'Water and environmental systems': Achieving student-centred learning objectives with an undergraduate journal

Susanne M. Charlesworth, Ian D.L. Foster

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    We describe an innovative and successful method of empowering physical geography students in the process of learning hydrology. In the last eight years at Coventry University, we have set students the challenge of providing articles for their own journal as part of two modular courses. Although the basic challenge of presenting a paper for 'publication' has not changed, the organisation and structure of the assessment has evolved in the light of responses to student questionnaires, and in response to rising student numbers which impose resource limitations. This paper describes the evolution of the assignment and the assessment procedure, identifies the educational benefits and evaluates the learning outcomes of this autonomous learning exercise. Although the use of group-centred activities and assessments in higher education has in part offset the pressures of marking loads on teachers, this benefit is rarely perceived by students who generally wish to be assessed on individual rather than group performance. Nevertheless, the opportunity to 'publish' course work in a refereed undergraduate journal has remained as the core component of the assignment since the stimulus to perform at the highest level is clearly recognised and appreciated by students and the exercise can be shown to contain a clear set of educational goals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45-54
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Geography in Higher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


    • Group work
    • Physical geography
    • Student journal
    • Student-centred learning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Education


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