Seminar Series

"Why can't we study and make a difference?": community engaged learning in the geographical and environmental sciences.


Simon Kingham


University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 16:00:00 NZST in ER 263


"Why can't we study and make a difference?". This is what one student said in 2008 after a talk by a leading social scientist on some of the environmental challenges facing society. And so a research methods course shifted its focus and started to address some of the challenges in a local context working with local community partners. This paper will report on how this is done in GEOG309, a geography and environmental science research methods paper at the University of Canterbury. This course uses a community engaged and problem based approach and involves students working together to solve real world problems using skills that are transferable to the workplace. This presentation will describe how the course operates, including some of the practical challenges in trying to deliver community engaged learning, as well as offering some tips for success. It will also present the results of a survey of students in 2021, which asked a range of questions about the course. Specifically it asked how well students felt the learning outcomes were achieved (or not), but also asked about how well they felt the course enhanced their learning (or not) by using a community engaged and problem based approaches in a range of ways, including social responsibility and citizenship, workplace readiness, and student engagement. The results show that the course helps develops skills in communication and leadership, increased social responsibility and citizenship and made the students feel better prepared for the workplace. Students also agreed that working with a community partner enhanced their learning.


Join us on Zoom:


Meeting ID: 630 480 1421 



Simon Kingham Bio