Prerequisites: An introductory course in regional, human and/or physical geography is recommended, as well as a working knowledge of the Web including the use of search engines. Familiarity with BlackBoard and access to e-mail is essential.
Course Objectives: If the best way to learn about the world is to travel, the second best way is to plan a trip. This course makes use of the Internet to assist in planning a trip to a foreign country. The course is designed to learn about the world by using the Internet to research a foreign destination. The basic objective is to learn how to use Internet travel resources. This will be accomplished by searching the web for relevant material and assembling this material for presentation through the Web. The specific objectives are:
How the course is taught: The course will be taught with e-mail, a forum, and through readings. All assignments will be submitted as web documents and everyone will be able to access the material and see each other's assignments. Grading is mostly based on these assignments. A final exam that is worth 15% of your final grade.
Making web pages: Most of you will probably choose to make your pages with Microsoft Word. The advantage of Word over many other web page editors is that it checks the spelling of words. If you don't have Word, there are other way to complete the assignments but you'll need to put some extra effort into finding out how they work.
Selection of a Destination: The place you plan to visit must be outside of the United States. It may be a single country, such as Japan, or a region, such as Western Europe – where you'll probably visit several countries. It must be a place where English is not a major language. Choose a place where you would like to travel for at least three weeks. The place must also have sufficient resources on the Internet to complete the assignments (e.g., Burkina Faso might be interesting but would probably not be a good destination to choose because it is not well represented on the Internet).
Materials: You will need to buy travel book, have a copy of Microsoft Word, and have a fast connection to the Internet. The travel book will be based on where you decide to travel, and you won't need to decide this until after the 2nd week of the course. The two major publishing companies are Lonely Planet and Rough Guide. A book like this is indispensible for the last few assignments.
Forum: We will use a forum to help each other out with the assignments. You will find this in the Discussion Board on BlackBoard. Each of the assignments will have a forum and you are required to make an entry for each. This could be a description of how did the assignment, what resources that you used, what software proved helpful, or what webpage was good. You could also simply answer someone's question so you wouldn't necessarily have to add any new material. It is important that you contribute something to each forum. Each of your postings will be worth 10 points. Your grade will be based on how early and how much you contribute to this forum, and the quality of the postings. You can also earn extra points for multiple, useful contribution – especially if you solve someone else's problem.
Assignments: The specific assignments will include a biography of yourself with a statement on why people travel; a maps page with links to maps; a links page to the available web resources on the area to be visited; a picture page of the region where you plan to travel; a regional geography page that describes the physical and human characteristics of the area including climate, terrain, culture, current political and economic aspects; and finally an itinerary page that outlines a three-week trip to the area. Grades will be given on each assignment as they are submitted. Assignments may be re-done during the last week of class.
Posting of Assignments: All assignments will be submitted by transferring your files to a central web server.
Looking at each others work is an important aspect of this course and I encourage you to do so. I will comment on what I regard as good aspects of specific web pages that have been submitted. Don't worry if your pages don't look as good as other pages. I consider the content, not fancy graphics, as the most important aspect of the pages.
Course Prerequisites: An introductory course in geography as well as a working knowledge of the Web. Familiarity with and access to e-mail, a text editor or a word processor is essential. Experience with Microsoft Word or a web page editor is expected.
Grading: A total of eight web page assignments will be given, each worth between 5-15%. A separate participation in the forum for each assignment is worth 10% of each assignment. ÊTo keep the class together, assignments submitted late (after midnight of the due date) will be marked off. 10% (one letter grade) will be subtracted for each day the assignment is late. Cut-offs for letter grades: A: 90%; B: 80%; C: 70%; and D: 60% A+: 97 and above; A: 93-97; A-: 90-93; B+: 87-90; B: 83-87; B-: 80-83; etc. Incompletes are not given.
Word of Advice: Be sure to reserve some time for this course. If your schedule is tight, you might not have time to complete the assignments. Usually 2 or 3 students during a session get so far behind with the assignments that they cannot catch-up. Don't be one of those students! Maintain a schedule that allows you to complete the assignments. Online courses require a considerable amount of self-discipline.
Please contact me by email if you have any questions about the course.