Practical strategies for active learning and design thinking in mountain cartography education
Jeff Howarth | Middlebury College, VT, USA
Keywords: education, mountain cartography, practical
The goal of this paper is to share practical strategies (things that a teacher can do in the classroom or through a course design) that facilitate active learning and design thinking in lecture- and laboratory-based instruction of mountain cartography. Examples are presented of instructional materials and results from student work from a recent project-based cartography class for undergraduate students. For the first eight weeks of the semester, students in the course collectively created an Atlas of US National Monuments with a focus on monuments that had been designated under the Antiquities Act. Project assignments included developing a style guide and developing layouts that combined a locator map, one or more thematic maps, and a physical geography reference map. Practical strategies for making lecture meetings more active include learning from handout-based activities, learning from sets of good examples, and learning to give and receive criticism from peers on drafts of work. Video presentations of software tutorials are discussed as a practical method for simultaneously introducing software procedures and supporting independent projects. Finally, a strategy is presented to help students describe and explain their design process through narrated slideshow presentations. This paper aims to provide practical advice for those that teach mountain cartography in academic settings and who are interested in promoting design thinking skills through creative independent work.