Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography
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Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography

Edited by Helen Walkington, Jennifer Hill and Sarah Dyer

This exemplary Handbook provides readers with a novel synthesis of international research, evidence-based practice and personal reflections to offer an overview of the current state of knowledge in the field of teaching geography in higher education. Chapters cover the three key transitions – into, through, and out of higher education – to present a thorough analysis of the topic.
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Chapter 28: Capstones in geography

Alice Hovorka and Peter Wolf


A capstone is the culmination of an undergraduate program. For geography students, a culminating experience offers an opportunity to ‘pull it all together’ and consider geographical knowledge, skills and values as a whole. As such, it facilitates mastery of disciplinary tenets. It also offers students an opportunity to integrate and critically assess their undergraduate experiences, make sense and meaning of those experiences, and look forward to building upon them for the future. The aim of this chapter is to offer a range of ideas and approaches regarding capstones in geography that challenge students to demonstrate mastery, as well as synthesize and reflect on their learning, particularly as applicable for the wider world. The chapter begins with the broader context of capstones in geography by highlighting what they seek to do and the common formats and approaches taken, namely residential field courses, independent research projects, and courses featuring historical disciplinary overviews. The chapter continues by emphasizing that capstones in geography can be conceived of and delivered in various and innovative ways. To this end, it details capstones focused on re-conceptualizing the field, re-framing the dissertation, and re-imagining disciplinary contributions to enhance the meaning and relevance of culminating experiences for students and to address broader geography program learning outcomes.

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