A unique feature of the Open Geography Textbook is the integration of Community Based Experiential Learning Activities.
The authors made it clear on Day 1 of the booksprint that they wanted to provide both students and faculty with activities that would add value to the world, activities that would not only utilize community-driven projects but use open educational resources and open source tools. David Wiley describes these value added activities or assignments as “Open Pedagogy“.
To give you an example of some of the Community Based Experiential Learning Activities that have evolved, here are some of the activities suggested from the chapter on Urban BC.
- Find a local urban issue that you are interested in. Research all sides of the argument. Write a blog post that explains a local issue of interest to you or your community. Make sure you situate it in the local history, and explain the implications of potential outcomes. Keep a journal about this issue.
- Create or add to a Wikipedia entry on this issue (remember to include your sources!)
- Visit Wikimapia or OpenStreetMaps, both are digital globes, find your neighborhood or the community in which you live. In this chapter we learned that places have multiple identities. Is your understanding of your neighborhood represented on the map? If not, add volunteered geographic information to the map to represent your understanding of place. Change the lines, add points of interest or of significance to your community on this open source online mapping platforms.
- Find a community group that is actively engaged with the issue. Act as a participant observer and volunteer your time and skills to create a product that the group will find useful. (e.g. a map, a history, a report, or an infographic).
- Ask a family member to create a sketch map of their day to day experiences. Ask them to identify places in their community that have changed over time. Ask them questions about areas that have either become more urban or have perhaps experienced urban decay.
This is just the start, more to come as the chapters evolve.