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Instructional Development Award Recipients
Several undergraduate instructors who attended the 2004, 2005, 2006, or 2007 SPACE workshops were awarded funds to continue their efforts in integrating spatial analysis into their course curriculums. These pages showcase their achievements. See the full recipient list.
Affiliation: Sociology, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Notable Achievements in Her Own Words
By attending the SPACE workshop last summer, I was able to deepen my understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of spatial approaches. I also acquired skills to prepare my spatial data set at the census tract level for New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Furthermore, the workshop participation improved my ability to perform spatial analysis using GeoDa and helped to apply those skills to a comparative study of suburban ethnic neighborhoods in Los Angeles and New York. This enabled me to present the research results as a research application to the class.
As I began to teach Methods of Sociological Research at the undergraduate level in the last fall semester, I incorporated spatial approaches to the course (see the syllabus below). Introducing spatial approaches not only enriched the research method course but also promoted students’ interest in spatial approaches in the social sciences. To my understanding, this is the first attempt by faculty members to introduce spatial approaches into any generic social scientific research methods courses on campus. I will continue to teach this course for the next few semesters and plan to devote a couple of more sessions to the introduction of spatial approaches.
Questions Addressed in the Course
Issues addressed in the course included the multidisciplinary aspect of spatial approaches, the power of visualization through mapping data, the introduction of spatial analysis and research application. I also provided an opportunity to discuss the role of spatial analysis in research approach and some challenges such as modifiable areal unit problem involved in spatial analysis (see the lecture outline below).
I am developing a new course called “Spatial Thinking in the Social Sciences.” Most GIS-related courses heavily focus on technical and methodological aspects of GIS, mainly teaching usage of software. However, I am very interested in providing a course that covers ways in which social scientists have incorporated spatial concepts into their theory and research. Although this course is not primarily a GIS methods course, I would like to combine laboratory activities that instruct the GeoDa program as a tool for spatial exploration and analysis. Furthermore, I have met and talked to other GIS-related course instructors on campus including those from the Center for Economic Information and Urban Planning Department. This communication is an effort to collect pedagogical experiences and facilitate a campus-wide interest and benefit in teaching spatial approaches in the social sciences.
In order to develop this new course, I plan to attend Dr. Luc Anselin’s four-day spatial regression workshop at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. This workshop is designed to introduce the foundation of spatial regression models to those with an intermediate background in econometrics and some knowledge of spatial analysis. This will greatly enhance my instructional capacity to teach spatial analysis.