6496-Malone University students will study World Geography via Skype
6496-December 21, 2012
There is no question that technology has opened up new opportunities in the classroom. For example – imagine being able to see and talk with someone half way around the world, learning first-hand about his or her culture! Malone University students will experience – not just learn about – World Geography via Skype, thanks to their very creative instructor Louisa Thomas. Thomas came up with a way to teach World Geography while keeping up with former international students at the same time.
She explained, "In an attempt to take my students beyond the four walls of the classroom, we will be chatting with former students and Malone alumni via Skype throughout the spring semester. The course will focus on nine geographical regions, and we will chat with people in five of those areas."
Thomas came up with the idea from her own personal experiences of Skyping with family and friends. "After Skyping with family and friends throughout the U.S., I realized that this form of technology could make a wonderful educational tool to enhance my classes, and used it for the first time in my World Geography class in Spring 2012. From the student feedback, they really enjoyed the live interaction with people around the world."
The students will be connecting with former students in Brazil, Estonia and Taiwan. They will also check in regularly throughout the semester with Sara Shoup, a 2012 graduate and former geography student, as she takes a year long missions trip around the world. During the spring semester she will be in Latin America and Kenya; the class will chat with her as she travels throughout these regions.
Thomas recalls her own classroom experiences as a student, "I took a World Geography course as an undergrad student and while the professor used a few travelogue style films, there was something missing in the course dynamics. I have been teaching this class for fifteen years, and even though I use a variety of audio-visual projects and assignments, like my undergrad experience, something seemed to be missing. It appears that the use of Skype will provide that the missing piece of the classroom dynamic puzzle."
Thomas believes the idea has merit in other disciplines as well. "For instance," she says, "in my World History II classes I hope to contact individuals who have witnessed a piece of modern history, perhaps a veteran of WWII, Korea or Vietnam or a Holocaust survivor and have them chat with the students concerning their experiences. I plan to use Skype to connect my students with people who are unable to travel to Canton and physically be with us in our classroom."
Malone University, a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic programs. Malone has been recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, as one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and is ranked among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest under the category Regional Universities according to U.S.News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2013.
Suzanne Thomas, APR
Director of University Relations
2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W., Canton, OH, 44709