ICBG Geography

Doug Oetter

This is my tenth year as a professor at GC. I am coordinator of the Geography program and teach a lot of courses, primarily in geography, but also in history, environmental science, and interdisciplinary studies.

My interest in this ICBG group lies mostly in using the exercise to learn more about active learning and assessment, especially for a new core area D course I’m proposing. The course will be a technology course helping students acquire and develop geospatial technologies through a variety of local mapping projects. It will use global positioning satellite (GPS) systems, geographic information systems (GIS), and of course Google Earth. I’ve used all of these in classes before, and it’s apparent that technology can be difficult to teach unless students have something like a local project to sink their teeth into. I think this means I will be using a ‘civic’ topic, but I’m not sure how that’s different from a ‘social’ topic.

Since I was late to the meeting last month, I must have missed the 4 ‘social issue’ stations, but I’m pretty sure that I’m in this profession because I do believe that educators have an important mission of addressing social issues in their work. It’s not always easy- I get student comments that I’m too ‘political’ in my classes, but I think these are mostly people who are uneasy with having conversations about the difficult social and political topics that are inherent in my field.

Of the ‘pedagogical’ stations, I could have gone to any of them, but I liked ‘Doctorinaire’ and was it ‘Interactive’? I ask a lot of questions in class, pretty much all the time- consistently putting stuff out there and asking students to consider it or better yet, to connect it to something they know from experience or education.

My TPI scores show me as having Developmental (37) as dominant, followed closely by Apprenticeship (35), with Transmission (25) as my recessive. I’m not sure how to approach those scores, but frankly I’m happy that Nurturing wasn’t my dominant. I purposefully answered the ‘nurturing’ questions in a way that indicates that I want my students to be disappointed from time to time, frustrated even, because IMHO over-nurturing breeds over-confidence and under-achievement. I like to let even the best students know that they can do better, while at the same time, letting the weaker students know that they have come a long way. šŸ™‚


About Doug R. Oetter

Professor of Geography at Georgia College & State University.
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2 Responses to ICBG Geography

  1. achase12 says:

    Can I take your course? Amanda

  2. Doug,

    It will be interesting to see if your TPI changes at the end of the year. I have similar feelings about nurturing as far as my own teaching is concerned. I am not a naturally inclined nurturer so I am very thankful for the colleagues I have that are good nurturers. Sometimes students need a bit of nurturing to develop the persistence to keep attempting a task they aren’t immediately successful doing.

    Your course seems very interesting. I’d advise you to start thinking about the lofty goals you have for your students, so you can start boiling these down to concrete, measurable student learning objectives. For example is your ultimate goal that students will have experienced “what it means to be a geographer” or “to have skills to understand and develop solutions to complex problems”?

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