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Integrating Technology and Research in Teaching

I have been teaching a GIS course for several years now and I have constantly tried to work towards a better integration of the technology and the substantive research. As I reported earlier, use of the Meyer 220 classroom has significantly impacted the way students interact with the tools as well as the material.

Last year I was approached by Political Science Professor Jonathan Rodden, who suggested to team-teach the class. I was very excited about this opportunity to expand into a multidisciplinary course, closely tied to faculty research. We applied for and received the Hoagland Award Fund for Innovations in Undergraduate Teaching to support this course, an additional recognition of our attempt to bring innovative elements into the class. In this course, now named “Spatial Approaches in Social Science”, we take a collaborative, project oriented approach to bring together technical expertise and substantive applications from the social science disciplines. We integrate tools, methods, and current debates in the social sciences in a course that enables students to engage in critical spatial research and a multidisciplinary dialogue around geographic space.

The course culminated in a digital poster session. We rolled in additional monitors, where students presented their term projects as digital posters in a public event. A number of social science methods courses deal with the issue of integration of technology and research, so my own teaching experience turns immediately into the benefit of other faculty I work with. I am currently supporting Anthropology Professor Ian Robertson, who is teaching his course “Quantitative Data Analysis in Archeological and Anthropological Research” in the same space.

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