If you could teach just one thing

Setting up new course designs for the year, my colleagues and I have been talking about key themes, headlines, and core content. As well as all the detail, we need to be able to identify the big picture in what we teach. The same is true for students: you need to see the big picture as well as all the individual topics in what you learn. So if you could boil down your Geography course to a headline, what would it be? If you had to sum up the heart of what you are trying to teach in Geography, how would you do that?

We went for these:

Overarching themes for all our undergraduate Geography courses:

  • Sustainability, Internationalisation and Employability

Subject-Themes for each of the degree routes:

  • Geography degree: – People and Environment
  • Physical Geography degree: – Environmental Change
  • Human Geography degree: – Social Inequality

Core Skills (leading to employability):

  • Research design and practice, including project management
  • Communication and presentation
  • Use of spatial data
  • Integration of theory and practice including fieldwork
  • Application of knowledge and skills to social or environmental issues

You may or may not like our particular choices, but at least now we have clear frames of reference in terms of which we can describe what we do, and which we can use as a framework for course design and development; we have clear links between out big picture and our specific details; and we have clear outcomes in terms of student skills.

Now – we just need to map all the details against this framework.

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