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Pedagogic Research Project American Studies Field Trip.

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Presentation on theme: "Pedagogic Research Project American Studies Field Trip."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pedagogic Research Project American Studies Field Trip

2 Outline American Studies Programme at Winchester. Offers a Field Trip module to American Studies second year students since 2001 Taught mainly in the US over 12 day period, plus 5 introductory tutorials in UK. Recognise not unusual in itself, but is unusual for American Studies which has focused on exchange programmes.

3 Locations: Las Vegas



6 Mojave National Preserve



9 American Studies Field Class themes & structure. From Las Vegas & Boulder City. –Rationalise as America writ large – the urban scene. –Safe city; walk-able areas; variety. To the Grand Canyon & Colorado River. –History & environmental issues – water/land management. –Experience and physical activity. Back along part of Route 66 –History and tourism – iconography of the route. –Small town & rural America (Williams, Seligman, Chloride) –Literal re-enactment. To the Mojave desert –Wilderness and ex-urban America (sometimes camping out, sometimes at Desert Research Center, sometimes in motels) –Experience and physical activities

10 Reasons for field experience: Decline and unsuitability of exchanges for some students, eg non-standard entry. Ability to offer an intensive experience. For Area Studies subject like American Studies offers more “hands on”. Novelty - fact of previous student visits to USA, but character of trip makes it distinctive. All requires careful planning.

11 The ‘Experiential Environment’.

12 Transport.

13 Landscape Iconography.

14 Steinbeck Seminar on Route 66

15 Seminars in the Field

16 Student seminar papers

17 Environmental Extremes.

18 Randomness

19 Some practical specifics: Organisation of trip –vital to provide variety in places visited and in activities –educative does not just mean visits to sites such as museums, galleries, etc also physical activities –also processes, eg journeys Time on the road in the USA

20 Planning Issues. Airfares –Group bookings vs individual tickets Vehicle rentals & insurance –On line vs direct, US vs UK Motel bookings –Cheap vs safe (note fear factor) Daily expenses –Student budgeting and money management Costs to absorb –Portion of vehicle rental, gas, entry fees

21 Costs Airfare = £300- £350 Accommodation = £100 Contribution to rental, gas, fees = £100 Remainder of rental, gas, fees paid by Dept Tutor airfare, accommodation paid by Dept £550 –A lot of money? –Sufficient advance notice vital –Bale out notice, eg non-refundable tickets

22 General Points of Summary: 1. Intensity Trip is tiring –For students –For staff (eg driving) Careful to build in free time/down time –Awareness of issues such as drinking age Group cohesion –Careful management –Techniques to manage, eg in seating in vehicles

23 2. Opportunities and challenges Trip serves significant purposes beyond content –Self-confidence Sense of real achievement students’ report –Relationship with students Diffuses out into wider year group –Achievement and physical challenge Need to be aware of limits Students with disabilities

24 3. Risks Legal situation re institution & liability –Risk assessment essential. Insurance –Medical and other not discretionary. Not in loco parentis, but need to have rules and maintain authority.

25 4. Assessment Diary of trip – Field Notes –Not “What I did on my holidays” Photographic assignment –Theme is important Academic essay –Requires trip be related to the student’s knowledge of America – what has been learnt

26 5. Student feedback on the learning experience ‘A critical understanding of the everyday’ –A critical grasp on the ‘ordinary’ as manifested in landscapes & lifestyles ‘A critical understanding of space’ –Regionalism & Spatiality ‘A critical understanding of disciplines’ –Inter & multi-disciplinarity –Students described this in terms of starting with a grounding in Geographical approaches, and developing multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches out of this

27 More student feedback on the learning experience Cross references within the programme. Intensive & specialised. Staff & Student learning strategies.


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