Saturday, September 13, 2008

Geography of Europe - Arizona State University

On iTunes U, at the Arizona State University, I found an undergraduate course Geography of Europe. (feed) This is available on podcast - this is how I went through the lectures. When you begin to follow, it becomes clear that there must be a video version somewhere, but possibly only for ASU students. There are visuals, but the podcast can easily be followed, even with minimal knowledge of Europe.

What is exceptional about this course, is that it is a new media course to begin with. The lecturer, Dr. Duncan Shaeffer, records the course from a studio, without an audience. From the explanations in the first podcast, I understood, that this course can be followed and credits can be acquired following, by iPod or video, in your own time. I assume there are some access requirements, but I did not pay attention to that. If you are just interested in the study credit, but just the content of the course, skip the first lecture.

The course is very long, some 60 lectures and goes over the following subjects in consecutive chunks of lectures: the physical environment, population, languages, religion, economy, tourism and services and geopolitics. This allows for you to pick out a section by theme. No matter which subject you take up, the speed at which the lecture proceeds is very slow. The course operates on a low level and each lecture takes a long time, a lot of arguments, to make a point. For example, the entire second lecture is dedicated to arguing Europe is not a separate continent from Asia.

For me, the course was too long winded. I am a European and consequently, most data were trivial to me and I couldn't stand to go through hours and hours of these basics. For those unfamiliar and in need of a comprehensive and complete introduction to Europe, this may serve quite well.

(Picture by NASA)

More GeographyMore geography:
Economic Geography of the Industrial World,
Global Geopolitics,
Geography of World Cultures,
Natural Resources and Population,
Plate Tectonics.

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