Active Learning group 4: Course Spokescouncil
• There are noticeable differences between the levels of integration and sense of community experienced within Geography when compared to other departments.
• There are a number of specific skills needed in geography (i.e. Powerpoint presentations/Research skills/GIS) that are not taught to students from outside the department.
• Teaching staff within the department often ‘forget’ there may be students in lectures for whom geography is not their parent department, this becomes a problem when lectures overrun or assumptions are made about students’ prior learning and knowledge.
• There is no specific point of contact for students outside the department who they can contact with problems/questions etc.
• Lack of small group sessions/seminars which enable people to meet. Students from outside the department and within Geography have few chances to interact and meet except in huge lecture halls.
• Students from other departments are often actively segregated into their own groups for tutorials that do happen.
All these problems contribute to the lack of networking within the geography department. It can mean that students from outside the department can be put at a disadvantage in their 2nd and 3rd years, when skills and friendships made in 1st year are needed for modules (i.e. group work/presentations). Within the geography department lack of seminars means that students have few opportunities to talk through work with other students.
• Compulsory skills modules (taught in smallish groups) which have to be undertaken by students who will be doing modules in geog for their 3 years at university.
• Have a designated member of staff who students from outside the department can go to with specific geography related problems/questions (e.g. finding resources etc.)
• Have small seminar classes (even if only every 2 weeks) in which group work has to be done (even if not assessed) to encourage integration.
Proposal – The need for better inclusion of students from within the geography department and other departments (i.e. those taking geography as a minor subject or joint honours)