Landscape stories: Case Study Tours created by students using the Peek app
This article will show an example of how to create course case study tours using the Peek app.
Course: SLM10806 Design in Land and Water Management
Period: Period 6
In this article you will find:
Short Introduction and background
Introduction and story behind the emergence of this learning activity. What was the need, what issue/problem was the teacher facing and wanted to resolve?
This first-year bachelor course is an introduction in design issues in land use and land and water management problems, and particularly in appraising the situation. An important part of this course has always been the field practical that runs for two weeks in which students go together to Limburg, a southern province of the Netherlands.
The idea is that students go into the field and together try to gain insight into what is going on in the field of land and water management and to bring this together on a higher scale. In this way, they can compose a problem or situation description on the basis of which interventions in land and water management might take place.
This whole idea had to be overhauled because we couldn’t go to Limburg and we had to start from where the students were located at that moment. Most of them were at home with their parents, in the Netherlands or abroad, or at home in Wageningen. We have given them the same assignment; ”okay, you are not in Limburg, but for instance in Amerongen or Groningen. Go and look for an area in the neighbourhood that you find interesting because something is going on with water and land management.” Students had the same assignment as they would have had in Limburg, but now from their own ‘backyard’, and as an individual and not with a group.
Groups were created of students who were in different places and were dealing with similar topics or issues. We grouped them as a sort of thematic groups. Then we figured that they would have a deeper understanding if they would have to present it to others. This is when the idea of the Peek app came along.
Relevant tools / apps (software) or hardware used
What has been learned after this lesson/activity has been executed ?
The purpose of the creation of this case study tour is that the student experiences and analyses land and water management design and issues in a real-life situation, also he or she can demonstrate being able to make an assessment of different land and water management issues and suggest options for areas where interventions are of importance.
Lesson idea / Learning activity
Specific description and demonstration of the lesson idea/learning activity.
Students had to go into the selected area in their neighbourhood and research the problem or issue at hand not only for themselves but research it in such a way that it was also explained to others. This they could do with the help of the Peek app in which they had a map on which they could plot points and create a route. At the plotted points along the route, they could explain what was going on by means of vlogs, podcasts, and photo’s, and they could create questions with explanations. This route had to show themselves, and others who would take this tour, something about the area and what was going on. Family and friends could get a code and follow the self-guided tour by means of the Peek app after it was created by the student as well.
Figure 1: One of the tours created in the Peek App
Lessons learned / Tips
Mentions tips lecturer has for colleagues based on their experience.
All these student-created tours resulted in a nice overview of all kinds of descriptions of land and water issues across the Netherlands. The content was of such a quality that we really would like to integrate this approach into the Limburg excursion, should we go there again next year.
- Activating and more in-depth learning
The main gain of doing it this way is that we really achieved in-depth learning; everyone had to enter their own area and investigate it. No one could hide behind others or benefit from the hard work from others. Every single student had to figure out something. The fact that they had to capture it in the Peek app worked very activating and proved to be effective. This was also indicated by the students. Afterwards, they realised that they were able to do much more than they had expected. Even if they had found it somewhat exciting in the beginning to just enter an area and thinking that they did not know enough to figure it out.
Overall, the quality of this course is maybe different, because we have never physically met. On the other hand, the quality of learning in itself is perhaps higher. All students have made tremendous steps. They have all been in the field where they have been confronted with themselves, the subject matter in relation to reality. All have delivered something – the tour with podcasts, a report - in which they show that they understand and can analyse what is going on in a certain area. It is not sure if we can say the same about the students who have joined the group excursion to Limburg. Of course, this may not count for all people, but this time there was no one who got nothing out of it. This format has been way more activating.
- Involve students with the (re)design of your course
We received positive feedback from the students. This was partly self-organised, in that sense that we had a soundboard; a group of students involved in making the plan for this alternative redesign. This has led to lots of valuable input, but also more involvement and commitment to making a joint success out of this course. As a spin-off of this soundboard group, we now still continue to work with a group of students from this cohort who is organising the practical experience on which they may miss out on as extra activities. For example, they have created extra excursions in the Peek app themselves for others to discover and experience new areas.
- Have short, everyday start-up meetings (online)
With the thematic groups, we had a short, online meeting every morning, max. 20 minutes. This proved to be very important and effective for both students and teachers. During these sessions the outcomes of yesterday were discussed and what everybody was going to do during today. What is the plan for the day, and do they need any tips or input from others? It kept everybody going and involved.
Skype was used, now it would probably have been done via an MS Teams meeting.
- Try to incorporate more peer learning by using the best of both individual and group work
Previously this was a group assignment and now it was individual. One of the points we want to work on is to see how we can achieve more learning with and from each other, for example by having them visit each other’s areas, also by the staff. Now, this is only done by family and friends. This way you have a better grasp of the situation others are in and you can exchange more. Now it was sometimes difficult for the students, who were put together in thematic groups, what it was exactly on what they could exchange and how they could learn from each other. This way also the morning meetings, now mainly used for agenda-setting of the day, could be more used for learning together if the students and staff in a group have reference to the same area and issue.
We aim for learning with students; students not only as a supervisor or coach but also as a co-researcher. What we should look for is an instruction that brings out the power of individual and group work. It depends of course on where we will be going and what we can do next year, but we might work in pairs, so students can keep each other sharp as well.
Interested in learning more about Showcases of learning activities?