Category Archives: Courses

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Geography & Open Textbooks

As the school year begins, students always scramble to find the money for all those expensive textbooks that are required reading for their courses. What’s better than cheap textbooks with a guaranteed buyback? How about free, open textbooks that are available in multiple formats!

Okanagan College Geography, Earth, and Environmental Science professor Dr. Arthur ‘Gill’ Green has been working on just such a textbook with colleagues from across British Columbia. Full of case studies, lesson plan activities, and the latest facts on British Columbia, the open textbook is ready for adoption and adaption. It is the first geography open textbook of its kind!

Published in September 2014 by BCcampus OpenEd, the new textbook that he and the team of geography professors produced is available for download at the below links.

This textbook is best for regional geography courses focused on BC, but it also is remixable! So, any of the content can be adapted as long as it follows the Creative Commons license (CC-BY-4.0) . As cited in the introduction, “This first year Geography textbook takes a holistic approach to Geography by incorporating elements of physical, human and regional geography, as well as bringing in methods and perspectives from spatial information science.. This textbook applies a fundamental geographical approach to understanding our globally changing world by looking at local processes which are linked to larger global processes and events. For example mining and its effects are a global issue and we can see how these unfold in BC. A further example is the recent apology to First Nation peoples on the residential school treatment, as similar events occur in the US, Ireland and Australia. Processes of urbanization, a phenomenon which people all over the globe are experiencing, can be seen in Vancouver with our discussion of the city’s development. Geography students, indeed all first year students, need to be able to critically assess their own contexts and environments in order to properly engage with our continually globalizing world.”

The Earth as Art

What do geographic, earth, and environmental scientists do?

Well, here’s a little hint at a small fraction of what we study:

In courses like EESC 101 Environmental Science you’ll discover the basic principles underlying environmental change, in GEOG/EESC 222 Geomorphology you’ll discover how we see deep into the landscapes all around us, and in GEOG 272 Introduction to Cartography, GIS, and Remote Sensing you’ll learn to use Landsat and other tools to create the images and interpret the data you read about in the TIME article!

Why Maps Matter

Check out this great article from the Globe and Mail called “The enduring power of maps: ‘You find where you are on it’”.

Maps have always had those dual powers: They help us understand our place in the world, and they elicit an undeniable sense of adventure, of possibilities.

You too can learn about the history of maps and how to make maps in the 21st century in GEOG 272 Introduction to Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing (link).