Journal of Geography in Higher Education - Volume 28 Number 2 2004

"It's not all about grades": accounting for gendered degree results in geography at Brunel University

FIONA SMITH, Brunel University Department of Geography and Earth Sciences UK

ABSTRACT This paper explores the results of an 18-month study at Brunel University that aimed to explain the significant gendered differences in academic performance amongst geography students. Male students are doing considerably less well than their female peers, being awarded far fewer first class and upper second class degrees, a phenomenon that cannot be accounted for by A-level entry grades. This paper draws on interviews with students which suggest that differences in achievement are explained by the fact that males and females perform the role of student in very different ways. While females are generally performing the role of hard-working, dedicated and focused student, males seem to be identifying with a 'macho' culture that glorifies sporting prowess and socializing at the expense of academic study.

KEYWORDS Gender, Masculinity, Femininity, Achievement

Transborder tourism, borderless classroom: reflections on a Hawaii-Singapore experience
The challenges of 'teaching by being': the case of participatory resource management

C. CHANG, National University of Singapore Department of Geography, Singapore

ABSTRACT This paper discusses a virtual or borderless classroom exercise conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of Hawaii, Manoa (UHM). By reflecting on the experiences and views of the NUS participants, the article explores the possibility of virtual explorations as a substitute for conventional fieldtrips and fieldwork. The findings reveal that online interactions and experiences simulate some of the processes and outcomes of traditional field explorations. Online exercises also permit cross-country collaboration and trans-cultural dialogue between students in two campuses. On the other hand, virtual exchanges are limited by their static two-dimensional medium when contrasted with conventional fieldtrips, which provide multi-sensory experiences that better allow participants to understand a foreign environment, society and culture.

KEYWORDS Fieldtrip, Internet, Information Technology, Tourism, Singapore, Hawaii.

Midnight at the IDL: student confusion and textbook error

KIM S. UHLIK, Kent State University School of Exercise, Leisure, and Sport, USA

ABSTRACT Students completing a time calculation exercise identified the International Date Line (IDL) as a conceptual source of confusion and poor performance. From the early 1950s to the present, various geography textbooks have promulgated misstatements involving the occurrence of midnight at the IDL. This condition's persistence and ubiquity manifests a widespread fundamental misunderstanding, providing an opportunity to (a) illuminate the low level of student success when solving an IDL-influenced problem, (b) present an overview of textbook error, (c) explore how the evolution of the standard time system led to IDL errors in geography textbooks, and (d) offer proof dispelling these misconceptions.

KEYWORDS International Date Line, Textbook Error, Teaching Geography, Geographical Education, Standard Time, Time Zones.

Mathophobic students' perspectives on quantitative material in the undergraduate geography curriculum

ANDREW M. FOLKARD, Lancaster University Department of Geography, UK

ABSTRACT Results are presented of a series of focus-group sessions held at Lancaster University during May 2002. Participants consisted of 12 undergraduate geography students chosen from amongst those identified as having strong antipathy towards quantitative material. The intention was to mine these students' perspectives on courses covering quantitative techniques in geography degrees, in order to deduce ways of making such courses more effective. Primary findings included a need for (i) textual equivalents of algebraic equations; (ii) vivid and relevant examples; (iii) thorough explanation of all mathematical jargon; (iv) face-to-face tutorials; and (v) worked examples and exercises as stepping stones to more advanced, problem-based learning type approaches to assessment.

KEYWORDS Quantitative Skills, Focus Groups, Mathematically Averse Students, Course Delivery.

Learning and teaching online with the UK census

LINDA SEE, School of Geography, University of Leeds UK
MYLES I. GOULD, School of Geography, University of Leeds UK
JACKIE CARTER, MIMAS, University of Manchester UK
HELEN DURHAM, School of Geography, University of Leeds UK
MARK BROWN, Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, University of Manchester UK
LANI RUSSELL, Department of History, University of Glasgow UK
JO WATHAN, MIMAS, University of Manchester UK

ABSTRACT This paper describes the online learning and teaching resources that are currently being developed for the contemporary and historical UK censuses as part of a project that is being funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) to support its 'Information Environment'. The online resources are intended to support learners and teachers in the UK Higher and Further Education sectors who are interested in UK census data. A variety of resources is available including: interactive online tutorials with practical exercises, textual materials, web pages and PowerPoint slides. The materials have been designed to be as flexible as possible encouraging a 'pick and mix' approach to the use of the resources. The resources are also intended to facilitate the use of 2001 census data. Feedback from student piloting and consultation workshops is also considered. All the resources can be accessed at:

KEYWORDS Internet, Online Learning and Teaching, UK Census, Information Environment.

Fieldwork and disabled students: discourses of exclusion and inclusion

TIM HALL, Geography and Environmental Management Research Unit, University of Gloucestershire UK
MICK HEALEY, Geography and Environmental Management Research Unit, University of Gloucestershire UK
MARGARET HARRISON, Geography and Environmental Management Research Unit, University of Gloucestershire UK

ABSTRACT Disabled students from a significant but under represented minority in higher education in the UK. Participation appears to be particularly low in disciplines that contain a fieldwork component. Fieldwork has been recognized as a barrier to the participation of disabled students. This paper emphasizes a critical perspective on fieldwork, highlighting the way in which fieldcourses as currently conceived, enacted and experienced, can exclude disabled students. It discusses a survey of the experiences of providing learning support to disabled students undertaking fieldwork in geography, earth and environmental science departments in the UK. It also considers the various ways in which the images, spaces, practices and cultures of fieldwork may exclude or marginalize disabled students and the different ways in which fieldwork may be made more inclusive.

KEYWORDS Disabled Students, Fieldwork, Higher Education, Exclusion, Discourses, Strategies for Inclusion.

Teaching about political violence: a primer on representation

CAROLYN GALLAHER, School of International Service, American University USA

ABSTRACT Geography is not generally viewed as a 'source' discipline for political violence studies, but this paper begins with the presumption that geography is well disposed to teach courses on the subject. The key purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that engaging issues of political violence is useful for our pedagogy. In particular, teaching about political violence allows geography to address concerns arising from the 'crisis of representation'. It does so in two ways. First, it provides another venue for teaching about the 'the other' and 'othered places' in our curricula. Second, it also allows geography to challenge uncritical tropes about political violence as emerging from some peoples and places and not others. As a case study this paper overviews a course entitled Militia Movements in Comparative Perspective. This course was organized around a theoretical unit and four case study units. The case conflicts were chosen to represent conflicts that crossed ideological (right/left) and geographical (Global North/Global South) divides. The course structure is overviewed and a classroom discussion that highlighted questions about representation is described and analysed. The paper concludes by reviewing current efforts to address violence in the discipline, noting problems with these efforts, and suggesting alternatives to them.

KEYWORDS Political Violence, Militias, Representation.

Teaching transnationalism in the Caribbean: toward an understanding of representation and neo-colonialism in human geography

SUSAN P. MAINS, Department of Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies-Mona Jamaica

ABSTRACT Undergraduate geography courses provide a significant entry way into representing and challenging dominant images of places and identities. Teaching geography in the Caribbean raises significant issues in terms of providing materials that explore representations of places and topics that are grounded in the region, while also moving beyond representations of islands as simply 'Third World', separate and distant. The author draws on the case study of teaching human geography courses at the University of the West Indies-Mona, to explore the usefulness of transnationalism as a pedagogical framework--in conjunction with the use of films and fieldtrips--while examining processes of representation and neo-colonialism.

KEYWORDS Transnationalism, Representation, Critical Pedagogy, Caribbean, Identity.

Scaling health and healthcare: re-presenting Thailand's HIV/AIDS epidemic with world regional geography students

VINCENT J. DEL CASINO Jr, California State University Department of Geography, Long Beach USA

ABSTRACT Authors of world regional geography textbooks have recently become more interested in the broader theoretical changes that have emerged in human geography. Relying on feminist and other critical perspectives, concepts such as space, place and scale are being re-imagined in this 'new world regional geography'. This paper intervenes on behalf of a more critical world regional geography by suggesting how world regional geography teachers can educate students about scale as a social construction through the use of empirical data. Relying on fieldwork conducted in Thailand, this paper lays out a lesson on the HIV/AIDS crisis and how different representations of that crisis, from the national to the individual, offer different 'ways of knowing' the epidemic. Furthermore, this paper examines how we can push students to consider the ways in which scales of analysis are constructed and constituted through our own geographic practices.

KEYWORDS Scale, World Regional Geography, HIV/AIDS, Thailand.

Research design and methods of data collection and analysis: researching students' conceptions in a multiple-method case study

NICK HOPWOOD, University of Oxford Department of Educational Studies, UK

ABSTRACT Three techniques were used in a multiple-method case study to explore students' conceptions of geography within a qualitative framework, employing aspects of phenomenology, ethnography and grounded theory. The context of the research is briefly outlined, and then the methodological framework and nature of the data yielded are discussed in more detail. Aspects of analytical procedures are considered as are strengths and weaknesses of the research design, with an emphasis on triangulation and arriving at valid and reliable interpretations relating to the complex area of students' conceptions. A summative checklist relating to multiple-method design in similar contexts is provided.

KEYWORDS Design, Qualitative Methods, Data Collection, Triangulation.

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