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Human Geography Virtual Field Trip

Module titleHuman Geography Virtual Field Trip
Module codeGEO2308E
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Laura Smith (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The virtual fieldtrip module provides you who with an opportunity to develop and apply research skills in real world environments if, for various reasons, you may not wish to, or not be able to, participate in one of the residential field trips in stage 2.

The module is aligned with the New York residential field trip module (GEO2308D) but contains alternative material and assessment as a replacement for the residential component. If you wish to take the Virtual Field Trip, you will follow the Exeter-based taught component of the New York field trip module (which takes place over weeks 1 to 9 of term 2). You will undertake the various learning and teaching exercises, including set readings and presentations, during those weeks.

On the Virtual Field Trip, you will be required to undertake a research project (a ‘virtual field trip’) based upon one or more aspects of New York City, using documentary and virtual resources, which can include film, cartographic, print video, audio, ‘Google Earth’, ‘Street View’ and other media.

Geography FCH students may elect to take this module if they are taking 60 or more credits in Geography at stage 2, including GEO2325 Research Methods for Human Geography (15 credits) and GEO2326 Research Design in Human Geography (15 credits).

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module has two main aims:

  • to provide you with an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through lecture-based modules to 'real-world' geographical study, and
  • to give you further preparatory training for you dissertation (GEO3311/GEO3312) building on skills developed at levels one and two.

The theme and precise nature of the virtual research project is up to you, in discussion with the Virtual Field Trip coordinator with input if required from the New York residential fieldtrip staff. Examples of themes that you may wish to investigate are given below, which cover a broad range of human geography topics:

  • Geographies of New York public space
  • The iconography of New York City as a global city
  • Vertical geographies
  • The street: images and representations in contemporary photography
  • The Harlem Renaissance and the spatialisation of race and culture
  • Recreating urban geographies in game environments

Further guidance on these and other suggested themes will be given by the module convenor.

By undertaking the Virtual Field Trip and completing the formative and summative coursework in this module you will develop your academic and professional skills, such as your ability to develop and evaluate research designs, deploy research skills in different settings, develop critical thinking skills in the virtual field, and prepare and undertake professional presentations. This will help you to grow in academic confidence and practice how to develop and present your ideas in writing and for presentations. You will practice how to tackle research problems in the field and how to manage your time and workload effectively.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe selected field-based methodologies and techniques used in collecting, analysing and presenting geographical information in human geography, and apply these with limited guidance
  • 2. Identify/formulate and evaluate questions or problems with limited guidance
  • 3. Design, execute and report on a short research project (with due consideration of safety and risk assessment)
  • 4. Apply, interpret and use qualitative and quantitative information effectively and appropriately
  • 5. Describe and explain the results of practical fieldwork and relate results to existing bodies of geographical knowledge
  • 6. Discuss specific case studies and examples relevant to specific themes relating to the field trip (e.g. countryside planning, historical geography)
  • 7. Collect, interpret, evaluate and combine different types of geographical evidence and information

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Identify a diverse range of approaches to the generation of knowledge and understanding in human geography
  • 9. Apply geographical concepts in different situations
  • 10. Outline the nature of change within human environments
  • 11. Discuss reciprocal relationships between physical and human environments
  • 12. Explain the significance of spatial relationships as influences upon human and physical environments

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 13. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written, oral and visual means
  • 14. Use C&IT effectively and appropriately and with limited guidance to select, analyse, present and communicate geographical information
  • 15. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 16. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses
  • 17. Appreciate the practical applications of research methods in different settings and reflect on these within the context of student employability and professional development

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

During weeks 1-10 of the term, you will undertake the classes and practicals associated with module GEO2308D (the New York field trip). You will be introduced to a series of themes and methodologies relating to research practice during fieldwork and to some of the specific geographical issues around New York City. During this time, you will also work with the module convenor in designing and setting up you own research project involving relevant geographical themes pertaining to New York City.

You will need to devise your own thematic research project, and to establish a set of aims and objectives, which you can discuss with appropriate academic staff. You should then use appropriate techniques to research the theme. You should draw on the skills and techniques that you have acquired during the research methods and research design modules to create a suitable methodology. Your response to the theme should demonstrate that you have undertaken original research in the chosen area. This can be varied in nature, but may draw upon a wide range of documentary, visual, image-based, audio, virtual and other sources. You should also ensure that your work is grounded in the appropriate geographical academic literature.

You will present your research findings in a 2000-word report. The report may be illustrated, and should present your original research findings, a relevant literature review and a section on the methodologies employed. You will also compile and give a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation that provides an overview of your project and its findings. This will be presented eight days prior to you submitting your research report, to enable you to receive oral and written feedback to improve your report.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Lectures and practicals taken as part of the GEO2308D New York Field trip module
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Meetings with module convenor and (where relevant, staff from the New York field trip), feedback meeting for formative research proposal, support meetings / contact points throughout the research and attendance at oral presentations
Guided Independent Study40Preparatory reading in advance of data collection at field sites during Term 2
Guided Independent Study40Data collection at field sites
Guided Independent Study56Data analysis, presentation preparation and report drafting for summative assessment


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research proposal1000 wordsAllWritten and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project presentation4020 minutesAllOral
Research report602000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Project presentationProject presentationAllAugust ref/def
Research reportResearch reportAllAugust ref/def

Re-assessment notes

If you fail the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) or if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will be re-assessed for field work skills via re-assessment of the original assessment components.

The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Reading lists appropriate to the fieldtrip will be issued during the previous term.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Field trip, New York

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

GEO2325 Research Methods for Human Geography and GEO2326 Research Design in Human Geography

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date