presented.

KEYWORDS Distance learning, GIS, communication, community, cyberspace.

Teaching Experiential Learning in the Urban Planning Curriculum

ZENIA KOTVAL, Michigan State University, USA

ABSTRACT The urban and regional planning profession demands the training of practical planners who have some experience with community development, citizen participation modules, and conflict resolution skills. Community outreach in curricula provides needed exposure to practical applications of textbook lessons and exposure to group dynamics, community clients, and complex problems. The recognised need for practical training in any planning curriculum is most often addressed through community outreach-based courses such as planning studios, practicum or in lectures interwoven into seminar courses. The basic structure of all of these classes typically supports teams of students working with a particular community on a specific planning-related activity. These outreach courses, however, pose some of the greatest teaching and learning challenges in the entire curriculum. This paper assesses the challenges and successes in teaching the practicum course and provides insights for others teaching similar courses.

KEYWORDS Experiential learning, teamwork, community partnerships, practical training.

International Students Pursuing Postgraduate Study in Geography: impediments to their learning experiences

REGINA SCHEYVENS, Massey University, New Zealand
KIRSTY WILD, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
JOHN OVERTON, Massey University, New Zealand

ABSTRACT There are significant numbers of international postgraduate students studying in Western universities thanks to scholarships provided by governments and other donors. While these fully funded students are generally welcomed by geography departments, inadequate attention has been paid to considering how to facilitate their learning experiences given the particular impediments they face. Based on research conducted at Massey University, New Zealand, and an extensive literature review, this article argues that academic success is strongly related to the personal well-being of students. Particular pressures were faced by students during the first few months as they adapted to a new cultural, linguistic and learning environment. Female students and those with families faced additional, continuing pressures.

KEYWORDS International education, postgraduate education, international students, learning, impediments.

Internationalising the University Curriculum

M.G. JACKSON, Uttarakhand Environmental Education Centre, Almora, India

ABSTRACT Many Western universities are responding to the demands of globalisation by attempting to internationalise their curricula--that is, to introduce an element of multiculturalism. This project derives its rationale from three assumptions: (1) the globalisation process is a viable agenda for a sustainable and just future for all people; (2) it is the responsibility of the university to respond faithfully to current demands of Western society--that is, in this case, to the demands of globalisation; and, (3) given the first two assumptions, internationalisation of the curriculum is a logical response. It is argued that the first two assumptions need to be explicitly recognised and then rigorously questioned. This must be done by academics themselves, and as a joint project with students in the classroom. This questioning amounts to challenging the foundational concepts of contemporary Western civilisation. New directions for the future may thus emerge from the classroom. The core concepts of other cultures may be seen as an asset in this process, giving an entirely new meaning to the term 'internationalisation of the curriculum'.

KEYWORDS Globalisation and university curricula, internationalisation of the university curriculum, Western worldview, international students, Western cultural imperialism.

Pedagogic Research Methods in Geography Higher Education

GLYNIS COUSIN, University of Warwick, UK
MICK HEALEY, University of Gloucestershire, UK

ABSTRACT The idea for this section of the journal came partly from our mutual involvement in a project that was designed to raise the pedagogic research capacity of academics working in geography, earth and environmental sciences (GEES). This project was funded by the UK Learning and Teaching Support Network and undertaken by the LTSN GEES Subject Centre for these subjects. The project was based on a partnership with educational researchers and subject specialists. Briefly, four cross-university and cross-subject research groups were funded to explore pedagogic issues relating to various aspects of fieldwork; one further group, 'doing pedagogic research', was charged with researching the project's effectiveness in building pedagogic research capacity.

We were participants in the 'doing pedagogic research' group that surfaced evidence about the value of facilitating dialogues between educationists and subject specialists. Of course, geographers are experienced in a range of research methods, depending on their specialisms, and many of these methods--quantitative and qualitative--do overlap with educational research methods. However, we also generated evidence that resistance to some pedagogic research methods, particularly qualitative ones, had much to do with subject-based views about their reliability and validity. We hope, therefore, that this section will both deepen dialogue about the value of pedagogic research and show ways in which robust research designs can be developed within a range of methods.

In this section of the journal, our intention is to publish articles that describe and reflect on particular research methods and techniques to stimulate ideas among our readers about ways in which they might conduct pedagogic research. We also hope to publish discussions on methodology. As a journal dedicated to advancing our understandings of the teaching and learning of geography in higher education, there needs to be space to question the value basis for such understandings. In the first contribution in this section (which comes out of the LTSN GEES Project) Steve Gaskin describes the use and methods of the Nominal Group Technique within focus-group research with geography students.

The Interview Hurdle to Postgraduate Studies and the Job Market

ELSBETH ROBSON, Keele University, UK



As you finish your degree what do you do next? Deciding to continue with study or research in geography is a popular choice. A master's course or PhD programme can be the start of a lifelong academic career, or a stepping-stone to all sorts of professions that geography graduates are suited to. A recent Directions article (Kneale, 2002) is full of ideas and helpful tips for geographers seeking a career after graduation. Getting a place as a postgraduate student is not always easy but there is plenty of advice on how to do this available from your tutors, careers office and publications. For example, Boardman (2003) provides a very useful starting point for geography students thinking of applying for a master's course in the UK. The volume by Rogers and Viles (2003) also contains several chapters on opportunities overseas for studying at master's and PhD level in New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, the USA, Australia and Canada. Becoming a postgraduate student will almost always involve the hurdle of an interview, as will nearly every job you apply for. This piece is aimed to help you maximise your chances of success in that interview, or interviews. All interviews need serious and thoughtful prior research and preparation.

What the Interviewers are Looking For

It helps if you have an idea of what the interviewers are looking for--then you can work out what your strengths are in relation to their criteria. Nearly all job specifications and training opportunities in the business world come with brochures, competence expectations and organisational descriptions. These help you to target your preparation. You have no excuse for not knowing what is wanted. University expectations of graduate students may not be so explicit, but you can expect that they also assume you will be committed, enthusiastic and very clear about why you are making this choice of career. Some of the major expectations of graduate students are described below.

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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