Geography Learning in the Field

Geography learning in the field

Experiential class takes learning on the road

The study of geography covers a lot of ground. "I moved from viewing geography as a static discipline to understanding that geography is dynamic," says Jason Gruetzmacher, who earned a degree at COCC and now teaches social studies at a middle school. He recalls how his perception of geography evolved at COCC. "To comprehend it wholly, there are different lenses which need to be used to view it through."

That broad view is a central part of the Geography curriculum — including a roving class called Field Geography of Central Oregon. Traveling by van and on foot, notebooks in hand, class members find a field trip that won't quit. Week by week, the class travels the wider region, from La Pine to Paulina Peak to the Warm Springs Reservation, focusing on things like cultural elements, economic zoning, and social structure. Students hike, explore different communities, and study physical geography. It's an eye-opening course, a springboard for further studies.

As an instructor explains the discipline of geography, "It's about understanding the world that we live in. And it's about conditions in this place affecting conditions in that place." Take a closer look at COCC's course offerings in the Geography department.