Geography 103

GEOG 103

Introduction to Human Geography


Catalog Entry

GEOG 103 Human Geography. (SS)
Three hours lecture (3).

Introduction to concepts and methods of examining human modification of the earth's surface, emphasis on processes fostering differences, similarities and change in cultural patterns through space and time in a comparative framework.

Approved for General Education credit in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Area of the curriculum.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

Cultural geography provides an orientation which places human activities within a physical and historical framework. Human geography is the study of the interactions between humans and their environment, with special emphasis on spatial patterns and location. The distribution of human population, societies, and cultures is considered with regard to the ensuing effects of the distributions. The implication of these impacts is considered within the larger context of global; social, political, and environmental problems.

Population geography is used as a tool to analyze population parameters and the affect of population regimes on the environment. The role of diffusion of people through migration and ideas is explored. The importance of physical and traditional cultural barriers to innovation is discussed.

Urban settlement is further explored with regard to infrastructure and the rise of cities. The globalization of agriculture and the role of rural regions with respect to urban areas is explored. Global patterns of production as a result of transnational and multinational activities are explored. Humans are presented as one element in the world ecosystem and their impact on the environment is examined within this context.


Detailed Description of Conduct of the Course

Although the course is categorized as a lecture course, much of the class time is spent in proactive, cooperative activities, most of which use computer generated interactive exercises. Half of the class are held in the computer laboratory with exercises demonstrating diffusion, GIS, migration, population dynamics, and geospatial distribution Of economic, residential, and political patterns. In about half the classes, a more conventional lecture format is employed to provide the class with basic conceptual tools and definitions. Frequent essays will be required of the student as the Geography Department has designated this course as an intensive writing course. The essays serve to encourage the student to master higher order thinking through synthesizing new concepts and data generated from class exercises.

The exams and papers required in this class reflect the fact that there are no clear cut, black-and-white answers to many of the issues which are discussed. To do well in the class a student must demonstrate that he/she can think for him/herself, develop opinions and interpretations, and support them.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

  • Students will be introduced to the variability in interactions within physical and cultural regions.
  • Students will develop an understanding of global interaction
  • Students will develop the thought processes which he/she can use to interpret his/her world
  • Students will be encouraged to develop written and verbal skills.

Goals of General Education Program

  • Students will develop the ability to think critically and creatively about spatial relationships in the modern world and understand how these relationships have developed through time.
  • Students will be introduced to a variety of tools, methods and data used in geographic analysis.
  • Students will use Internet and other computer technologies to retrieve geographic data.
  • Students will acquire a geographic perspective, permitting them to identify cultural values and historic precedents that shape regional and international relationships both here and abroad.

Goals for Area 8. Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Students will understand how geographers approach the study of a place and its peoples.
  • Students will know how to collect geographic data, analyze and present spatial information, and solve geographic problems related to people and their use of the lands they inhabit.
  • Students will acquire basic geographic knowledge and skills that they can apply in evaluating and interpreting their own culture region as well as those elsewhere in the world.
  • Students will understand cultural factors that through time have shaped spatial interactions.
  • Students will understand the diverse ways in which human relations have been structured across space, time and cultures.


Assessment Measures

Assessment of the student's success in the course will include some combination of the following: participation in class, writing exercises, oral discussions of readings, cooperative group work, and testing that includes objective and/or essay questions. All tests are designed to evaluate student understanding of the stated goals.

To assess the attainment of the broad general education goals, essay-type questions on exams and term papers/projects require synthesis of a variety of information related to both the natural and social sciences and presentation of that data in well-conceived narratives and graphics. To assess the attainment of specific Area 8 goals, students will be challenged in assignments and exams to demonstrate their skills in working with geographic data to interpret the ways human relations are structured across space, time and cultures.


Other Course Information




Date Action and Action Approved By
September 2005 Bernd H. Kuennecke, Chair