In a first year unit ‘Geographies of Global Cities’ nearly 200 cognate and non-cognate students are introduced to Human Geography and Urban Planning as a core and broadening unit. The first tutorial is vital to ascertain and build on individual and collective student base knowledge, and to establish the tutorial to be a safe and active learning space.
This task attunes students to active team-based learning activities that are core to developing content learning, confident communication, cohort-building and student experience.
The task is a fun and educative way to understand the
• city as a spatial and temporal concept
• key city geographies (economy, zoning, security, energy, transport, etc.)
• distinctive public/private spaces and forms of a city
• global city as a unit of analysis where cities are complex systems with compound issues based on histories and urbanisation
• comparative dynamics of global cities, globalisation and glocalization
The TASK: Understanding the city via the ‘Airport city’! Introducing the task to the class, it can be broken into 3 parts
1. Tutor-guided discussion: recapping lectures, key readings and concepts. Using the ‘Airport city’ idea, students are guided through a whole-class discussion comparing and contrasting (global)cities vs airports as systems and units of analysis (as above). ~ approximately 30 minutes.
2. Activity as Icebreaker and Team building: introducing first-year students to each other by forming, norming and storming with a view to their upcoming team assessment. ~ approximately 10 minutes.
3. Team activity and presentations: This works best with 4-5 groups (with a maximum of 4-5 students in each group). The class is broken into four thematic groups – Approach, Departures, Arrivals, Airside (if more than 4 groups then you can have duplicates or add “Airport surrounds” as another group). Groups have a deliberately-short 10 minutes to plan, prepare and present a 5-minute skit back to the class about their designated area in the airport that showcases relevant key element of theory and practice. Peer Q&A and feedback are given as each group shows ~ approximately 40 minutes (10 prep + 5 per group).
Because learning and effectively communicating is key, humour and creativity are encouraged. Students are explicitly instructed not to “stand and deliver”. The whole team must present using a skit, song, acrostic, poem, or similar. Throughout, tutor, peer, and class feedback are used to develop and correct their understanding.