Peter Kakela, Michigan State University
I discuss a course which involved students in the State political process. The students investigated a legislative bill intended to reduce throwaway drink containers. They summarised relevant literature, met interest groups, conducted consumer surveys, and performed self-initiated projects. Many of the students' observations of the political process, and my observations of this educational experience, remain vivid in our memories years after the course concluded. I still wonder why we remember.
Use of classroom experiments and the computer to illustrate statistical concepts
John Silk, University of Reading
Because of the modest mathematical background of most students, there are major difficulties in teaching basic statistical concepts in undergraduate statistical courses in geography. This paper describes statistical experiments in which students can participate, which may be supplemented by computer results. The objective is to show how greater rigour may be brought to undergraduate coursework with little or no increase in mathematical formality. The sampling distributions of test statistics in point pattern analysis are used as illustration.
The Macnamara Medicine Show: an experiment in higher education
Phil O'Keefe and Bret Halverson, Clark University, Massachusetts
The impact of disasters is heaviest upon the poorest classes of the population. We describe here an attempt to present this radical interpretation of disasters by way of theatrical methods. The evolution and content of an educational experiment carried out at the University of East Anglia in November 1976 is described. We conclude that it is essential to include affective learning opportunities in course design.
Role playing, decision making and perception of place: the use of discussion groups for an introductory cultural geography course
David B Knight, Carleton University Ottawa
Small discussion groups for large classes generally reinforce or expand upon lecture material. Links between discussion groups and lectures are undoubtedly clear, but links between successive weekly discussion group topics may be vague. Thematic and role-playing methods, used together, can help to overcome this problem. One discussion theme carried over several weeks can provide the needed link. Role-playing lets students explore how contrasting perspectives can influence the different ways in which a question can be examined and resolved. The theme discussed here is perceptions of place and their ramifications in a decision-making process.
Mastery learning: a case study and implications for instruction
Alan Backler, University of Indiana
Mastery learning is usually associated with non-traditional instruction methods. One such method, the audio-tutorial system, has been applied to an introductory human geography course at Indiana University, Bloomington. Mastery learning procedures (self-pacing, explicitly stated objectives, diagnostic progress tests) which are used in the course are described. The mastery learning philosophy and associated procedures can also be used in more 'traditional' instructional settings; some possibilities are considered.
Geographic education and community development
Larry K Stephenson, University of Arizona
Geographical educators can make useful contributions to the process of community development by helping local communities to achieve greater understanding of their environments. One way to do this is via the concept of regional synthesis, developed by, and shared with, the local residents of a community through the medium of a course which focuses on their local regional geography. A localised geography course was offered in 1977 to out-of-school adults in the Kohala area of the island of Hawaii. The specific mechanics of the course are described here, and short-term outcomes are evaluated. The potential of this form of 'applied geography' is briefly discussed.
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