Part of What is Needed to do Well in Economic Geography and this Class

(Geography 207, 350, 450, 498)

"To avoid suffering the 'pain of learning,' people will go to great length to trick themselves with sugar-coated approaches to knowledge in much the same way that those who are fearful of the unknown approach travel: they try to make the trip as easy as possible by having every moment planned in advance, by turning over the arrangements to someone else, by trying to turn travel into a neat package. This deters the traveler from ownership of the experience." (R.S.Wurman, Information Anxiety. 1989, p.155)

Supporting & Related Pages

  1. Apply yourself & think Economic Geography at all times during this quarter. Switch to an active mode of studying & learning (begin by finding out what could be meant by "active").

  2. Now that narrow Distribution Credits have been abandoned by the (UW) College of A&S, we assume that all students taking this class have a primeval interest in this subject. If that is still not the case or you simply cannot develop this internal excitement, either drop the class now or discipline yourself sufficiently to be able to come to class, take notes, read the books and your e-mail, collaborate with others in the class, research the assignments and create documents in your Web directory.

  3. Get to know your instructor; he thrives on your feedback & expressions of interest! Make use of his (limited) office hours & (unlimited) e-mail hours. However, e-mail is NOT the medium to vent your frustrations with yourself, the class, its instructor or other students in the class. See your instructor in person for all serious misgivings [also consult E-Mail Etiquette ("Netiquette")].
    [ From the U-DUB Daily, Nov.22, 1999:] "How to get the most out of your college education"
    "... Academically, the best thing you can do is e-mail and talk to your professors until they know you by name. A good relationship with a teacher is the best any student can hope for. You may not mesh with a lot of your professors, but some will take an interest in you and this (no sarcasm here) is a blessing."
    "Take smaller classes, and you will be forced to attend and stay awake with a greater regularity than in the Kane Hall mass-lectures. A simple e-mail or visit during office hours may seem like a kiss-ass thing to do, but in a large university, it is a perfectly acceptable way to get more information about things you are curious about, but are not covered in class."
    "If you have a genuine interest in a field, talking to your professor will give you the easiest way to the greatest amount of information. A conversation is more engaging than surfing the Web or scouring the library, and it may lead toward more questions that you hadn't even considered."

  4. Attend classes regularly (no exceptions, "emergencies" are very narrowly defined!); if you still fall behind with your readings, see your instructor(s) and develop and stick to a catch-up plan. Clarify ambiguities & solve problems when they occur. Do NOT let them pile up.

  5. Alternate your location in class during the first two weeks, find out who is sitting next to you and find "collaboratory partners". Organize or join one or more study or interest groups. Try to explain class-related materials to others in the class whenever possible (there is no better way of learning yourself). Since this class is NOT graded on a curve, you can assist others in the class without reducing your own grade. Stay away from your 'friends' who insist on being disruptive or 'funny'.

  6. Rewrite your class-notes after class and clarify & enhance them with materials from readings and other sources (peers?). Organize your (hard-copy or electronic) NOTEBOOK early and keep it updated. Economic Geography is part of the Social Sciences and therefore almost always open to alternative perspectives or "second opinions". Your professor and/or your assigned readings could be wrong and can ALWAYS use some supplementation! Consult other sources. Carry some class-related readings around with you at all times (and try to read them on the bus & elsewhere), particularly if you carry 15 credits and work 30+ hours a week. Make use of library resources specifically those in the OUGL, Business, Urban Planning & Suzz/Allen libraries. Get to know the Geography sections of the libraries inside out & accept the help of our friendly Geography librarian (Jennifer Stone Muillenburg). Use the opportunity while your are still at the University to acquire or refresh your library- and information skills.
    Make sure all of your class-related "creations", whether on paper or online, are saved for inclusion in your evolving undergraduate learning portfolio.

  7. Find out what the full range of topics in Economic Geography might include, not just those we cover in these ten weeks. Start early with developing your own niche or theme within Economic Geography. Ideally this would be a field to which you can apply most of the principles covered in class, and which could thereby supply the examples needed to have class content come alive.

  8. As a student of Economic & Business Geography, you are also a student of "organization", "management", "economic change", "information & innovation processes", "consumer behavior", "economic hardship", and much more. Unless you already went through all of those real world experiences, like running your own business, being an alert employee or intern in an intellectually challenging activity, helping out with writing grant proposals for a non-profit organization or being homeless or a volunteer for the homeless, get involved in one way or another, such as in There are many close-by, geographically significant examples of economic "organizations" suitable for probing your geographic ideas, train your inquisitive mind and even develop some (re-)organizational initiatives. Thus, try to understand what is going on "around here", and how educational processes are organized. Question the underlying assumptions and accepted operating procedures, and try to develop constructive suggestions for change and improvement either within given institutional structures and/or including more fundamental, long-term adjustments. Even if you feel that you have no chance getting anywhere with your fresh ideas, just understanding the resistance to change may help you learn as much as or more than if your propositions gained quick and easy acceptance.

  9. Keep up with current events which relate to the class, your interests and your class-related tasks collected in your "Portfolio".
    If you want to save trees and not subscribe to the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York or London Times, Business Week or a similar national or foreign publication, make it a habit to seek them out in the Library or on the Internet (see 207 Economic News Page and/or Local & (Inter)national Media). Some of you might agree with me that the Puget Sound Business Journal or the business section of the Seattle Times together with the British Economist could be a suffiently balanced and highly accessible daily diet of local and international economic & business news. But then, there are so many other decent combinations which allow you to follow and begin to understand the links between local and global phenomena. Monitor the campus calendar & the (many) Geography bulletin boards and attend (free!) special events (e.g. lectures, Friday afternoon Geography colloquia, and/or organize or attend meetings of the Undergraduate Geography Association etc). The University is more than the sum of its formal classroom courses, brick buildings, textbooks, grades and transcripts!

  10. Do NOT wait until the instructors ask questions in pop quizzes or other examinations. Start early with learning how to formulate examination-type questions and then to organize class materials around such questions. Start early with communicating Economic Geography in writing. Write paragraphs on ideas or questions as they come up. Make an appointment with the "expert" in the Geography WRITING CENTER (in 415 Smith) and discuss with him/her (always) possible improvements in your writing style. However, you may also want to find out what your instructor means by "hypertextual writing". By the time you read this, he probably has referred to it already a few times.

  11. Computer screens do NOT replace paper or books, at least not yet. Your instructor has always had a certain distaste for textbooks due to their often excessively "pre-chewed" or shallow content. Too many Web sites (including a few in this Web system!) suffer from similar afflictions. There is the real danger of overusing the screen and spending too much time endulging in the vastness of insufficiently structured information, to the detriment of relevance, depth, thought and analysis. Moreover, until the shape of your computer resembles that of books, screens display higher resolutions and permit comments, highlights and other scribbles, and until you do not electrocute yourself when reading in the bathtub, follow Johann Gutenberg's and Bill Gates' examples and do your "deep-reading" from paper and books.

  12. Keep your common sense intact & enjoy yourself. For something different, visit a virtual museumor a classical music site, or Meany Hall.

For Further Assistance:

"How do you explain school to a higher intelligence?" (E.T.Elliot)

Return to Geog.207 || Geog.350 || Geog.450 || Geog.498 || Econ & Bus Geog
Krumme (1995/2002) []