Quantitative assessment of a field-based course on integrative geology, ecology and cultural history

Paul R. Sheppard, Brad A. Donaldson, Gary Huckleberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

A field-based course at the University of Arizona called Sense of Place (SOP) covers the geology, ecology and cultural history of the Tucson area. SOP was quantitatively assessed for pedagogical effectiveness. Students of the Spring 2008 course were given pre- and post-course word association surveys in order to assess awareness and comprehension of the geology, ecology and cultural history of the Tucson area. Students who had previously taken SOP (2005-2007) and students who had never taken SOP also completed the survey. The survey consisted of 12 stimulus terms, all of which represent concepts integral to an understanding of environmental geography of the Tucson area. The students wrote words that they associate with each stimulus term. Differences between the pre- and post-course responses showed clear improvement in awareness and comprehension of the geology, ecology and cultural history of the Tucson area. Results from students who took SOP in past years indicate that long-term retention of course content is good. The word association technique proved to be effective for collecting data and evaluating the course. The field trips of SOP are described in the Appendix, which also contains the word association survey used in this research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-313
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

Keywords

  • cultural history
  • ecology
  • field-based education
  • geology
  • word association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Education
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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