A Recent Afternoon in the Life of Geog. 350
Use of the Ullman Collaboratory
October 28, 1997
- Other Details: This class is an evening degree program class meeting
twice a week (T&Th) for 2 1/2 hours each. As a rule, students do NOT come
to campus between classes and expect that all readings and class materials
are made available as text books, on-line or handouts. Class objectives
and content as well as the "lengthy" class period require "mixed use" of
class time, i.e. frequent changes of activities thereby avoiding the need
for time consuming "relaxation breaks" outside the classroom.
The Ullman Collaboratory is ideal for this kind of "flexible instruction"
for a (lengthy) class with 12 students allowing students to pursue
different types of activities at different tables without wasted
- Class Objectives: The objectives of this class focus on the
acquisitions of analytical skills related to small area economic analysis
as they may be needed and applied in local (public sector) planning
departments and (private sector) marketing activities. The
selection and presentation of these tools are firmly linked to regional
development theory and market area concepts and theories on the one hand,
and regional data systems, on the other. In addition, all students are
strongly urged to develop their own "area of interests" or focus for this
class and to search for appropriate data and other resources as part of
many of the assigned exercises in support of their individual (or group
In addition, all students are given an opportunity to apply and
develop their writing, communications, and collaborative skills through
weekly exercises, online and in-class communication and collaborative
extensions of the exercises.
- Concepts & Theory, (Theories of structural and regional economic
change, market area concepts etc.)
- Analytical Tools, (from location quotients, transition matrices,
network measures and input-output/ multiplier analysis)
- Resources Skills, (Library & Internet search and evaluation skills)
[Objectives parallel those depicted in this Nyerges et al. Resource
Skills Table; a similar articulation more specifically for classes in
Economic and Business Geography is "under construction".
- Collaboration [on Exercises and joint and/or linked Web pages],
- Hands-On Student Work
(Exercises, In-Class & At Home),
- General Pedagogic Objectives associated with the Use of the
Collaboratory: The integration of multiple computers into the flow of
class proceedings has progressively increased over the past few
years (first in the UWIRED
Collaboratory [as one of its first "innovative
courses"], and has become a surprisingly attractive and successful
alternative to overhead transparencies, television clips etc. Students
have been awed by the realization that they can readily accept at least
partial responsibility for illustrative choices in class activities.
In addition to the hands-on communication and collaboration role of
multiple computers in the classroom, it is the "level playing field"
between instructors and students which makes the presence of computers so
desirable. While the instructor may have a head start in the use of a
variety of specifically educational technologies, a diverse student group
is bound to have a superior collective computer experience which helps to
break down unneeded barriers between students and instructor and provide a
more collaborative learning environment.
- All students not associated with Geog.350 are asked to leave the room
- 12 Geog 350 students assemble around two or three tables; One student
at each table
accepts role of "Web-Clicker"; students keep their screens up on all other
computers (on which they have worked before class started) for later and
- Class begins with preliminaries: Distribution of
"Weekly Agenda" and
other handouts (most are also available on the Web); Identification of
Links which are not distributed. Q&A related to readings and other
activities during the week.
- Traditional lecture component (40 minutes); with use of
overhead transparencies and instructor's station (overhead computer).
Today: Concepts of Regional Economic Change, Shift & Share Analysis
(continued from last week, since we could not finish the topic due to
- Instructions for "Extended Break Period" (5:20-6:00).
Handouts: Boolean Logic and
Library/Internet Search Methods || Susan Ives' Paper "Searching the
Internet: A Guide to Boolean Logic".
5:20-6:00 "Extended Work-Break"
- Students disperse to individual work-stations, typically 2 per
computer, one or two students try to find computers elsewhere (e.g.
outside the Collaboratory in ("scholar space") [more
computers would be
useful at other 4th-floor locations for these activities which are only
partially and not necessarily "collaborative"]
- Shift and Share
Exercise [due next week]: Any Questions (Conceptual foundations, Data,
Method, Interpretation of Results? [Students find their own data fitting
their individual class interests ("Theme")]
- Individual or collaborative work on the development of students'
Page" (All-Quarter Exercise)
- Another quarter-long exercise (collaborative between Geography 350 and
498) is the on-line discussion on societal
implications of new telecommunications technologies.
The discussion form
is on a Web page. Contributions are posted automatically underneath
the form. Generally, students do not use class time to formulate their
6:10 - 6:50 Developing the outlines of a "Class Model" on the basis of
- Instructor sits at central work station and displays
students' own introduction and areas or interest
- Students can suggest corrections which are instantly recorded (via
changes in Web page saul account)
- Instructor briefly reviews the essence of a prior reading on "Models"
and the nature of alternative links between model components or
- Students at each table are asked to identify obvious, or not so
obvious, links between students interests. These links are recorded as
arrows on overhead transparency and given labels.
- Students "pair-off" to discuss the substantive foundations of
their "connections" and report back (confirm and cancel) the partnership.
- Instructor makes xerox copies of "connection matrix" and sketches
"class model" on power
- Instructor briefly explains the meaning of this modular approach to
modeling in the context of the economic base and input-output
models which will be part of the class content during the following
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