Why Should We Use the Internet in Economic Geography Classes?


1. SCOPE: Provide the larger context: Any 10-week course which claims any degree of depth represents necessarily only a slice of a larger context and discipline. A system of Web sites facilitates such a broader perspective beyond the content constraints of an individual class.

2. DIVERSITY OF CONTENT: Add diversity to the presentation of class content (in addition to the use of lectures, in-class discussions and hard-copy readings).

3. ACCESS TO PROFS & PEERS: Facilitate and improve outside-class communication between all members of the class, including between instructor and students.

4. CORE: Reduce need for dealing with logistic matters in class thereby saving valuable class time and permitting concentration on core instructional functions.

5. PARTICIPATION: Provide a seminar or small group atmosphere for discussion even in larger classes and encourage participation of students who might otherwise not participate.

6. FLEXIBLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS: Accommodate special needs of a student population with highly diverse backgrounds and skill levels (i.e. create multi-level learning environments).

7. RESOURCE SKILLS: Integrate the learning of a broader range of library- and internet related resource skills into the presentation of subject areas. Such skills are not only useful in students' remaining academic and social lives, but increasingly expected by future employers of our economic geography students.

8. HYPERTEXTUALITY: Provide opportunity to students to experiment with hypertextual presentation of projects.

9. ACTIVE LEARNING: Encourage students to accept partial responsibility for their own education and ownership of their learning processes through active, electronically enhanced learning experiences and creation of a learning infrastructure in their own system of Web sites.

10. CONTINUITY & LIFE-LONG LEARNING: Provide more continuity beyond the constraints of an individual quarter class or students' entire undergraduate program by permitting early preparation (before start of the quarter or the student's freshman year) and continued Web-based "participation" in the class or program-related happenings after the quarter and the "official" part of the class or a student's undergraduate program are over.

11. COLLABORATION: Promote collaboration and acquisition of teamwork skills increasingly expected both in education and professional activities.

12. MAKING CONTRIBUTIONS: Instill in students the idea that they -- through their work on class projects -- are making contributions not just to themselves, their grades or my office paper collection but to their peers and, possibly, larger segments of society.

13. JUST-IN-TIME: Enable students to organize their increasingly complex daily (home-job-campus) logistics more efficiently by having more control over the distribution of personal learning environments in space and time. It is hoped that this experience and an increased awareness of such relationships will also lead to an improved understanding of the impact of information technologies (IT) on the spatial organization of economic activities and such concepts as footlooseness or telework.

14. COMPUTER SKILLS: Enable students to expand and practice their computer communication skills

15. OUTREACH! Facilitate boundary-spanning communication and activities between disciplines and, as importantly, between campus and community. In Economic Geography, such activities include student research, internships and Service Learning / Community Outreach arrangements. It is expected that such contacts with the world beyond the classroom facilitate students' exploration of future job opportunities in rapidly changing labor markets and an understanding of macro-structural changes in the economy caused directly or indirectly by IT developments.

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