The spatialities of running a concurrent dissertation ‘bootcamp’

By Dr Matt Finn and Dr Laura Smith (University of Exeter, UK)

It was with some trepidation that we set out to run “concurrent” workshops, with some students on campus and others joining the same session online, for second year BA Geography students in preparation for their final year dissertations. Each year in the summer term, after assessment has finished, we run a two-week workshop called Research Planning Fortnight: Getting Dissertation Ready, that introduces the dissertation, and which serves as a transition and handover space between a research skills and methods training module, and the dissertation.

This was a workshop programme that we’d both collaborated on for a couple of years already—with Matt as convenor of the second-year research methods module, and Laura as convenor of the dissertation module. In the emergency conditions of 2020, we’d moved some material online, and embedded other content into the dissertation module in the autumn. For this year, we wanted to return as much as we could to our earlier collaborative and more interactive format. But with cautionary tales abounding from colleagues at other institutions of the challenges posed by ‘concurrent’ or ‘hy-flex’ teaching evolving along with the pandemic, we wondered whether we were being ambitious, or just overly optimistic.

The first week of the two-week block was structured around a series of two-hour workshops each morning. Rather than structuring these workshops on a day-by-day basis, we set out the themes we were going to cover across the week, but with a flexibility that meant we could pause for longer or shorter on particular themes as needed. This meant we could easily adapt and respond to student interests, queries, and questions.

Another blogpost here covers more about the practicalities of the sessions, and some student responses. In this post, we reflect on the workshops including a focus on questions about spatiality – the ways that spaces shape and are shaped by society.

Photo by Toni Koraza on Unsplash


One of the things that shaped our practice was a desire to make both ‘online’ and ‘on-campus’ spaces feel like equally legitimate learning spaces. We planned for an on-campus host (Matt) in the lecture theatre and an online host (Laura) on Zoom and we regularly passed conversation back and forward between us. This might not be feasible regularly in terms of staffing, but it was evident in student responses that this aided the sense that both spaces were equally important.

That both spaces are equally significant can sometimes be undermined by our language if we talk about virtual vs. real spaces, or online spaces as if they are distinct from physical spaces (Kinsley, 2014). While we avoided online vs. in person language (all learning is still embodied) we did still use online or on-campus. However, we realized this too didn’t reflect what was happening.

In fact, as we all used Padlet, and the Zoom chat, as a shared medium of interaction all students were ‘online’, not only those joining from other locations. In that sense, it was less a question of joining online or on-campus but joining on-campus or from other locations (such as student accommodation or wherever the student might be). This has important implications for understanding student choices about how they wanted to join in, and for technology use.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash


The various lockdowns and easings over the last 15 months have reinforced the particular sociality and sense of community offered by on-campus teaching. In planning the workshops, we wanted to incorporate and celebrate different forms of social learning. Students could choose, day-by-day, how and where they wanted to learn – with friends meeting up to walk together to the lecture theatre, as well as a chance to study amongst a larger group, while Zoom allowed students to learn as a household or bubble, or to fit the workshops more easily around other commitments. Zoom also allowed students not in Exeter to participate in the workshops. This flexibility was something that came through in student feedback as being particularly appreciated.

But it’s also important to remember that for some students, the pandemic has more severely interrupted or disrupted this sense of community, and so coming on to campus could be unsettling, if there are no friends nearby to go with, and with no collaborative or small group working in the workshops. The Zoom chat became the default space for conversations, asking questions, and sharing ideas and reflections.


Students joined in and from multiple spaces in a range of digitally mediated ways. An implication of this concerns the digital infrastructure that enables access to education in these ways, including that we recognize the digital inequalities in and between each space.

Previous comments from colleagues, and schoolteachers, focused on the challenge of the technology in the room from which the educator was teaching – whether camera, microphone(s) to pick up different speakers and sound. While investment is taking place in the physical infrastructure of rooms there is a need for it to be present and reliable, and matched by the know-how to use the equipment, understanding what it enables and constrains in terms of pedagogy. Together these form part of an institution’s digital culture.

Similarly, issues of wifi access in student accommodation was noted as a reason for one student to attend on campus, for another their laptop speaker had gone and they didn’t know if this would be a barrier to attending in person (it wasn’t as the Zoom audio came through the room’s speakers).

While full participation looks like it requires each student to have a device (certainly on campus) we can remember above that practices of learning together with shared devices means, lack of access to a device might be partially mitigated, and hidden, by watching with a fellow student. This means a student’s digital traces – or their absence – are not necessarily indicative of their individual engagement or lack of it. These inequalities remain a key issue.

Concluding thoughts

Our concurrent teaching went better than we had feared, and had positive, and thought-provoking, student feedback. It has made us think repeatedly about the spatiality of learning which has important implications for understanding learning as a socio-technical practice.

In looking to the future, if concurrent teaching becomes more typical, it does not remove but reconfigures some of the barriers to education, while opening up new forms of access.

Some students reflected that they had found online lectures, and pre-recorded lectures, to be very difficult to engage with and for them there was a relief in being able to attend on campus, while others had found the way learning materials had been packaged far more conducive to their learning and lives. For them, the option to continue learning in ways that didn’t require being in the lecture theatre were important.

While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, it seems important to us to continue to pay attention to the spatialities of learning, attentive to the opportunities and limitations new approaches bring.


Balancing Courage and Compassion in Research-Based Learning

By Helen Walkington (Oxford Brookes, UK)

In Tuesday’s ‘Environmental Hazard Management’ class, live on Zoom, I did a little experiment with my students. In one hand I held a juggling ball (new lockdown skill) and in the other a very ripe tomato. I said that developing resilience is a key concept in disaster management. I asked “If I squeeze the juggling ball and the tomato, which do you feel would best demonstrate a resilient response?” Of course, in wanting them to engage, I asked if they would like me to enact the thought ‘experiment’ (cereal bowl and kitchen roll under the desk at the ready). Once the juggling ball bounced back and the tomato went almost everywhere except the bowl, I made my point about the longevity of tomato seeds and different, sometimes unexpected types of resilience.

Image: Bowl of tomatoes (Credit: Dyer)

I suspect that I’m not alone in having chosen an academic career, at least in part, because I value autonomy. The freedom to pursue research that I find interesting, to advance a discipline that I feel passionate about, and to help share this journey with my undergraduate students is energising, even if it ends up being quite messy at times. In Higher Education we have a relatively high degree of control over how we provide learning opportunities to our students. When tasked with teaching ‘research methods’ for instance, we can choose whether to do this by providing lectures, or directing students through research projects so they can ‘learn by doing,’ or offering even greater freedom to learn by allowing students to take control of generating research questions, designing and carrying out investigations themselves. We probably deliver all three approaches progressively, as a team, across the course of a GEES programme. 

Working with students who are engaged in research, sometimes for the first time as undergraduates, is always going to be a careful balancing act. On the one hand, offering students the freedom to pose their own research questions, with the associated authenticity of potential failure, might be considered a courageous pedagogy. On the other hand, we have to consider how students might react to having made mistakes, and be compassionate as they grapple with the potential for creating new knowledge (either new to themselves or new to society) through discovery. Learning by doing research requires emotional investment and resilience, an experience which unites staff (faculty in the US) and students. We can perhaps empathise with students because we share this experience with them, even though we are in a different position, ultimately being judged on the way we communicate our research. For me the cognitive involvement, emotional buy-in and desire for students to succeed has shifted my practice of dissertation and independent study supervision into mentoring. I am acknowledging the ‘whole student’ (Hill et al , 2019).

This aligns very much with Thiry and Laursen (2011), who suggested that academic (faculty) mentors to undergraduate researchers perform three supportive roles: professional socialization, intellectual support and personal/emotional support. These complementary supports acknowledge the importance of working with students to explain why they are engaging in research, supporting their cognitive development, but also acknowledging their emotional needs. The need for a balance between courage and compassion in our practice is clear. However, add to this balancing act escalating concerns about declining levels of student wellbeing (IPPR, 2017) and we begin to appreciate the weight of responsibility for successfully maintaining the balance in our own practice between courageous pedagogy and compassionate pedagogy. Can we still judge securely how far we can draw students ‘to the edge of their ability’ (as one expert mentor put it) and challenge them, when they are self-isolating in student accommodation and can’t collect physical data, get onto campus or access the library? (Using a metaphor, maintaining this balance might feel like walking a tight rope, but if you’ve been working on your balance through yoga during lockdown, then let’s say it’s across Niagara gorge, just to make you feel more alive). By providing all three of Thiry and Laursen’s supports as a research mentor, we hope to open a productive, liminal space for contemplation to our student mentees. My hope is that my students will connect their learning and knowledge production to their values, personal sense of meaning, as well as their relationship to the world around them. 

Learning is an emotional journey, particularly in research mode. The research cycle throws up sticking points and challenges at different (usually inconvenient) times in the research process. (perhaps a large knot in the tightrope, or a sudden gust of wind). This doesn’t just impact our student mentees, but us as research mentors as well. While supervising research prioritises research products (e.g. the student’s dissertation, group report, journal article) and content (new geographical knowledge), mentoring personalises learning and makes it meaningful and important in shaping the learner’s own esteem and identity, which may impact career aspirations and life chances. 

The benefits of undergraduate research are well established for students, including the development of critical thinking, enhanced degree outcomes and student retention, making it a ‘high-impact practice’ (Kuh, 2008). It is not enough to just make students ‘do a dissertation,’ effective mentoring is central to accruing these benefits. Over the last five years, I’ve worked with a team of researchers to try to work out why, exploring specifically which types of mentoring practice are effective. Our large-scale literature review resulted in Ten Salient Practices (Shanahan, et al., 2015; and summarised in Table 1) which are effective regardless of national context, type of higher education institution or discipline. We’ve since completed 32 detailed research interviews on what award-winning mentors from around the world actually do, including strategies to engage students in research, retain their interest through appropriate challenge, and celebrate success (Walkington et al, 2019). One example is supporting students in publishing their research findings through, for example, research journals like GEOverse. Importantly, mentored research opportunities at undergraduate level have been found to confer particular benefits on underserved student groups (Finley and McNair, 2013). As they help all students to succeed, I would argue that these undergraduate research opportunities have the potential to enhance student wellbeing. Indeed, since effective mentoring of students involves getting to know them on a deeper level, recognising their work and valuing them as individuals, this knowledge of the ‘whole student’ is a fundamental underpinning of an inclusive approach. 

1.     Do strategic pre-planning in order to be ready to respond to students’ varying needs and abilities throughout the research process.
2.     Set clear and well-scaffolded expectations for undergraduate researchers.
3.     Teach the technical skills, methods, and techniques of conducting research in the discipline.
4.     Balance rigorous expectations with emotional support and appropriate personal interest in students.
5.     Build community among groups of undergraduate researchers and mentors, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and any other members of the research team.
6.     Dedicate time as well to one-on-one, hands-on mentoring.
7.     Increase student ownership of the research over time.
8.     Support students’ professional development through networking and explaining norms of the discipline.
9.     Create intentional, laddered opportunities for peers and “near peers” to learn mentoring skills and to bring larger numbers of undergraduates into scholarly opportunities.
10.      Encourage students to share their findings and provide guidance on how to do so effectively in oral and poster presentations and in writing.
Table 1: Ten Salient Practices of Undergraduate research mentoring (Shanahan, 2015; Walkington, 2019).

However, the Covid–19 pandemic threatens to challenge the benefits of research-based learning. An undergraduate Geography student, alongside a doctoral student and several faculty members have researched the impact of Covid-19 on access to (and thus the benefits from) undergraduate research opportunities. With data from 18 institutions in the USA, they found that COVID-19 reduced access to research experiences*, reduced student access to technology and specialist research spaces, as well as interrupted face to face mentoring (Trego et al. 2020). Clearly significant changes are required in approaches to data collection for it to remain safe for student researchers to continue to engage actively in research under these challenging circumstances. Understandably, in some instances there are topics that universities have declared ‘off limits’ due to their sensitivity. However, it is still possible to mentor students. It is possible to connect to students and provide the three forms of support that Thiry and Laursen outlined. 

To be resilient to unexpected changes, such as Covid-19 has posed, we need to embed research experiences that are inclusive of all students within the curriculum, rather than having selective research opportunities at risk from (hopefully!) short term changes in circumstances. We can democratise engagement with research and make it an entitlement, but to ensure effective learning outcomes for each and every student, we have to demonstrate our pedagogic resilience through a commitment to the ongoing balancing act of courage and compassion.

*In the US research opportunities for undergraduates are sometimes embedded in the curriculum, but are also provided as co-curricular opportunities such as summer projects.


Finley, A. and McNair, T. (2013) Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-Impact Practices. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Hill, J., Walkington, H. and Dyer, S. (2019) Teaching, learning, and Assessing in Geography: foundations for the future, in Walkington, H. Hill, J., and Dyer, S. (eds) Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA Edward Elgar Publishing pp. 474-484.

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) (2017) “Not by degrees: improving student mental health in the UK’s universities.” Available at [Accessed on 12/05/20]

Shanahan, J., Ackley-Holbrook, E., Hall, E., Stewart, K., and Walkington, H. 2015. Salient Practices of Undergraduate Research Mentors: A Review of the Literature. Mentoring and Tutoring 23 (5), 359-376. 

Thiry, H., and Laursen, S. L. (2011) “The role of student–advisor interactions in apprenticing undergraduate researchers into a scientific community of practice.” Journal of Science Education and Technology 20, 771–784.

Trego, S., Nadybal, S., Grineski, S, Collins, T and Morales, D. (2020) ‘Initial impacts of Covid-19 on Undergraduate researchers at US universities.’ [online] accessed from:

Walkington, H., Griffin, A. L., Keys-Mathews, L., Metoyer, S. K., Miller, W. E., Baker, R., &    France, D. (2011) Embedding Research-Based Learning Early in the Undergraduate Geography Curriculum. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35(3), 315-330. 

Walkington, H., Stewart, K., Hall, E., Ackley, E and Shanahan, J.O. (2020) Salient practices of award-winning undergraduate research mentors – balancing freedom and control to achieve excellence. Studies in Higher Education 45, 1519-1532.

Virtually in the Field

Dr Lynda Yorke, Bangor University.

Geography by its very nature is a field-based discipline. However, as the new academic year has begun there have been increasing concerns about the practicalities of undertaking in person field teaching, and both staff and students have health issues that prevent them from participating with in person teaching.  Potential conflict exists between ‘town and gown’, with locals wary of students that may be Covid positive. Taking a group of socially distanced students into the field can require multiple re-runs for staff because group numbers are limited by Government regulations. Thus, a virtual alternative can remove these issues.

Inclusive for all

In the last six months there has been a greater debate about Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) in Geosciences field teaching. There is recognition that under our existing teaching practices the very nature of field teaching can be exclusive. How do you create parity of experience if the alternative to going in the field is simply writing an essay and not participating in the data collection nor the field report your peers are undertaking? It is telling that the pandemic is forcing a long overdue shift in our approach to delivering field teaching that is inclusive and accessible for all. A synchronously delivered, virtual field trip or course enables all students to have the same experiences in real time and in essence does not exclude* anyone.

StoryMaps and Google Earth for Remote Teaching

At my institution I run several locally based field days in Semester 1. Due to my own health risks I am not in person teaching so I needed to develop new alternatives to traditional delivery. This has come in the form of StoryMaps, which is an ESRI product available through ArcGIS Online, and Google Earth. The premise was simple, I wanted to recreate the feeling on being on the ground and in the field, whilst teaching remotely.

Geographical field work is about making observations, collecting data and teamwork. My virtual, remote alternative provided all those aspects. I combined StoryMaps and Google Earth to create an interactive package for my students to engage with. I used the web version of Google Earth (GE) to create a project that combined GE’s aerial and Street View imagery with place markers, lines and shapes, with additional videos and contextual notes. Once the project (series of slides) was created I was able to export the project as a .KML file. Students could add the .kml file into an open GE window and view it via the Present mode. This works best with GE for the web; Google will be discontinuing the GE Pro in the next few years. I used only a fraction of the capabilities available within GE that could be included for enhanced remote teaching, see Google Earth Outreach.   

Screenshot of the Google Earth project.

To complement the GE project, StoryMaps allowed me to create a story comprising existing field work content to create activities for students to work through. In StoryMaps I created a series of slides that contained basic maps (created in ArcGIS), clickable data (NRW Flood Risk Maps) and embedded videos/images. The StoryMap I created included the academic content in the form of brief notes, embedded links to short articles, and associated questions or tasks. This worked particularly well with links to data sources like the National River Flow Archive, where the students could extract data and work on it during the breakout group sessions. To access the StoryMap, students only needed to log in via our institutional URL. StoryMaps can be published in the public domain but I have kept this within my institution. There are many options with StoryMaps, see ArcGIS for virtual field trips.  

Screenshot of the StoryMap with the embedded link to NRW Flood Risk Maps for Wales.

Timetable the Day

The virtual field day was spilt into discrete sessions, combining whole cohort teaching or discussion, with group breakout activities and external speakers. Approximate timings were given for each session ahead of the trip, and a scheduled lunch break was included as time away from the screen is vital.

The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

I ran the virtual field trip via Blackboard Collaborate. This allowed for group interaction as well as breakout group activities. It also enabled me (the moderator) to join any of the breakout groups. This was prefect for emulating lecturer/student interactions in the field. In smaller groups, students switched their cameras on and interacted more naturally. As the day progressed, students gained in confidence and were actively speaking out rather than contributing via the chat box. However, the students really liked the ability to ask questions via the chat box.

Issues and Reflections

The principles of good pedagogy must remain in place when designing a virtual field trip. Thus, thinking about the audience, their capabilities and the learning outcomes are a must. Time at the start of the session should be dedicated to unfamiliarity with software. Students using Macs needed to run Google Chrome to access ArcGIS online. I needed a Google account to create the GE project.

Consideration must be given to connectivity issues, and the need for students to access a laptop/PC. Digital inequality is a significant barrier to online delivery. However, running a virtual trip can mean 100% inclusivity* for all participants. Students highlighted wi-fi connectivity varied between student houses meaning sometimes interaction was not always easy. However, they liked being able to request staff help at the click of a button!

The students can re-visit the trip at any point during the module because the materials remain on the VLE. Students highlighted that they had a positive experience, and it was a good substitute under the current circumstances.

Finally, students found it easier to understand the key information through the supporting materials. They liked the fact they could simultaneously interact with online data and resources, whilst also listening to staff insights on the topic.

* I fully acknowledge that there is digital exclusion as we pivot to online delivery.

Recasting the human geography dissertation in lockdown

by Dr. Laura Smith, University of Exeter

The Coronavirus lockdown has greatly disrupted the research ideas and plans of undergraduate geographers. It has also recast, for many students, what ‘fieldwork,’ ‘research,’ and ‘data’ looks like. This is my second year as convenor of Exeter Geography’s B.A. Dissertation module, and while many fundamental aspects of the module remain familiar, much has had to change. The dissertation module has undergone a substantial overhaul over the summer, in response to the shifting research dynamics imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pre-pandemic, a small group of us were already meeting as a departmental Dissertation Working Group to review the human geography dissertation modules (Exeter Geography offers both a 45-credit and a 30-credit dissertation module), but that review was soon repurposed around discussions on how to navigate and negotiate undergraduate geography research in an escalating pandemic, with social distancing protocols and lockdown orders. The overhaul began at the close of Term 3, after the spring exam period. The final two weeks of term in the Year 2 B.A. Geography calendar are usually set aside for ‘Research Planning Fortnight: Getting Dissertation Ready’—a transition space for students to begin exploring dissertation research ideas, and to submit (and receive feedback on) a dissertation proposal before the summer vacation. It’s also an informal handover between the Year 2 module, GEO2328 Geographies of Consumption: Doing Human Geography Research (convened by Dr. Matt Finn) which also introduces (and does some of the earliest work in setting up) the dissertation, and the Year 3 modules GEO3311/GEO3312 B.A. Dissertation that I lead on. But the lockdown summer of 2020 meant that even an online Research Planning Fortnight had to be postponed. Ongoing uncertainty about just what the dissertation and ‘dissertation research’ (and dissertation support) might look like by September, and a careful effort to ensure consistency and coherence in our correspondence with students, together with a challenging extended summer assessment and marking period, all fed into pausing the fortnight’s sessions and activities. The summer also saw the department introduce a short set of research restrictions for all human geography dissertations completed in the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • No face-to-face research
  • No travel or visits as part of your research
  • No research that involves live participants. This means no interviews, focus groups, or surveys (online, by phone, or by post), and no ethnographic encounters that involve other participants
  • No research should take the current Coronavirus pandemic as its focus or primary context

We pushed the content—and ethos—of the Research Planning Fortnight into Term 1 of Year 3, embedding it into the start of the B.A. Dissertation module delivery. The dissertation proposal submission still went ahead as planned, and students still received feedback from dissertation advisors, but follow-up conversations with advisors, and all summer ‘research’ (and ethics approval), was pushed until the start of the new academic year. It’s not unusual for students to begin their dissertation research at the start of the autumn term—if summer vacations are filled with combinations of holidays/travel, summer jobs, work placements or internships, sport, caring and family (or other) commitments, or if the nature of their research project requires students to be on campus/in Exeter, or if students change their dissertation idea. What is unusual is that for this year, the autumn term signals a universal start for our dissertation cohort. A module-level ethics application was submitted and approved by the department’s research ethics committee over the summer, and students must now only use the methods/materials outlined (and pre-approved) in the new Ethics Pack. The sample of past dissertations that we’ve made available all demonstrate the revised methods, materials, and analysis that students will be working with this year, even though the earlier research conditions were very different.

The University of Exeter has committed to a mix of synchronous (e.g. ‘live,’ whether on campus or online) and asynchronous (or ‘Anytime Anywhere,’ e.g. pre-recorded) module delivery and learning. The human geography dissertation module is usually delivered through fortnightly dissertation tutorials across Terms 1 and 2 (with the dissertation submitted at the end of Term 2), and a short series of lectures in Term 1 to support students in working through the different stages of a dissertation research project. This year, we’ve expanded and reconfigured the ‘lecture’ provision around a fortnightly set of online resources and activities that alternates with an online dissertation tutorial programme (which has also expanded).

Over the course of the first term, students will work through collections of online materials that variously explore: Selecting a Topic or Finding a Puzzle, Literature, Sourcing Materials and Analysis (Quantitative and Qualitative), Employability and Your Dissertation, and Writing Up Your Dissertation, together with Ethics and Risk Assessment tasks. This sits alongside a research timetable template that tentatively recommends that students use Weeks 1-6 of Term 1 to focus on refining their topic, research questions, and research approach, and Weeks 7-12 to move on to gathering research materials, preparing materials for analysis, and maybe beginning to develop their analysis. In Term 2, the focus will shift to drafting, redrafting, and writing up.

Figure 1. GEO3311/GEO3312 Week 2: Selecting a Topic or Finding a Puzzle online resources and activities.

Although led by different human geography academics, each of these packs of resources and activities follows the same format and rhythm—each section begins with a ‘Coming up this week…’ summary, and a ‘What should I do this week?’ introduction and checklist, followed by a short video capsule to introduce the ‘big questions’ and things to think critically about,[i] a ‘How do I…’ curated reading list that invites students to select one text to explore in more detail (whether individually, or collectively in their dissertation tutor groups), and a practical activity that encourages students to translate and apply some of these principles to their own evolving research projects. The completed activities can then be incorporated into tutorial discussions the next week. There are also opportunities for feedback and review on the module, with three online Q&A sessions scheduled throughout the term.

I’m excited to see how the module unfolds this year. And I cannot wait to see the dissertation research projects that emerge.

[i] Many of the videos and curated reading lists were originally produced by Dr. Matt Finn for GEO2328, as part of his 2019-2020 Exeter Education Incubator project, ‘Online resources and narrowcasting the curriculum.’

The Online Transition in HE

By James Flanders (City University, London) and Maddy Thompson (Keele)

In March, most Universities announced an end to on-campus teaching. Drawing on our differing experiences as a final year student (James) and lecturer (Maddy) doing a Geographies of Digital Health module, we reflect on some of the critical challenges and opportunities that this swift transition has created. Despite our differing experiences, we hope our overall reflection will be useful to students and staff embarking on or returning to online teaching.

The Perils of the Digital

Coincidentally, the transition to online teaching began with a lecture on Digital Health geographies. Previous planning dictated that this would include an interactive activity with students communicating via digital technologies to produce a presentation from opposite ends of a lecture hall to experience distanced health. The need for students to go online made this a more realistic experience. Figure 1 illustrates the students’ reflections on distanced and digital work. The issues and opportunities identified are applicable to our broader experiences of online teaching. Here we focus on communication and technology.

Figure 1: Slide produced by GEO3151 Geographies of Health students at Newcastle University March 2020

Communicating Online

As the Geographies of Health students identified, online communication is complicated. More communication is required to make up for what is lost without face-to-face interaction. This meant more emails. We both felt compelled to have push notifications on 24/7 to prevent email build-up and inevitable confusion. Online teaching makes it harder for students and staff to ‘switch off’.

Online communication in teaching settings creates additional problems. For example, Maddy’s early lectures over-ran. She was more concerned with speaking slowly and repeating key points where she would usually have gestured. Online communication requires additional time to communicate the content; hence, there is less time for content.

If students can easily switch between the lecture and external information (websites, videos, quizzes, etc.), then less content is required in lecture form. James, with a laptop and tablet, was able to easily view the lecture on one screen and take notes and undertake research on his other (see Figure 2). Students confined to using a single device cannot. We both firmly believe that universities should provide complimentary tablets/laptops to students who enrol. To give all students a better opportunity to engage with online teaching equally.

Figure 2: James’ laptop screen set up – he watched recordings on a tablet device

Pre-recorded lectures may be attractive for many staff and reduce the risk of over-running, but for James and his peers, live lectures are essential to maintain motivation and a sense of ‘being there’. Maddy also found the live lectures preferable for this reason, particularly as she was able to gauge understanding through using the ‘react’ option on Microsoft Teams chat (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Example of a message posted by Maddy in Teams chat to check student understanding

In some sessions, we shared open dialogue at the end of each lecture. This allowed us to have a friendly and unstructured discussion between ourselves. Due to the unprecedented times, this was beneficial to restore a bit of normality in the storm. However, while James had the technology available to go on video, others did not.

Issues of privacy and accessibility meant students had a choice to be on camera, and chat functions were used for discussion. This necessitates multiple forms of conversation, and for Maddy as moderator, created additional challenges. It is easy to prioritise students that can be seen and heard, but care should be taken to ensure this does not happen. For students like James, who were willing and able to share an insight into their home lives, these discussions were more enriching than talking in lecture halls. However, lower engagement reduces the chance of diverse opinions from entering the teaching space.

Interestingly, many issues disappeared in one-to-one video calls. These more personal meetings provided a greater sense of normality as we could focus on body language and engage in natural forms of speaking. Furthermore, there are fewer connectivity issues with fewer people on a call, mainly as smartphones can be used. Students were much more likely to use video in this smaller setting.

The transition to online teaching necessitated a steep technological learning curve for us both, particularly due to the multiple options available and lack of planning time to plan. Maddy used various options as university preferences changed, but James was subjected to countless more across different modules. Innovative forms of online teaching are additional things for students to learn. They can quickly become a technological burden.

Additionally, while our experiences were mostly trouble-free, key issues on accessibility and engagement arose. It became clear that Zoom is smoother than Microsoft Teams, less likely to be impacted by poor connectivity. The features of Teams, however, are better suited for group work, and the slide above was produced via students in chat groups. As groups could call in Maddy and other teaching staff, it also helps produce a feeling of normality.

The future of HE Geography teaching

Covid-19 has created striking new norms and associated challenges. Our experiences highlight two overarching concerns universities and teaching staff must address to ensure equality in learning and teaching.

  • More uniformity among online teaching across modules, courses, and universities.
    • This reduces the demands of training for both staff and students and reduces complexity in learning and teaching environments.
    • Teaching staff should also consider their own technological practices to avoid over-burdening students for innovation’s sake.

  • Universities must provide students with additional technology to ensure that those confined to single devices are not excluded from learning opportunities.
    • As online communication is more time consuming and creates additional challenges relating to equality, diversity and inclusion for students, staff need to ensure their teaching practices (such as in group discussion) are inclusive.

Six months on: What does compassionate and courageous pedagogy look like now?

By Sarah Dyer (Exeter), Helen Walkington (Oxford Brookes), and Jennifer Hill (Gloucestershire)

The Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography, published in December 2019, ends with a synthesising chapter proposing four principles with which to build strong foundations for the future of geography higher education: entering pedagogic borderlands; embracing partnership working; acknowledging the whole student (which includes embracing compassionate pedagogies); and adopting courageous pedagogies (Hill, et al., 2019). [For a summary, see this blog post; the chapter itself is open access and can be found here].

As we write in summer 2020, the need for the compassionate and courageous pedagogies argued for in the Handbook could not be more pressing. However, the aspiration of building strong foundations feels, just now, like it comes from another world. In the seismic biological, economic, social, and cultural shocks of this global pandemic, we are experiencing a liquefaction of the earth beneath our feet. In this moment we wish to pause and reflect, using what we wrote less than a year ago as our prompt. Our reflections coalesce around three questions. We set these out below in the hope of inviting you into a conversation. We believe that, as a community of geography educators, we need to collectively discuss what a compassionate and courageous pedagogy looks like now.

Question 1) How might we navigate disruption to create learning spaces as pedagogic borderlands in the coming academic year?

In the Handbook, authors discuss the productivity of pedagogic borderlands, spaces of “novelty and ambiguity (that) offer challenge to student and faculty…….. (which) are liminal, operating as a transition between secure knowledge and new understanding” (Hill et al, 2019; p.475). In the academic year 2020/21 all teaching and learning spaces will be novel and ambiguous. Faculty and students will be learning together in these spaces in all sorts of as-yet-undetermined ways. This has the potential to create “the process of joint working between students alone and with faculty, sharing inherent risks and rewards, but leading ultimately to enhancement for all concerned” (Hill et al. 2016, 375). However, as we noted in the conclusion of the Handbook no space is automatically a pedagogic borderland space. The question we want to pose here is, how can we work to ensure that navigating the ‘unpredictable’, ‘messy’, and ‘confusing’ learning spaces of 2020/21 is productive; that we are able to create the conditions for learning that builds empathy and understanding?

In the spring of 2020, many academics managed what has been called an online pivot, quickly moving teaching online. Over the summer, faculty are assessing what they learnt, trying out new software, and redesigning courses all in the context of uncertainty about what the academic year 2020/21 will look like.

Many of us are being asked to plan for being back on reconfigured campuses. Our lecture halls, seminar rooms, labs, and fieldtrips will not be the same (McClure, 2020). We will need to navigate uncertainty; how different intuitions and individuals construct and practice ‘Covid secure’ will be ambiguous for some time, and will require us to engage with colleagues and students holistically, respecting their embodied emotional experiences of university, as well as their roles and responsibilities – their lives – beyond campus.

A heavy reliance on online educational spaces will be novel for most of faculty and many of our students too. As educators we must step out of our comfort zones and experiment; be willing to feel vulnerable. We will experience – and have the opportunity to model – the discomfort of learning that we routinely ask of our students. Developing the skills we will need to teach online seems the least of it though. To create a pedagogic borderland we have to negotiate cultures and ways of being in online education environments. Ours is the challenge to use the affordances of online spaces to build inclusive and emancipatory cultures of learning.

New educational spaces (Credit: Sarah Dyer)

Question 2) What does it mean to be hospitable as educators?

Our second question extends the first. In the Handbook, our authors call for a number of qualities in education. These include resisting traditional academic hierarchies as we choose to work in partnership with students and others. They argue we must acknowledge the ‘whole student’, recognising, and indeed welcoming, both the emotional aspect of learning and the diversity of experiences students bring with them.  Such a commitment to compassionate pedagogy entails a willingness to “explore and share excitement, insight, passion, vulnerability…” and “embraces the idea of hospitality in teaching and learning (p.480). The authors recognise too that faculty must be courageous as educators in the context of working environments which lead to ‘pedagogic frailty’ (Kinchin et al., 2016 cited on p.481). Compassion, courage, and hospitality, to support students’ transformative learning are needed now more than ever. And yet, conversely, they are also more at risk.

In the coming academic year, we will not (yet) be at home in our new educational spaces ourselves and the challenge of being hospitable (p.481) to others may be weighty. All of us, even the most experienced online educators amongst us, must configure learning spaces in the context of a world with heightened insecurity and anxiety. We know the pandemic has been experienced diversely and has exacerbated existing inequalities. How, in the face of psychological and existential unease, can we create the sense of security needed to learn?

We will be learning and teaching, at least in part, in each other’s homes. For most this is unchartered territory. What does it mean to teach with other (unknown) people present? What can we safely assume about students’ ability to access these educational spaces, or their safety to participate/speak once they have ‘joined’? How can we practice hospitality, meshed as we will be in each other’s domestic and personal space?

We know that students arrive in HE with different senses of belonging aligned with class, ethnicity, and family background. All students are more likely to experience learning spaces as novel and confusing. Most won’t have had any formal teaching for many months. All will need our welcome more than ever. Our effectiveness at extending our welcome, particularly to those who do not feel welcome or ‘at home’ in HE, will be heightened as a political, as well as pedagogic, act.

Hospitality is the (desirable) relations between a host and their guests. It entrusts educators to be welcoming and generous, with the hope of helping students to feel comfortable enough to learn. We need to value the role hospitality can play in learning but be wary of valorising it. We know from the hospitality industry that workers can be experiencing precarity and insecurity themselves, yet still be able create a feeling of welcome. We know too from the study of hospitality and the work of care that this type of work is systematically de-valued. As this comparison suggests, it will be important to vocalise and make visible both hospitality and care not only as pedagogy but also as labour, not least because we need to be attentive to who does this work and for what reward (Dyer et al, 2016).

Question 3) How can we be courageous as educators?

The coming year will require courage. We will face multiple, sometimes competing, demands from institutions, students and their families, the media, governments, and regulators. At times, what is good education won’t always seem, to these stakeholders, to resemble good education or ‘value for money’. In the face of these expectations and the ambiguities about how they will play out, there will be a temptation to play it safe, to provide an education which looks as similar as possible to previous years’.

Being courageous will mean challenging ingrained practices and tropes. Kinchin et al (2016; p.1) argue that universities are places of ‘pedagogic frailty’, where accountability and labour restructuring have led to a lack of adaptive capacity. Pedagogic frailty manifests itself in a retreat to conservatism and authoritarianism in teaching, and a fear of true dialogue with students. Institutions respond to student dissatisfaction and challenge with a requirement for educators to “just do more and do it faster” (p.4). Even in 2016 Kinchin el al (p.4) identified “relatively minor events” could cause real problems in fragile systems. Clearly, the situation we face now is anything but minor.

Being clear of the need to be courageous as educators helps focus our minds on both the risks and the costs. We need to be courageous at a point when many of us are exhausted and beset by uncertainty. We will need to decide which actions are courageous and which are foolhardy, making assessments about the risks and the costs of courage. We believe that the proper response is to insist that the courage we need is a collective, rather than an individual endeavour, one wedded to a care for each other and our students. So we ask, does that ring true for others, and if so, what might it look like in practice?

And finally, we have the sense that these are questions which could provide a structure to the conversations we think we need to have. The challenges we face are collective, as well as individual ones. We want to move beyond ‘pandemic platitudes’ and explore what has changed, what persists, what that means for both our identity and practices as educators. There may be other pressing questions that we have missed. We would welcome responses in the form of blog posts. These might respond to the questions above or identify other questions that need to be addressed. We see the need to address these questions both in the abstract and at a very practical level too. How can we be hospitable and welcoming in any particular session, is just as important question as we plan for the coming academic year, as more abstract consideration of hospitality.

If you are interested in responding to this blog, please contact Sarah Dyer with submissions. We will also be discussing ‘courageous and compassionate pedagogies’ in a workshop run by the SRHE on 18th November and will likely be organising a session at the next RGS annual conference.

Dyer, S., Walkington, H., Williams, R., Morton, K. and Wyse, S. (2016) Shifting landscapes: from coalface to quick sand? Teaching Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences in Higher Education Area 48(3), pp.308-316.

Hill, J., Walkington, H. and Dyer, S. (2019) Teaching, learning, and Assessing in Geography: foundations for the future in Walkington, H. Hill, J., and Dyer, S. (eds) Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA Edward Elgar Publishing pp. 474-484. [Accessed 25th July 2020 at ]

Kinchin, I.M., Alpay, E., Curtis, K., Franklin, J., Rivers C. and Winstone, N.E. (2016) Charting the elements of pedagogic frailty, Educational Research, 58:1, 1-23, DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2015.1129115

McClure, C. (2020) Experiencing COVID-Style Classroom Teaching Inside Higher Ed [Accessed 29th July 2020 at ]

Blue Snowballs, beds and the importance of student feedback: early reflections on what works (and what doesn’t) when delivering blended learning.

By Prof. Simon Tate, Newcastle University

Each July I deliver the Geography PARTNERS programme at Newcastle University. It’s our summer school for non-traditional (widening participation) students. Normally, it’s a week of lectures, seminars, fieldwork and lab classes as we explore changing water quality on the River Tyne. This year, it was to be my first foray into the world of online teaching and blended learning.

The university told us in advance that most of the sessions needed to be asynchronous, online delivery (which is the term Newcastle University now use for pre-recorded lectures). To get started with this, I produced my PowerPoint slides as normal, working on the assumption of a standard one-hour per session. I then chopped up the slides into four different PowerPoint files, reckoning that it would take me about 15 minutes to talk through each. The little I had read about online teaching suggested that asynchronous, online delivery is best when kept brief – maybe 15-20 minutes of the lecturer talking; then some structured reading or active learning task; followed by another 15-20 minutes of mini-lecture; before another task; etc. The consensus seemed to be that this promoted engagement and active learning, as it is difficult for students to concentrate for a long time when learning online.

Tate desk picture

Image of workspace (credit: Simon Tate)

Next, I used the “record slide show” function of PowerPoint to talk over the first set of slides in the style of a lecture. This records the audio into the PowerPoint file, so I saved the file and listened to it back. My God, it sounded boring! And my voice sounded distant, like I’d recorded it in the loo. Slightly panicked, I listened to some lectures I’ve given on campus in the months before lockdown. These had been recorded using the Panopto system to which Newcastle University subscribes and sounded entirely different. Leaving to one side that Mackem wouldn’t be the BBC’s accent of choice for recordings, they sounded much more engaging and livelier. I reflected that I need get into the habit of listening back to more of my lectures. I also noticed that something about delivering the content into my laptop, from the spare bedroom at home, had entirely changed the “feel” of the delivery, compared to being in a lecture theatre. It was also clear that the microphone on my five-year-old laptop wasn’t up to the task.

The microphone problem was easy fixed – I bought an external USB microphone called a Blue Snowball, which after a bit of research I discovered to be the “affordable” microphone of choice amongst YouTube influencers. At the time of writing, it is still TBC whether my university will pay for it.

Sounding more interesting, proved a more challenging problem. With hindsight I’ve no idea why I thought this, but my first solution was to save the PowerPoint file as a Windows media file (.wmv) and use Microsoft Movie Maker to add some music underneath my voice. In broadcasting it’s called a “bed” and I think I hoped this might somehow “jazz up” the listening experience for students. My partner confirmed my worst fears – it was distracting and made the lecture sound a bit closer to amateur radio than I think either of us would have liked!

The breakthrough, as so often, came from my students. More recent versions of PowerPoint offer the option for the person recording the audio to appear “in vision” in the bottom corner of the slides. Switching this functionality on, so that the students can see who is talking, apparently really helps students to engage with the content. Apparently, it also makes the very different intonation that comes from talking while sitting at a desk sound conversational and personal, rather than boring. I tried it and the class liked it. The other surprise was that students were happy for me to re-use sections of last year’s Panopto recordings, where the content didn’t need updating. They were clear that just playing back all of last year’s recordings wouldn’t be great, but we’re also realistic enough to know that not every lecture is written from scratch every year –  the occasional 15-minute section from a lecture delivered on campus in 2018-19 didn’t cause too many concerns.

So, PARTNERS’ week was like no other and I learned a lot that I will take into the academic year ahead. It also left me enthused about what is to come and the opportunities it will afford to explore new ways of teaching and learning. I guess what I’ve figured out so far can be summarised as follows.


  1. talk too quickly.
  2. talk for too long.
  3. be alarmed if you sound more boring than you are expecting to when delivering asynchronous lectures!


  1. use the “in-vision” function of PowerPoint so that students can see who is talking to them.
  2. use a good quality microphone.
  3. get into the habit of listening back to recordings of lectures to see how they sound.
  4. listen to students even more than usual and consider them partners as we collaboratively try to figure out how best to teach and learn online. At the very least, their feedback on what works and what doesn’t will be vital in the year ahead.

How ‘many tools’ can make the virtual more human.

By Sarah Dyer

How can we make the virtual more human? Like many I have been thinking through this challenge and experimenting with different approaches. This blog by Farjardo has been really helpful to me. It made sense of some of the experiences I have had and prompted many more ideas. Farjardo call, for us to try two software tools in combination, helped me understand the generative and energising experience of synchronous collaborative writing (more than one person writing in the same document, at the same time, during a video meeting). I have scheduled collaborative writing as one part of a virtual writing retreat and Lisa Harris and I ‘flipped’ a conference presentation and used the scheduled time with participants to write together. In both cases it was such a powerful technique.

In teaching, I have found multiple tools works well too. It has been useful to ‘scaffold’ the use of the different tools. This has included participants adding their names to a shared google document to create a schedule early on in a workshop where they later wrote together; an ice-breaker using the chat function to support the use of chat during discussions later in the class; and individual pre-workshop work on a Mural to introduce the workspace they then also used for small group brain-storming.

In moving online we often hear that assertion that is should be ‘pedagogy first’. It is true that how we can best achieve learning aims must always determine the choices we make about tools. However, I have also found that experimenting with tools, and thinking through the experiences of their affordances, opens up some really exciting pedagogic opportunities. Maybe we should say ‘Pedagogy first… but experiment with using different – and many – tools before that’. Not as catchy, I realise.

Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography: Foundations for the future

by Sarah Dyer, Jenny Hill, and Helen Walkington

In the final chapter of the Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography we, the editors, propose four principles in which to ground university geography education for the future (Hill, Walkington, Dyer; 2019). These principles emerge from a synthesis of the discussion, evidence, and debate in the preceding 32 thematic chapters of the volume. The principles are: 1. Entering the pedagogic borderland; 2. Embracing partnership working; 3. Acknowledging the whole student; and, 4. Adopting courageous pedagogies. The full chapter is open access and can be found here.

1. Entering the pedagogic borderland

Pedagogic borderlands are unfamiliar educational spaces whose ‘novelty and ambiguity’ (p. 475) support transformative learning. These might be spaces which are new to us and our students or they may be traditional educational spaces which we use in new ways. They might be curricular or extra-curricular; physical, digital, or even metaphorical. Examples of borderland spaces include, the field, undergraduate research conferences, and peer-mentoring spaces. No space is necessarily a borderland space. What is important is that these spaces are used to enable genuine dialogue between educators and students to unsettle traditional hierarchies. Our authors discuss the need for us as geography educators to create pedagogic borderlands, what they look like in practice, and how to support students in such spaces. Collectively we see that through navigating these spaces, our students are prompted to develop their own personally-meaningful ways of knowing the world and themselves, along with their self-efficacy and self-regulation. We learn through the chapters in the Handbook the power of constituting educational space ontologically, epistemologically, and practically as borderland ‘contact zones’.

2. Embracing partnership working

Partnership working signals a move away from faculty-centred education. It forefronts both the student and how learning is co-created. Working together in a more equal way supports meaningful engagement in teaching and learning by students and faculty. Often partnership working also includes others too, such as community organisations or employers. Authors in the Handbook demonstrate in their case studies the increase in students’ motivation, confidence, and sense of intellectual agency which these relationships bring, as well as building their impact on students’ sense of their academic identity and sense of belonging (p.477). Partnership working between faculty and students can contribute to creating a pedagogic borderland. Partnership working with people and organisations beyond the university has huge potential for our students to learn and apply geography in authentic settings. In doing so educators support students to develop a potent combination of geographic skills and knowledge, what can be thought of as ‘geo-capabilities’ to advance human capabilities, wellbeing and agency (Walkington et al; 2018).

3. Acknowledging the whole student

The third principle  focuses our attention both on what we hope to achieve as educators and what our students require to be able to  learn effectively. Our authors are interested in students learning to make sense of the world, but also contributing to solving pressing social and environmental challenges. Developing geographic understanding is necessary but not sufficient to do so and we must engage with our students’ emotions, values, and skills too.

Acknowledging the whole student also directs our attention to what supports learning. No one learns well when they feel unsafe, unrecognised, or devalued. As such, we must deliberately design learning environments; classrooms, fieldtrips, and online spaces; with an understanding of how to support positive learning communities and scaffold engagement, as well as working in partnership. We must also acknowledge a tension: learning requires we move beyond what is familiar and comfortable, for example through navigating pedagogic borderlands, heightening the need for care and respect. As educators we must acknowledge the contexts we teach in where we see a huge increase in mental ill-health and poor well-being. In this context, and recognising that we ourselves create discomfort by inviting students into pedagogic borderlands, we identify the pedagogies of compassion (p.480) that authors in the Handbook propose. Such pedagogies  create welcome and foster feelings of belonging, where we invite our students as people, with emotions, values, and lives before and outside the university, into learning spaces

4. Adopting courageous pedagogies.

The final principle identified throughout the variety of the Handbook is that of adopting courageous pedagogies. This principle responds to our experiences of increasing intensification of university-work and/or accountability regimes that creates a pressure to play it safe. It calls for us as educators to consciously create education that is creative and challenging, to reflect on and evaluate, and to iterate. This call for courageous pedagogy recognises that the transformative learning we want for our students is not inevitable and requires that we, as well as our students, take risks and move beyond what is comfortable.

The four interconnected principles are threads which connect the wealth of discussion and evidence presented from a huge variety of contexts. In their chapters, each author provides contextualised nuance, thoughtful analysis, and useful resources to inform your own education practice. The principles unite our authors, along with their commitment to building geographical learning that is transformative, as a powerful international community of geography educators.


Walkington, H., Hill, J. and Dyer, S (2019) ‘Contents page’ in Walkington, H. Hill, J., and Dyer, S. (eds) Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA pp.v-vii Edward Elgar Publishing pp. 474-484. [Accessed 25th July 2020 at ]

Hill, J., Walkington, H. and Dyer, S. (2019) ‘Teaching, learning, and Assessing in Geography: foundations for the future’ in Walkington, H. Hill, J., and Dyer, S. (eds) Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA Edward Elgar Publishing pp. 474-484. [Accessed 25th July 2020 at ]

Walkington, H., Dyer, S., Solem, M., Haigh, M. and Waddington, S. (2018) ‘A capabilities approach to higher education: geocapabilities and implications for geography curricula’ Journal of Geography in Higher Education 42 (1), pp. 7-24.


Students As Change Agents: Exeter Geography hosts Missing Maps

University of Exeter staff and students hosted a mapathon in partnership with The British Red Cross to map the most vulnerable places in the world. Students put mapping skills to use in order to act as change agents and contribute to the worlds largest digital humanitarian aid effort! A story map version of this blog post can be viewed here:


IMG_8817Dannen Cowling, our SSLC chair introducing the mapathon.

The students as change agents project had 2 main aims: (i) to optimise the mapping relief at mapathons and encourage more people to contribute and (ii) inform the volunteers of the various career opportunities in mapping and GIS. Both aims were achieved by inviting Exeter Geography alumni Becca Ketley, researcher and Red Cross volunteer to deliver a keynote speech on how her GIS training in Exeter Geography led to her current role. The Geography Student Staff Liaison Chair, Daneen Cowling also welcomed everyone to the mapathon and introduced the evenings project.

The mapathon was mapping the Kurigram District in Bangladesh in order to effectively implement disaster risk reduction activities, to enhance resilience to future floods. To get an understanding of the area and the impact of the mapathon projects explore this spyglass map showing the open street map.


By working with British Red Cross and Youth Mappers, students and staff acted as change agents making the world a better place as well as developing transferable skills and inviting other mapping opportunities. The University of Exeter was the first UK university to register a mapathon which has a mission plan we share in Exeter Geography “We don’t just build maps, we build mappers”.


The mapathon took place in the second week of November which is an important one for Geographers and Geography departments around the world. Not only was it Open Street Map Geography Awareness Week but on the 15th of November it was also GIS day. Both initiatives are international forums to develop interest and understanding of the subject, the technology of Geographical Information Systems, showcase applications, raise public awareness of the significance of place and encourage collaborative mapping.

The map below shows the global coalition of partners hosting mapathons. Mapping events took place around the globe, following this year’s Geography Awareness Week theme “Explore! The Power of Maps”.


The humanitarian aid projects continues at Exeter, if you are local come along to our next mapathon. If not then we encourage you to host a mapathon for yourselves!