Enhancing student learning on an overseas geography fieldwork programme : the role of virtual fieldwork

Antony Mellor

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper reports on the design, utilisation and evaluation of a 'virtual fieldwork' package to support and enhance student learning on a well established overseas field course for level 5 Geography undergraduates (GE0146, BSc Spain Fieldwork). In addition to the virtual fieldwork resource, which operates via the module Blackboard site on the Northumbria University electronic learning platform (elp), the one week residential fieldwork programme is supported by a series of lectures in advance of the trip. Assessment comprises two group presentations, reporting on research projects undertaken in the field (50%), and an individual field notebook recording observations, results and reflections whilst in the field (50%). The multimedia content of the virtual fieldwork resource is designed to be engaging to the modern undergraduate who is often multimedia literate, has a diversity of learning styles, often preferring interactive, student-centred and self-paced rather than more traditional approaches, and flexibility of access. The resource will have longevity beyond the field trip and will be useful for preparation in advance and for assessment and review purposes afterwards. This approach also goes some way to addressing the e-learning agenda as well as catering for those students who, for personal reasons, or reasons of restricted physical ability, are unable to participate in part or all of the field work activity. It should be stressed, however, that the resource aims to compliment rather than replace the fieldwork activity. Student evaluation of the virtual fieldwork resource will take place at the end of the module later this semester (May) and will be conducted via questionnaire analysis, informal, semi-structured interviews and contributions to a blog facilitated via the module Blackboard site.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
EventNorthumbria Conference 2009 - Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Duration: 8 Sept 2009 → …


ConferenceNorthumbria Conference 2009
Period8/09/09 → …
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