Photo by MONUSCO Photos - Aerial view Lusenda Burundi refugee camp., CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46293939

Call for Papers “Researching Conflict”

Please forward this call for papers for “Researching Conflict” a special section of ACME or issue of another major geographical journal to interested scholars.

***Call For Papers Researching Conflict***
Research on geographies of conflict is inherently messy and difficult, muddled with power relations, riddled with foggy recollections, and often enabled with the help of “fixers” with a stake in the conflict. Recognizing this, we invite papers that explore what it means to ‘do research in violent settings’ in a variety of geographic contexts. We especially welcome papers which recognize the inability of the researcher to be objectively separate from the conflict, and consider instead how research as well as the researcher are implicated and embedded in the violent conditions being studied. While this special issue builds on existing methodological texts of fieldwork in conflict zones, it contributes to wider geographic debates from post-colonial, feminist, and political ecology perspectives. Perspectives that emphasize the explicitly normative and unequal positions of researchers in the field in relation to their subjects and settings of investigation. Specifically, we hope that the special issue will provide guidance on research in violent spaces beyond what traditional methodological texts provide and critically interrogate violence as done to and done through the research process itself.

This special issue seeks to present the experiences of scholars working from a range of different fields and spanning experiences across the globe. We are interested in balancing contributions from established as well as emerging scholars. In addition to traditionally structured research manuscripts, this special issue will include interventions and creative works. We encourage interested scholars to consider a wide playing field for these creative submissions. We especially welcome pieces which extend beyond the boundaries of traditional printed page such as interactive works of art, technology, video, and sound.

If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please submit an abstract of no more than 450 words by 31 August 2016. In addition, we encourage authors to include a few keywords that capture the central themes of the intended paper. An example (not
intended to be used as parameters or limits to possible entries) of keywords is provided in the attached word cloud. Abstract submissions should be made via e-mail to researchingconflict@gmail.com. Please include in the subject line “Researching Conflict”. Accepted authors will be notified by mid-September 2016 and provided a detailed timeline for submission and publication as well as other potential opportunities connected to the special issue.

Editors: Ann Laudati (UC Berkeley), Stephen Aldrich (Indiana University), and Arthur Gill Green (University of British Columbia).

More details can be found here:
https://www.academia.edu/27627457/Public_Call_for_Papers_for_Researching_Conflict_a_Special_Issue_of_ACME

Photo credit: By MONUSCO Photos – Aerial view Lusenda Burundi refugee camp., CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46293939

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Tossing Out the Disposable Teaching Philosophy Statement

If you are reading this post, you may have been recently asked by a potential employer to provide a teaching philosophy statement. So, heads up! I am not  a job application guru and this post is not about helping you craft the perfect job application adapted to a specific employer. This post is about getting away from the teaching philosophy statement ‘for hire’ model and rethinking why we write teaching philosophy statements at all. Can we agree that it is unfortunate that many of us do not revisit our teaching statements often enough or even share them with anyone but hiring committees?

While I originally wrote my own teaching philosophy statement under job search circumstances, I have come to believe that we have been writing our statements for the wrong audience. While working on open education and authentic learning approaches over the last several years, I have tried my best to dispose of ‘the disposable assignment’. This has made me question many of the disposable products that we ‘must’ create as academics – including the disposable teaching philosophy statement. After all, who is the actual audience for a teaching philosophy statement? Who benefits from reading it? Who benefits from writing it?

I no longer think that the potential employer is the correct audience. Ideally, the audience of these statements is the writer and the writer’s community. It is us. Reflecting on our approaches to teaching and learning should inspire us to refocus on and evolve our core principles. Such reflection could immensely benefit if shared within a community (the ethos of open).

So, I am putting mine here on this website to open up my process. These are the values by which I teach and learn. They may not be perfect and they will certainly evolve, but they are a constant reminder of my core principles and sources of inspiration.

It would be great to hear other’s thoughts on this…  Is it time to get rid of the disposable teaching philosophy statement? Should educators share their teaching statements with students and have students create learning philosophy statements? Is there a different, better way to approach our teaching philosophy statements?

Photogrammetry and OER Field Trips

We’ve embarked on a project to create virtual reality destinations for education (shout out to BCcampus for funding our team’s work on this project via their OER grants program). As part of our work to create these OER virtual destinations around Vancouver, we have had to dive (read ‘belly flop’) into photogrammetry and some other amazing modeling techniques in which I never imagined I would be involved. We are learning to create 3D models of landscapes that can then be imported as virtual locations. In fact, I just started to experiment with building out virtual destinations using photogrammetry and the Destinations Workshop Tookit (beta) for VR headsets. The toolkit contains an amazing suite of 3D modeling tools that we are just beginning to grasp.

I’ll document my photogrammetry experiments and catalogue the materials  (the good, the bad, and the ugly… hopefully some fantastic too) that I create for these education-focused virtual field trip locations. Everything we produce is OER and openly licensed. I am using Sketchfab.com to embed the interactive content below (you can even view the models in Google Cardboard). Sketchfab is a pretty amazing repository of 3D models that allows authors to apply a CC license to their work.


Experiment 01. This was our first experiment at making a 3D model using photogrammetry, created using 12 pictures taken by Nexus 5 and processed by Autodesk ReMake.

Keys (raw 3D model from AutoDesk)

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FieldPress Field Trip Plugin

I am excited to announce the beta release of a WordPress plugin that we have been developing at UBC Geography for the last six months. FieldPress is a WordPress plugin that allows instructors to create and manage field trips online. This plugin provides instructors with a user-friendly environment to build field trips, add multimedia content, create assessments and manage student activity.

FieldPress is open source and is an open educational resource (OER). We are offering access to the beta version of the plugin via GitHub. If you would like to learn more about managing field trips and how to install the plugin on your own installation of WordPress you can use the below links. This plugin will work only on your own installation of WordPress not on blogs maintained on WordPress.com. Once we move out of beta, our plugin will be available in the WordPress plugin repository.

Prepackaged beta plugin: https://github.com/open-geography/FieldPressPlugin/tree/master/pluginreleases

Latest version of the plugin code: https://github.com/open-geography/FieldPressPlugin

User manual: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B669N2eac2L1Z21wWUpxTlFYLVU/view

Demo Website: FieldPress.ca is a demonstration website for displaying and testing the capabilities of the FieldPress plugin for WordPress.

If you would like to experience FieldPress as a student user, please following these easy three steps:

  1. Sign up for an account here: http://fieldpress.ca/fields-signup/
  2. Confirm your account. After signing up you should get an email confirmation. Make sure to check your spam folder.
  3. Sign up for any of our demo field trips here: http://fieldpress.ca/fields/

If you want to see the backend (as an instructor) you will need to have WordPress administrator role on a website. At this time we are not providing public instructor/administrator access to our demo site, but you can install the plugin on your own WordPress installation.

Just one last note, FieldPress is an exciting example of students as creators. It is primarily the result of the work of a talented, recently-graduated student named Kimi Shen adapting code from CoursePress. The plugin is open source. So, we are looking for feedback from and collaboration with early adopters. We were excited to see Professor David Wright implement the plugin so quickly! Hopefully, he is the first of many!

See more at: http://open.geog.ubc.ca/resources/fieldpress/

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Teaching in the Open: Open Pedagogy and Responsible Pedagogy

It was an honor to share my work on open pedagogy as a teaching strategy with the University of British Columbia Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (@UBC_CTLT). They put together a little video vignette as part of their Open Dialogues that allowed me to (1) explain  the experiences that led me to become an advocate for Open Educational Resources (OER), (2) talk about the role of BCcampus in promoting OER in British Columbia, (3) define why OER are critical approaches to responsible pedagogy, and (4) reflect on what open pedagogy means to learners (and I include both “students” and myself as a “professor” in the category of learners).

Here is the CTLT post and video:

I have a long term itch to write about why open pedagogy matters for geography, environmental studies, and environmental sciences… but that will have to wait until after the the Association of American Geographers meeting in San Francisco and our presentation on using open science approaches for teaching Geographic Information Science.

By the way, I should also point out the presentations by my colleagues on our collaborative research on understanding the neoliberalization of pedagogy and the geography of teaching and learning (Turner) and on developing virtual reality and augmented reality field trip (Brown)! Here’s a taste of the virtual reality Sea-to-Sky field trip that we developed as an experiment using 360 cameras, Holobuilder, and Google Cardboard to increase field trip accessibility!

 

Watershed Delineation GIS – Open Education Resource

This is histogram equalized image of the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission data for the border of Nigeria and Cameroon (Faro River Basin).

This is an histogram equalized image of the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) 1 Arc-Second (30 meter) data for the border of Nigeria and Cameroon (Faro River Basin). The same data is used in the below tutorial on Water Delineation. Arthur G. Green (CC BY SA).

The above slides are a tutorial for people who want to learn how to do watershed delineation using Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM). The tutorial is free and licensed as CC BY SA. It can be downloaded here.

The tutorial uses SRTM 1 Arc-Second (30 meter resolution) data to map the Faro River basin near the Cameroon and Nigeria border. The methods can be applied to any region as the data for the tutorial is free (open data) from USGS that can be downloaded here http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/.

I created this tutorial for my Advanced Geographic Information Science students at UBC in March 2016. The tutorial uses ArcMap 10.3, so you will need access to that software and the software’s Spatial Analyst license.

Let me know if you find it useful or see something that could be improved!

Download Options

  1. You can download the slides from SlideShare.
  2. The data is free from USGS Earth Explorer.

Where are Tchabal Mbabo and the Faro River?

Tchabal Mbabo cliffs looking out on the Faro River Basin. Arthur G. Green (CC BY SA).

Tchabal Mbabo cliffs looking out on the Faro River Basin. Arthur G. Green (CC BY SA).

 

Creative Commons License
Watershed Delineation by Arthur Gill Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.