Spring 2016 Brown Bag Speaker Series
Incorporating Primary Research into the Undergraduate Classroom
Experience: Lessons from SSCI 301: Maps and Spatial Reasoning
Dr. Elisabeth Sedano
Lecturer, Spatial Sciences Institute
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Allan Hancock Foundation (AHF) B57J
SSCI 301 Maps and Spatial Reasoning is the initial Spatial Sciences course requirement for the GeoDesign major and the Spatial Studies minor, and it is open to students outside of Spatial Sciences and Dornsife College. The class thus draws a variety of students that are new to spatial sciences. SSCI 301 introduces these students to characteristics of spatial data and underlying issues in its collection, analysis, and representation. Conducting primary research in the field is perhaps the most direct path to learning the issues that arise in data acquisition, yet few undergraduates normally have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork under faculty supervision. In Fall 2015, the thirty-five students enrolled in SSCI 301 took part in a group project to collect professional quality spatial data first-hand. The class went “in the field” to the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles and mapped outdoor advertisements. Outdoor advertising is regulated by the City of Los Angeles under a variety of legislative rubrics, yet it exists in the urban landscape in numbers far beyond those listed in the city’s permitting records due to the city’s under-enforcement of regulations. The actual number of outdoor advertisements in Los Angeles is an unknown quantity, but it is a piece of knowledge that would be useful to urban planners and community groups that focus on the urban environment. As the subject of field research, outdoor advertising is surprisingly complicated but its categorical complexities can be understood relatively quickly, making it an excellent topic to be mapped by researchers new to the subject, as the students of SSCI 301 were. And as a topic that reveals how politics and regulation affect urban planning, outdoor advertising has instructive potential for the many 301 students interested in the connection between planning structures and the urban environment. This Brown Bag discussion will describe the goals, methods, and results of the SSCI 301 group fieldwork project, and it will explore the benefits and issues in using undergraduate classes for the collection of primary research.
January 22, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm