European Journal of Geography
The publication of the EJG (European Journal of Geography) is based on the European
Associat...
European Journal of Geography

Volume 2
Number 1
2011

CONTENTS
1 

6 

15 

Letter from the Editor 
 
 
 
APPROACHES TO S...
3
Editorial 

Dear Fellow Geographers, 
 
 
With  the  completion  of  the  EUROGEO  –  European  Association  of  Geographe...
European Journal of Geography, 1:4
Copyright © European Association of Geographers, 2011
ISSN 1792-1341

5
European Journal of Geography.

© Association of European Geographers

APPROACHES TO SUSTAINABILITY
EXAMPLES FROM GEOGRAPH...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
(Source: Empfehlung der Ständigen Konferenz der Kultusminist...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
comprehensive meaning can only become evident after describi...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
3.3 Meta-level Analysis Results
If one analyzes the topics p...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
Sachsen, p. 79, M7). In another textbook, extensive utilizat...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
Fig. 4) includes renewable forms of energy hydropower, wind ...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
modern Internet technologies are available to nearly everyon...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
for, e.g., private transport. This must be seen critically, ...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
zur
„Bildung
für
nachhaltige
Entwicklung
in
der
Schule“.
htt...
D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

 
UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs. Division for ...
European Journal of Geography 1: 54-75, 2011.

© Association of European Geographers

CHANGING PARADIGMS OF GEOGRAPHY
Kost...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

us the intellectual calm we need, since the judgments we make ...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

2. CONSIDERATION OF GEOGRAPHIC SPACE
The way we view geographi...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

geographical”, stressing the fact that “the holistic nature of...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

Figure 1: The traditional approach

3.2 Computer technology mo...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

fruitful completion mainly through the help of informatics. It...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

Data Capture

Processing

Spatial
Information

Analyzing

Spat...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

APPROACH TO
GEOSPACE

REGARD OF
GEOSPACE

PARADIGM

MONO
DISCI...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

“integrated studies are a fool’s project, propounding equation...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

REFERENCES
Fisher, F.P. 1991. Spatial data sources and data pr...
K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

Planning

11
European Journal of Geography

© Association of European Geographers

CHALLENGES, EXPECTATIONS AND REALITY: THE ADAPTATION...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

of Education in Bologna, is considered to be the starting point for t...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

The introduction of the new structure has not been easily accepted ei...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

respondents was 38,2 years and females represented 33% of the total s...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

Geography, which had traditionally been closely linked with History, ...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

started the adaptation of some of their degrees, Geography among them...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

the main outcomes for teaching staff was the setting of working group...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

into a new degree of 240 ECTS instead of the 180 recommended by the E...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

Chávarri, I.P. 2010. “Y la Universidad ardió”, El País, 19-09-2010
De...
M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)

Sorbonne Declaration. 1998. Joint declaration on harmonisation of the...
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  1. 1. European Journal of Geography The publication of the EJG (European Journal of Geography) is based on the European Association of Geographers’ goal to make European higher education a worldwide reference and standard. Thus, the scope of the EJG is to publish original and innovative papers that will substantially improve, in a theoretical, conceptual or empirical way the quality of research, learning, teaching and applying geography, as well as in promoting the significance of geography as a discipline. Submissions should have a European dimension. Contributions to EJG are welcomed. They should conform to the Notes for authors and should be submitted to the Editor, as should books for review. The content of this journal does not necessarily represent the views or policies of EUROGEO except where explicitly identified as such. Editor Kostis C. Koutsopoulos Professor, National Technical University of Athens, Greece koutsop@survey.ntua.gr Assistant Editor Yorgos N. Photis Associate Professor, University of Thessaly, Volos Greece yphotis@prd.uth.gr Book Review Editor Gerry O’Reilly Lecturer, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin, Ireland Gerry.OReilly@spd.dcu.ie Editorial Advisory Board Bailly Antoine, Prof., University of Geneva, Geneva Switzerland Bellezza Giuliano, Prof., University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy Buttimer Anne, Prof., University College Dublin, Ireland Chalkley Brian, Prof., University of Plymouth, Plymouth UK Martin Fran, S. Lecturer, Graduate School of Education Exeter S. Vice President of the Geographical Association Gosar Anton, Prof., University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia Haubrich Hartwig, Prof., University of Education Freiburg, Germany Nazmiye Ozguc, Prof., Istanbul University, Istanbul Turkey Strobl Josef, Prof., University of Salzburg, Salzburg Austria Van der Schee Joop, Prof., VU University, Amsterdam The Nederlands © EUROGEO, 2011 ISSN 1792-1341 The European Journal of Geography is published by EUROGEO - the European Association of Geographers (www.eurogeography.eu). 1
  2. 2. European Journal of Geography Volume 2 Number 1 2011 CONTENTS 1  6  15  Letter from the Editor        APPROACHES TO SUSTAINABILITY EXAMPLES FROM GEOGRAPHY  TEXTBOOK ANALYSIS IN GERMANY Dieter BOEHN, Berta HAMANN    CHANGING PARADIGMS OF GEOGRAPHY Kostis C. KOUTSOPOULOS 29  CHALLENGES, EXPECTATIONS AND REALITY: THE ADAPTATION OF A  GEOGRAPHY DEGREE TO THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA  Mireia BAYLINA,  Maria VILLANUEVA 46  URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY  María Jesús GONZÁLEZ, María Luisa DE LÁZARO    THE NATURA 2000 NETWORK IN SPAIN AND ITS LACK OF PROTECTION  Manuel Cabalar FUENTES, Miguel Pazos OTÓN, Francisco José Armas  QUINTÁ, Xosé Carlos Macía ARCE  55  2
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. Editorial  Dear Fellow Geographers,      With  the  completion  of  the  EUROGEO  –  European  Association  of  Geographers  annual  meeting  2011  I  feel  that  the  current  contest  is  especially  timely  and  appropriate to publish the second issue of our journal. For this issue reflects on one  hand  the  gains  we  have  made  in  our  efforts  to  create  an  instrument  to  make  European Geography a worldwide reference and standard, a very slow and tedious  process which however has started and on the other hand to reflect the basic theme  that  emerged  from  the  Athens  meeting,  namely  the  significance  and  the  growing  diversity of present day approaches to Geographic theory and practice.    As  I  reflect  on  the  achievements  of  the  last  few  years  from  HERODOT  to  the  European Association of Geographers I strongly believe that the European Journal of  Geography  can  successfully  face  opportunities  and  challenges  in  the  academic  and  publishing  world.  I  consider  such  an  opportunity  the  special  issue  of  our  Journal,  coming  out  very  soon,  which  will  include  a  set  of  papers  selected  among  those  presented in the Athens meeting, following of course the standard review process.           Kostis Koutsopoulos  National Technical University of Athens                                4
  5. 5. European Journal of Geography, 1:4 Copyright © European Association of Geographers, 2011 ISSN 1792-1341 5
  6. 6. European Journal of Geography. © Association of European Geographers APPROACHES TO SUSTAINABILITY EXAMPLES FROM GEOGRAPHY TEXTBOOK ANALYSIS IN GERMANY Dieter BOEHN University of Wuerzburg, Department of Geography, Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg, Germany, http://www.geographie.uni-wuerzburg.de, dieter.boehn@uni-wuerzburg.de Berta HAMANN University of Wuerzburg, Department of Geography, Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg, Germany, http://www.geographie.uni-wuerzburg.de, berta.hamann@uni-wuerzburg.de Abstract Education for Sustainable Development is a key concept in Geography instruction in Germany. The present contribution investigates how this concept is conveyed in Geography textbooks. Methods used include both quantitative and qualitative analysis as well as meta-level analysis. The quantitative investigation of 28 school textbooks revealed that sustainability, sustainable development und “sustainable” as a modifier (for example, sustainable tourism) are only rarely mentioned. By contrast, numerous examples can be found that include the topic of sustainability without explicitly stating the term. Seven topical fields (examples include tropical rainforest, renewable raw materials, the city of tomorrow) are used to illustrate various solutions ranging from simply doing without up to sophisticated technical solutions. In these examples, sustainability is often equated with environmental education, the aspects of economics and society are dealt with to a lesser extent. The contribution closes with the call for a new system of values, which no longer uses economic growth as the primary indicator of the quality of life. Keywords: textbook analysis, sustainability, environmental education, doing without, technical solutions 1. THE FRAMEWORK FOR TEXTBOOK AUTHORS Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a key concept in Geography instruction in Germany. On the international level, it is based on official statements such as those made by UNESCO. They incorporate the three parameters ecology, economy and society (Source: UNESCO and Sustainable Development. 2005. p. 5. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/ images/0013/001393/139369e.pdf, accessed 2010-4-26). The Lucerne Declaration on Geographical Education for Sustainable Development stated criteria to be used in geography education for sustainable development (Haubrich, Reinfried, Schleicher 2007). On the national level, the “Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Federal States in the Federal Republic of Germany” (KMK) gives recommendations that should be implemented in the curricula issued by the individual federal states: “The concept of Education for Sustainable Development has the objective of enabling students to actively shape an ecologically acceptable, economically strong and socially just environment under consideration of global aspects, basic democratic principles, and cultural diversity.”
  7. 7. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   (Source: Empfehlung der Ständigen Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (KMK) und der Deutschen UNESCO-Kommission (DUK) vom 15.06.2007 zur „Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung in der Schule“. http://www.kmk.org /fileadmin/veroeffentlichungen_beschluesse/2007/2007_06_15-Bildung-nachhaltigeEntwicklung.pdf, accessed 2010-4-26). In Germany each federal state is responsible for its curricula. These curricula constitute the contextual guidelines for the content of textbooks. This is illustrated using the curriculum for North Rhine-Westphalia: Students are to make a contribution “so that preservation of the natural living conditions for subsequent generations is ensured through socially, economically and ecologically responsible actions.” (Source: Kernlehrplan für das Gymnasium – Sekundarstufe I (G8) in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Erdkunde. 2007. p. 15. http://www.ritterbach.de/lp_online/3408g8.pdf, accessed 2010-4-26). Wording used in the curricula of the other federal states is of a similarly general nature. By virtue of these stipulations, the freedom of textbook authors to select topics and examples is relatively broad. 2. METHODS OF TEXTBOOK ANALYSIS A total of 28 textbooks for grades 1 - 11 (grades 5-11 for Gymnasium (academic high school)) were evaluated. These textbooks are currently used in the federal states of Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony. These textbooks were investigated using the following methods that have been applied by numerous authors (e.g., Bednarz/Bednarz/Petersen 2006, Bullinger et al. 2005, Hamann 2004, Manik 2008, Marsden 2001, Mayring 2008, Mikk 2000, Pingel 1999, Weinbrenner 1995). 2.1 Quantitative Analysis A keyword analysis and a manual check were performed to determine whether the concepts “Nachhaltigkeit” (sustainability), “nachhaltige Entwicklung” (sustainable development) and the adjective “nachhaltig” (sustainable) are used in the glossary. If this was the case, the number of occurrences of these concepts in texts, figures/illustrations as well as map captions was counted. Tallies were also made of how often texts dealt with the field of terms pertaining to sustainability. Examples include “sustainable tourism” or “renewable energy”. 2.2 Qualitative Analysis Two qualitative methods were used here. On the one hand, topics that explicitly used the terms “sustainability” or “sustainable development” were analyzed (e.g., tropical rainforest). Then the investigation was expanded to include the entire field of concepts pertaining to “sustainable development”. In this case, it was difficult to draw a clear distinction to instruction that strictly deals with environmental education. A certain degree of subjectivity was thus unavoidable when selecting examples. To ensure the legitimacy of the selections made, the results of discussions in geography education and general pedagogy were also included (e.g., de Haan 2007; Bahr 2007; Schnauss 2007; Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung und Ständige Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2007; Lexikon der Nachhaltigkeit 2010; Haubrich, Reinfried, Schleicher 2007). 2.3 Meta-level Analysis On the real level, examples of textbook material that made clear literal or figurative/graphic statements were recorded, additionally indirect meta-level statements were evaluated. The 2
  8. 8. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   comprehensive meaning can only become evident after describing how all elements of the real level are linked to the associated meta-level elements. The specific content of instructional material becomes more evident when one also “reads between the lines” or takes a look “behind the scenes”. This does increase the level of subjectivity involved, such as in cases where the interpretation process can be influenced by previously-acquired everyday and theoretical knowledge (cf. Rolfes 2002). It must be noted, however, that subjectivity cannot be ruled out in the case of “standardized” methods either (Hamann 2004, 17). Consequences only become evident when meta-level aspects are considered that are not clear when performing analysis of content based exclusively on text and images. Because the objective here is to present how education for sustainable development is implemented in German school textbooks, description is unavoidably dominant. Results are nevertheless commented upon in a critical manner. 3. RESULTS OF THE ANALYSIS 3.1 Quantitative Results The results of a quantitative investigation are: 5x “sustainability” is stated as a term for a concept 9x “sustainable development” is stated as a term for a process 8x “sustainable” is used as a modifier, for example, “sustainable forest protection”, “sustainable tourism”. 162x “sustainability” is not explicitly stated per se, however the topic “sustainability” is involved. Such examples include “conserve water”, “renewable energy”, “ships under cheap flags” These results indicate that the terms “sustainability” and “sustainable development” are not mentioned often. The same applies to concretely formulated topics such as “sustainable forestry” or “sustainable tourism”. If one were to restrict oneself entirely to numeric data on explicit occurrences of the terms “sustainability”, “sustainable development” and “sustainable” as a modifier, the result would be that topic of sustainability is hardly dealt with at all, despite curriculum requirements. For this reason, the investigation was expanded to such an extent that topics are included that in terms of their content pertain to sustainability, e.g., topics such as “ships under cheap flags”, because of their potential for catastrophe on the seas of the world. If mentioned, the term “sustainability” and its variations were primarily addressed in grades 10 and 11. Topics that did not explicitly mention “sustainability” but were related to it can be found in all grades. 3.2 Qualitative Results The analysis revealed that restriction to the terms of sustainability, etc. only identifies part of the essential content. Sustainability is addressed and dealt with in additional topics as well. For example, sustainability is illustrated in examples of the everyday life of students (e.g., adopt-a-creek-programs, preferred leisure activities). Here the focus is on hands-on activities that convey the understanding and skills required for ecologically-responsible actions. Furthermore, scenarios of the future are drafted (for example, living in the city of tomorrow). One key topical field includes technical solutions for securing a sustainable future (e.g., utilization of renewable raw materials). Global implications are often illustrated using the example of the tropical rainforest, because it can be stated that clearing large areas of the tropical rainforest has a global impact on climate. Finally, evaluation of models is also performed to instill a desire in students to act in a manner that is responsible and sustainable. One example of this is the consideration of the ecological footprint. 3
  9. 9. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   3.3 Meta-level Analysis Results If one analyzes the topics pertaining to sustainability that are dealt with in German school textbooks, it becomes evident that the focus lies in the field of ecology. This approach is thus essentially a continuation of environmental education that the student is already familiar with. In the process, social shifts that pertain to changes in behavior and utilization of new technologies are addressed indirectly. Topics seldom consider the economic implications of sustainability. The drastic call for achieving sustainable development demands a radical change in individual actions, above all doing without. The example of the ecological footprint employs frightening scenarios, because it clearly illustrates that current utilization of resources already exceeds the Earth’s capacity. One legitimate question in this context would be why the student should even bother to change behavior (in the light of a growing world population and increasing global prosperity). Other depictions show that moderate changes in behavior are sufficient and are achievable without major impact on lifestyle, for example in the case of winter sports. On a global level, it is evident that people in the tropical rainforests are denied large-scale economic developmenteven the topic of sustainable forestry is only sketched vaguely. Further examples illustrate how all people in developing and industrialized countries alike can achieve sustainability through implementation of new technologies. Such examples range from the utilization of alternative raw materials to renewable sources of energy. By so doing, it is made clear to the student that positive developments are definitely possible that do not require radically changing one’s lifestyle. The fact that doing without where this is expedient does not necessarily have a negative impact on the quality of life is presented using the example of life in a city of tomorrow. 4. EXAMPLES FROM GEOGRAPHY TEXTBOOK ANALYSIS In the following, selected topical fields are presented to illustrate how the concept of ESD has been realized in textbooks. 4.1 Exploration of the Environment One key objective of ESD is to instill a reverence for the environment through concrete experience. In an example taken from a grade 4 primary school textbook, the students explore a creek. In a hands-on manner they identify plants and animals, investigate the water in terms of purity, and draw a map of the creek. Together with parents, trees and bushes are planted. Students learn rules of behavior that permit respectful encounters with nature, for example, do not thoughtlessly uproot plants, move carefully so as to not frighten animals. (Heimat- und Sachunterricht 4. 2004. GS Bayern, Jo-Jo, p. 53). 4.2 Tropical Rainforest and Sustainability The topic “tropical rainforest” is dealt with in numerous textbooks. A caricature, used in several of them, depicts a huge tree that symbolizes the tropical rainforest in its immense diversity. The roots of this tree, which take the form of a human hand, hold a symbolic globe. A logger, armed with a chainsaw, is seated on this globe and is in the process of felling the huge tree. The caricature suggests that utilizing tropical rainforests is equivalent to destroying the world. (Diercke Geographie 9. 2006. GY Sachsen, p. 79, M5). The text beside the caricature states two possibilities for dealing with the tropical rainforest: In example 1, the rainforest is fully protected. A German initiative collected money for purchasing parcels of land. In example 2 the rainforest can be used extensively. A German automaker buys coconut fiber from farmers, but only if the coconut palms are planted in such a way that giant trees in the forest are not cut down. (Diercke Geographie 9. 2006. GY 4
  10. 10. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   Sachsen, p. 79, M7). In another textbook, extensive utilization is referred to as “ecologically adapted agriculture”, namely “mixed agriculture with mulching” (TERRA Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern, pp. 55, Fig. 27). In such cases, numerous tropical rainforest trees remain standing while only small-scale fields are created. The statements made here are that use by intensive forestry is not possible in a tropical rainforest. It is, however, interesting to note that the concept of sustainability was first used in forestry in Germany (Source: Lexikon der Nachhaltigkeit. Hans Carl von Carlowitz. http://www.nachhaltigkeit.info/artikel/hans_carl_von_carlowitz_1713_1393.htm, accessed 2011-2-5). An example from Finland illustrates to what extent sustainable forestry can be pursued. Even though wood is used industrially as “green gold”, wood resources in Finnish forests have increased by about 25% in recent years thanks to “responsible use of nature” (Seydlitz 5/6. 2008. GY Niedersachsen, p. 178). While it is claimed that sustainable utilization is being practiced in industrialized countries, there is apparently a desire to forbid people in the tropical rainforest to practice it or to only permit them to practice extensive utilization. 4.3 Tourism and Sustainability Sustainability is made relevant to the student’s everyday life using the example of tourism. The Alps are a recreational region with mass tourism and tourism is an important economic factor. The keyword “sustainable tourism” calls for “bring[ing] economic, cultural, and ecological concerns in a sound and harmonious manner” (TERRA Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern, p. 132). Concrete measures are presented on things an individual can do to protect mountain regions: e.g., using public transportation instead of cars, doing cross-country skiing or going hiking instead of downhill skiing. To some extent, reality differs from this: many school classes in Bavaria go to the Alps to learn downhill skiing! Added to the text are logos of initiatives for “ecological tourism” such as “ECO friends” and “Friends of Nature International”. (TERRA Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern, p. 133). It is clearly evident that numerous efforts are being made to implement sustainable tourism but it is ultimately up to the individual to determine the extent to which he or she is willing to or is able to act in a sustainable manner. 4.4 Renewable Raw Materials and Sustainability One problem associated with fossil forms of energy is their finiteness. Renewable raw materials therefore contribute to sustainable development, both in terms of maintaining the standard of living of the current generation as well as leaving resources for future generations. Interestingly, one textbook shows that the utilization of renewable raw materials is a controversial issue, it clearly offers the potential for conflict. The given example of producing fuel from biomass illustrates positive aspects such as a neutral CO2 balance, the substitution of fossil energies, the creation of jobs and reduction of foreign currency transactions. Negative aspects such as clear-cutting of tropical rainforest areas are presented. Another negative aspect of using renewable “raw materials” which is mentioned are increased food prices when corn is used as the basis for producing automotive fuel. The controversial points of view, when placed side by side, require the student to create his/her own opinion (TERRA Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern, p. 120-121). This example indicates that instruction does not only present “off the shelf” solutions to students, but rather calls on students to critically debate economic and governmental policy decisions on the utilization of energy. 4.5 Technical Solutions for Ensuring Sustainability Various textbooks offer technical solutions in terms of renewable energy. They imply trust in the capabilities of human ingenuity. In one textbook, the illustration of “possible elements of a sustainable energy economy” (Seydlitz/Diercke Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern, p. 123, 5
  11. 11. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   Fig. 4) includes renewable forms of energy hydropower, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal and energy captured from tidal flows and ocean currents. Numerous possibilities are listed for solar energy, these range from generating heat and electric power in residential areas to large-scale industrial plants such as the solar chimney power plant, solar tower power plant, and parabolic trough solar collector power plant but neglect to mention availability and reliability of supply. The illustration also contains other technical means for power generation such as how energy can be captured from renewable raw materials produced by agriculture (reed, rapeseed). Finally, the solar dish plant as a means for decentralized power generation is presented (Seydlitz/Diercke Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern, p. 123, Fig. 4). Despite the various technical advances, the textbook soberly states that for the supply of electric power on a global scale, the currently-known regenerative alternatives will only play a minor role for the time being, because the power density of fossil fuels is to date considerably higher. Moreover, it critically notes that–in the case of these technical solutions–there are still problems with the transport and the storage of energy which are yet to be resolved (Seydlitz/Diercke Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern, p. 122). The textbook thus presents a situation to the student who should then critically reflect before taking a stand on this issue. In one textbook, it is pointed out to the student that the utilization potential of renewable energy varies from one region to another. A map clearly shows that utilization of wind energy is most expedient in coastal regions. The student is then able to decide for himself/herself whether it makes sense to operate wind energy plants in the region where he or she lives (Mensch und Raum 5/6. 2008. GY Nordrhein-Westfalen, p. 117, M4). (In Germany, wind energy plants are now being installed everywhere. This is due to the fact that attractive subsidies/tax incentives are offered. Cf. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit. Nationale Klimapolitik. 2007. http://www.bmu.de/klimaschutz/nationale_klimapolitik/doc/39913.php, accessed 2011-2-5). Through their mere existence, however, these alternative concepts for solving energy problems suggest that creativity is being directed toward practicable solutions for preserving a world that is worth living in. 4.6 Sustainable Development—Basics and Objectives A few textbooks also offer a theoretical basis for the concept of sustainable development. One such example is presented in a textbook for grade 10. First the internationally-accepted definitions and objectives are stated (Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, 1987; World Summits in Rio 1992 and Johannesburg 2002; Millennium Development Goals 2000). Then it is shown that the three parameters, ecology, economy, and society are equal in value and influence each other reciprocally. In the text used in this classroom lesson, however, ecology is in the foreground. The topics covered are ecological consumption, preservation of nature and the climate. Even emotional aspects such as enjoying nature are touched upon (Seydlitz Geographie 10. 2008. GY Bayern, pp. 164-165). After informing students about the fundamentals and objectives in the first lesson of this topic, the next lesson focuses on the consequences that the individual is to draw. The example of the ecological footprint is used in this case. A drawing makes it clear that the ecological footprint is larger than the Earth. It is assumed by definition that the footprint relates to an area required for sustaining today’s standard of living. The implication is, if this drawing were true, the downfall of mankind would be unavoidable. This example shows that some concepts are used that imply frightening scenarios. However, the concept of the ecological footprint does not consider future scientific advances. One could, for example, calculate how much paper would be required to provide all of the world’s students with the all the books required for school (textbooks, non-fiction books, reference books). The result would be that all of the world’s forests collectively would not be sufficient for producing this much paper. Today, 6
  12. 12. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   modern Internet technologies are available to nearly everyone not only as a source of extensive reference information in all fields, in addition, content is continually updated. Consumption of paper is thus much lower than the ecological footprint suggests it would have to be. Examples relating to student’s everyday life unmistakably call for personal contributions to sustainability. For example, it is stated that one Google search consumes as much electricity as operating a low-energy lamp for one hour. In the same textbook, the student is told to search for information on the Internet. What is the student supposed to do? (Seydlitz Geographie 10. 2008. GY Bayern, pp. 166-167). 4.7 Developing Visions of the Future: Living in the City of Tomorrow A look into the future is intended to already instill a spirit of optimism in the young generation of students. With the support of an illustration taken from a fifth grade Geography textbook students as early as the age of 11 are prompted to think about how we might move around in the city of tomorrow. This illustration presents some ideas. Environment-friendly means of transportation dominate traffic: bicycles can be rented, electric rental cars are used for carpooling, or one can take a streetcar or ride a scooter to one’s destination. The sun provides energy for space heating and generating electricity in the “green city”. The future therefore does not mean doing without, but rather promises a high quality of life for all generations (TERRA Geographie 5. 2003. GY Bayern, pp. 150-151, Fig. 1). 5. EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT—AN ONGOING TASK If one summarizes the results of the textbook analysis on Education for Sustainable Development, it becomes evident that ESD is often equated with environmental education. In the concept of sustainability, the three pillars – economy, ecology, and society – are equal in value. The textbooks, however, focus on ecology. In this context, doing without is often called 7
  13. 13. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   for, e.g., private transport. This must be seen critically, when doing without would impair the economic development of people and nations. This is the case in the example of the tropical rainforest, where people are implicitly accused of being incapable of engaging in efficient utilization of forest resources. One positive aspect that must be pointed out is that textbooks underscore human ingenuity. This involves intelligent utilization of available resources on the one hand and development of new technologies on the other. Textbooks also call for a change in behavior, usually without directly stating that one should do without something such as one’s own automobile, for example. But a simple call to “do without” will probably have little tangible impact. One must redefine the value associated with doing without to such an extent that the concept no longer involves an inherent loss in quality of life. Voluntarily doing without something is readily acceptable for us when new ideas and technologies such as regenerative energy or the Internet permit further development of our sphere of experience without increasing the consumption of resources in the process. Here we must cease assessing the concept “quality of life” in strictly quantitative and primarily material terms. One future-oriented approach to this could involve abandoning the practice of ascribing so much importance to the economic value of material goods in favor of carefully reassessing the importance of quality of life. This approach is already cautiously suggested in some textbooks, it must, however, be expanded. Acknowledgements: Translation by Daniel Hamann, M.A. Textbooks analyzed for this paper were made available by the publishing houses Klett-Perthes, Gotha and Stuttgart and Georg Westermann, Braunschweig. Permission to use illustration kindly granted by the publisher Klett-Perthes. References: Bahr, M. 2007. Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung – ein Handlungsfeld (auch) für den Geographieunterricht?! Praxis Geographie: 37 (9): 10-12. Bednarz, S.W., Bednarz, R.S., Petersen, J.F. 2006. Intercultural Dialogue on Educational Approaches to Sustainable Development: United States. Changes in Geographical Education: Past, Present and Future, ed. Purnell, K., Lidstone, J., Hodgson, S., 63-67. Brisbane: QUT Publications and Printing. Bullinger, R., Hieber, U., Lenz, T.2005. Das Geographiebuch – ein (un)verzichtbares Medium(!)? Didaktische Funktionen und Grenzen eines traditionellen Mediums. geographie heute 26, Vol. 135: 67-71. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit. Nationale Klimapolitik. 2007. http://www.bmu.de/klimaschutz/nationale_klimapolitik/doc/39913.php, accessed 2011-2-5. Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, Ständige Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (KMK) (Eds.). Orientierungsrahmen für den Lernbereich Globale Entwicklung. 2007. Bonn, Berlin. De Haan, G. 2007. Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung als Handlungsfeld. Praxis Geographie: 37 (9): 4-9. Empfehlung der Ständigen Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (KMK) und der Deutschen UNESCO-Kommission (DUK) vom 15.06.2007 8
  14. 14. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   zur „Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung in der Schule“. http://www.kmk.org/fileadmin/veroeffentlichungen_beschluesse/2007/2007_06_15Bildung-nachhaltige-Entwicklung.pdf, accessed 2010-4-26. Hamann, B. 2004. Das Weltbild in US-amerikanischen High School “World Geography” – Lehrwerken. Eine geographiedidaktische Untersuchung mit Fokussierung auf den Kulturraum Europa. Erlangen. Haubrich, H., Reinfried, S., Schleicher, Y. 2007. Lucerne Declaration on Geographical Education for Sustainable Development. In Reinfried, S., Schleicher, Y., Rempfler, A. (Eds.): Geographical Views on Education for Sustainable Development. Proceedings of the Lucerne-Symposium, Switzerland, July 29-31, 2007. Geographiedidaktische Forschungen, Vol. 42: 243 - 250. Kernlehrplan für das Gymnasium – Sekundarstufe I (G8) in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Erdkunde. 2007. http://www.ritterbach.de/lp_online/3408g8.pdf, accessed 2010-4-26. Lexikon der Nachhaltigkeit. Hans Carl von Carlowitz. http://www.nachhaltigkeit.info/artikel/hans_carl_von_carlowitz_1713_1393.htm, accessed 2011-2-5. Lexikon der Nachhaltigkeit. http://www.nachhaltigkeit.info/artikel/nachhaltigkeit_1398.htm, accessed 2010-4-26. Lucerne Declaration on Geographical Education for Sustainable Development. Cf. Haubrich, H., Reinfried, S., Schleicher, Y. 2007. Manik, S. 2008. (En)viable Attempts at Addressing Education for Sustainable Development Through New Geography Textbooks in Post-Apartheid South Africa? International Textbook Research: Vol. 30 (2): 621-638. Marsden, W.E. 2001. The School Textbook: Geography, History and Social Studies. London: Woburn Press. Mayring, Ph. 2008. Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlage und Techniken. Weinheim: Beltz. Mikk, J. 2000. Textbook: Research and Writing. Frankfurt a. Main: Peter Lang. Pingel, F. 1999. UNESCO Guidebook on Textbook Research and Textbook Revision. Studien zur internationalen Schulbuchforschung, Vol. 103. Our Common Future, Chapter 2: Towards Sustainable Development. 1999. From A/42/427. Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development http://www.un-documents.net/ocf-02.htm, accessed 2010-4-26. Rolfes, M. 2002. (Vor-)Wissen, Hypothesen und Kategorien in qualitativen Forschungsprozessen. Kanwischer, D., Rhode-Jüchtern, T. (Eds.): Qualitative Forschungsmethoden in der Geographiedidaktik. Geographiedidaktische Forschungen, Vol. 35: 53-72. Schnauss, M. 2007. Ökologischer Fußabdruck als Indikator für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Praxis Geographie: 37 (9): 45-49. Staatsinstitut für Schulqualität und Bildungsforschung München. Lehrplan Gymnasium G8. 2004. Fachprofil Geographie. http://www.isb-gym8lehrplan.de/contentserv/3.1.neu/g8.de/index.php?StoryID=26546, accessed 2010-4-26. UN Conference on Environment and Development 1992. http://www.nachhaltigkeit.info/artikel/weltgipfel_rio_de_janeiro_1992_539.htm, accessed 2010-4-26. 9
  15. 15. D.Boehn- B.Hamann / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011)   UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs. Division for Sustainable Development. Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.2005. http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/WSSD_POI_PD/English/POIToc.htm, accessed 2010-4-26. UNESCO and Sustainable Development. 2005. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001393/139369e.pdf, accessed 2010-4-26 United Nations Development Programme. Millennium Development Goals. 2000. http://www.undp.org/mdg/basics.shtml, accessed 2010-4-26. Weinbrenner, Peter (1995): Grundlagen und Methodenprobleme sozialwissenschaftlicher Schulbuchforschung. In: Olechowski, Richard (Hrsg.): Schulbuchforschung. Frankfurt a. M. = Schule – Wissenschaft – Politik. Schriften zur Didaktik der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften. Vol. 10: 21-45. Textbooks: This list includes all textbooks investigated; an asterisk (*) denotes those textbooks cited in this article. Abbreviations: GS Grundschule (primary school); GY = Gymnasium (academic high school in Germany). Diercke Erdkunde 5. 2005. GY Bayern. Westermann. Diercke Geographie 7. 2005. GY Bayern. Westermann. Diercke Geographie 8. 2006. GY Bayern. Westermann. Diercke Geographie 10. 2008. GY Bayern. Westermann. Diercke Geographie 7. 2004. GY Sachsen. Westermann. Diercke Geographie 8. 2005. GY Sachsen. Westermann. Diercke Geographie 9. 2006. GY Sachsen. Westermann.* Diercke Geographie 10. 2007. GY Sachsen. Westermann. Heimat- und Sachunterricht 4. 2004. GS Bayern, Jo-Jo. Cornelsen.* Heimat und Welt 5. 2004. GY Sachsen. Westermann. Heimat und Welt 6. 2007. GY Sachsen. Westermann. Mensch und Raum 5/6. 2008. GY Nordrhein-Westfalen. Cornelsen.* Mensch und Raum 7/8. 2008. GY Nordrhein-Westfalen. Cornelsen. Seydlitz/Diercke Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern. Schroedel/Westermann.* Seydlitz Geographie 5. 2003. GY Bayern. Schroedel. Seydlitz Geographie 7. 2004. GY Bayern. Schroedel. Seydlitz Geographie 8. 2006. GY Bayern. Schroedel. Seydlitz Geographie 10. 2008. GY Bayern. Schroedel.* Seydlitz Geographie 5/6. 2008. GY Niedersachsen. Schroedel. Seydlitz Geographie 7/8. 2009. GY Niedersachsen. Schroedel. Seydlitz Geographie 9/10. 2008. GY Niedersachsen. Schroedel.* Seydlitz Geographie 1. 2008. Nordrhein-Westfalen. Schroedel. Seydlitz Geographie 2. 2009. Nordrhein-Westfalen. Schroedel. TERRA Geographie 5. 2003. GY Bayern. Klett.* TERRA Geographie 7. 2005. GY Bayern. Klett. TERRA Geographie 8. 2006. GY Bayern. Klett. TERRA Geographie 10. 2008. GY Bayern. Klett. TERRA Geographie 11. 2009. GY Bayern. Klett.* 10
  16. 16. European Journal of Geography 1: 54-75, 2011. © Association of European Geographers CHANGING PARADIGMS OF GEOGRAPHY Kostis C. KOUTSOPOULOS National Technical University of Athens,Geography and Regional Planning, Zographou Campus, 15780 Athens, Greece, koutsop@survey.ntua.gr Abstract Nowadays for an appropriate, way to deal with geographic space there is an axiomatic need to accept an integrated approach both in terms of the way we regard geographic space and how we investigate it. This leads to a two-prong position: First, that geographic space constitutes a dialectic entity and second that the spatial methodological approaches presently in use are now absolute. That is, Geography has recently undergone a paradigm shift from Geoinformatics, which in their own way have replaced traditional concepts, towards an integrating approach, bringing Geography into a new paradigm, called in this paper Choroinformatics. Keywords: Geography, Paradigm, Multidisciplinarity, Integration. 1. INTRODUCTION In epistemology, in the last few years, important differentiations have occurred related to the way we view the problems of sciences as well as their basic principles. The most important of these differentiations are the changes in the way we regard:  Environment: from an externally given creation to the faith that an ecosystem exists as an independent natural and cultural process.  Location: from the acceptance of the uniqueness of geographic location to the admission of interdependence of phenomena in geographic space.  Geographic space: from the assumption that the phenomena exist in order to be discovered to the perception that they constitute social constructs, our own creations. The last perception is of particular importance, because it clearly shows the need for a social epistemology of Geography, as the science of geographic space. All scientists accept that the way we practice our science is limited almost exclusively by our "myths". These myths work as lights that illuminate our fields of perception, allowing us to have a clear picture of only certain problems and not seeing the others, while simultaneously they give
  17. 17. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) us the intellectual calm we need, since the judgments we make are revealed in our mind as reflections of the objective reality. If this is the case, then a major concern in any scientific discipline will be the sources of its myths. Most scientists accept the notion that all sciences should satisfy certain functional conditions that qualify their nature and require systematic ways in order to satisfy basic methodological needs. These conditions and needs in turn are the result of values that the scientific community accepts and they constitute the basis for the way each member and the community as a whole faces the world and acts. It is essentially this system of values that justifies the other acts and provides the motive force, creating what is particular and differentiating for each science. From this perspective, it should be clear that if we are to establish the right approach in considering geographic space, it is necessary to face the reality of our myths. Because in this way we contribute creatively in the achievement of our scientific objectives, which in turn constitute an inseparable part of our scientific envisagement of space as well as of our methodological approaches. What we need therefore is the means to determine the scientific approach that will clarify our myths, justify our values and provide the framework for us to face the issues encompassed in the term “geographic space”. As a result, the question that we need to ask in the current academic and socioeconomic situation is: which are the "myths" and the "values" with which we have to scientifically approach geographic space? Unambiguously and categorically, I would like to declare that at the centre of the scientific approach towards geographic space, should be the concept of integration, as this constitutes the source of our myths and values not only in terms of the way geographic space is regarded, but also with respect to the methodologies of spatial investigation. This leads us to the position that present approaches to geographic space, known as the Geoinformatics paradigm, are now absolute and we find ourselves in the period of Choroinformatics. More specifically, the position presented here is simple in its explanation, but radical when considered in terms of the current practices of Geographers. That is, Geographers have the scientific background which allows them to examine the surface of the earth, to analyze spatial patterns and processes and finally to present the results of these analyses to enhance scientifically sound and efficient planning. But these processes cannot be dealt with unless we accept the fact that they represent different manifestations of “a whole”, the dialectic entity of geographic space. Therefore, an integrated approach towards geographic space is required, an approach that is not possible without the help of Choroinformatics. The term Choroinformatics can be defined as being composed of two components: Choros + Informatics. The component “choros” (space) refers to the integrated dimension of geographic space, when considering the use of information technology. This is equally important with the integrated efficiency of informatics, the second component, and consequently implies that an integrated approach in considering geographic space is imperative. But understanding such an approach to geographic space is possible only through an examination of the nature and the evolution of Geography, which in turn determines how we perceive geographic space as well as how we investigate it. However, these two dimensions have recently been involved in changes representing what epistemologist Thomas Khun (1962) has termed paradigm shifts and which “are not rare events in subjects like Geography” (Openshaw 1991, 621). As a result, it is necessary to examine the current consideration of space and the approaches of investigating it as well as the way they have reached their present form. 2
  18. 18. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) 2. CONSIDERATION OF GEOGRAPHIC SPACE The way we view geographic space has altered in the last 60 years following changes in the way we consider development, for space and development are the two sides of the same coin of societal concern. Indeed, even a cursory review indicates that our interest in the spatial dimension is inevitably connected with society’s approach to growth and development, which is briefly examined next. 2.1 Monodisciplinary approach For some years following World War II, growth or development constituted the main objective of all countries and political systems. It consisted of a single dimension, the economic. That is, location was a variable that society systematically ignored and considered it as a factor that was not worth taking into consideration in development planning. Moreover, under this perspective, every particular science would be concerned with its own subject area. As a result, concern for geographic space was treated, like most subjects at that time, in a monodisciplinary manner. In other words, the spatial aspects of geographic space represented the exclusive subject matter of Geographers who were the only ones that could offer the methods, techniques and knowledge to handle the spatial dimension. In this monodisciplinary approach geographic space was faced by the scientists of every science through their “exclusive” disciplinary paradigm, creating a “fragmented” space. In the case of Geographers they followed the well known and long lasting traditional paradigm. 2.2 Multidisciplinary approach It was the strong questioning of these practices by the scientific community that resulted in the development of an alternative to monodisciplinary considerations. In the 1970’s with the standard-bearer Brundtland UN committee, development was considered to be as the one, which satisfies the needs of the present, without sacrificing the needs of future generations, introducing, therefore the concept of sustainable development. In addition, the significance of geographic space was recognized and the notion of location acquired a place at the centre of human activities and interests. This led to a multidisciplinary approach towards geographic space. Under this perspective, development was treated as if it consisted of the sum of all the distinct parts of a multidimensional spatial, social, environmental and economic reality. In other words, because human knowledge necessitates “abstractions” of reality, geographic space was expressed in the form of a set of separate relations, interdependences and interactions, creating a “sustainable” geographic space. But this notion of a sustainable-multidimensional space requiring a multidisciplinary approach forms the basis of the geography paradigm presently in use, known as Geoinformatics. 2.3 Interdisciplinary approach It is my strong belief that today this multidisciplinary approach cannot be acceptable anymore. It is suggested that a need exists for an integrated approach which is simultaneously ecological, economic, social, technical/technological, political and cultural, in dialectic harmony and respecting all aspects of geographic space (natural and man-made), an integral part of which are people. For as Openshaw (1991, 622) has stated the “basis for the integration is purely 3
  19. 19. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) geographical”, stressing the fact that “the holistic nature of the space-time data model is simply Geography”. In other words, it can be argued that an integrated approach is required in order to express the multidimensional relationships and interdependencies of all the factors that constitute the specific entities or parts of geographic space, which is the ‘whole’. As a result, an interdisciplinary approach is required, which leads towards the integration of all possible approaches in order to overcome the compartmentalization of knowledge. However, such a regard of geographic space establishes an “integrated” space and leads towards a new paradigm in Geography, named in this paper choroinformatics. It should be obvious, therefore, that there has been a continuous evolution in the ways that we regard geographic space. It commenced with a disregard of space, resulting in a “fragmented” space, the basis for the traditional paradigm in Geography. It then evolved into considering space as a fundamental component of development, creating a “sustainable” space and necessitating the geoinformatics paradigm. It has resulted in the present notion that all geographic entities and factors constitute a dialectic unit, an organic “whole”, establishing an “integrated” space, the foundation of choroinformatics the new geography paradigm (Koutsopoulos, 2005). 3. GEOGRAPHIC METHODOLOGY Methodology provides tools for geographers, but “which of them are used?”, “what they are used for?” and “how to make best use of them?”, depends on the attitudes and mind set of the users and the way they regard geographic space. As a result, in the integrated consideration of Geography, in order to describe, analyze and comprehend geographic space, a corresponding integrated methodological approach will be required. That is, the methodological tools used in examining geographic space have also undergone an evolutionary process of change, which has been driven by the increased necessity of integration. The key to understanding these changes, however, is the appreciation of the swift changes in our discipline from an old model filled with traditional methods to another anchored in computer technology and finally to a new one where integration plays the central or the determining role. Therefore, it is suggested that geographic methodology has, in the span of a half century, undergone the following transformations. 3.1 Traditional model The traditional model, which lasted until a few years after the end of WWII, was very simple, it was derived from manual, analytical, and hand-crafted theory-based approaches, reconciling social and spatial sciences and performed exclusively by and for geographers. It started with observations and data capture and ended usually with a map as the final output. In other words, using qualitative or quantitative methods, widely accepted in our discipline (i.e. fieldwork, photogrammetry, remove sensing etc.), the data was collected, processed and analyzed, terminating in presenting the information derived, using various maps (Figure1) This model, of course, represents the methodological tools of the traditional paradigm of Geography. Observing & Data Capture Presentation & Mapping Processing & Analysis 4
  20. 20. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) Figure 1: The traditional approach 3.2 Computer technology model The increased use of microprocessors altered the traditional model creating a new one based on computer technology. It was accepted by academics and professionals alike that Geographers had to be in the information business (or no business at all) and all their tasks in the field, the lab or the office had to be accomplished by utilizing informatics. This resulted in the emergence of a new computational geography in the context of a world of computers and cybernetic thinking. Geographers had to cope with data-driven and computer-based, knowledge-creating technologies. This model included three distinct and independent approaches, namely: Processing, Analyzing and Planning (Figure 2), instead of the one-phase traditional model (Koutsopoulos, 2008). Spatial Data Spatial Information Processing Analyzing Planning Spatial Data Spatial Information Data Capture Users Figure 2: The computer technology approach More specifically, the first independent approach, processing, changed the ways data was captured and processed, by acquiring it in digital form and by setting the mechanisms for data storage, processing and manipulation. These changes resulted in an information system replacing the map of the traditional paradigm. As a result, the outcome generated contained digital “layers” of diverse land or human-related spatial data. The second independent approach, analysing, was the process of transforming spatial data to spatial information and was related to a spectrum of methods and processes that could come to 5
  21. 21. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) fruitful completion mainly through the help of informatics. It was for this reason that this approach occupied schematically and in real terms the centre of the informatics model, as it was demonstrated in the work of many Geographers (i.e. Openshaw, 1990, 1991; Fischer, 1991 Goodchild, M. F., 1991). Planning was the third independent approach and was related to the effective use of spatial information in providing solutions to everyday spatial problems and issues. These tasks, however, required effective tools for decision making that could not be accomplished without the help of informatics. These three distinct approaches represent the current quiver of methodological tools available to Geographers, which characterize and support the geoinformatics paradigm in use in the past few years. 3.3 Integration model The three approaches of the computer technology model (processing, analysing and planning) are considered by Geographers as independent and conflicting endeavours (Koutsopoulos, 2008,). However, such an approach is clearly scientifically shallow, logically unsound and mainly lacking in the necessary integration required in the more complicated, but mainly dialectic present day scientific and societal environment. Certainly, within the computer technology model, the techniques can be considered as information systems but they are not exclusively utilized as such. The same is true in terms of their application as analytic or planning tools. Clearly, they are involved in planning but are not only planning tools. They are spatial analysis methods, but they are not only that. A Geographer can certainly design informative maps using these methods, but that does not exclude a researcher from executing a very complicated spatial analysis with them. That is, the three approaches of the computer technology model are scientific fields, which have as common background their spatial dimension. But most importantly, they are closely interrelated and not independent, inadvertently complementary and not conflicting and thus they can be integrated into an organic “whole” (Koutsopoulos, 2005). As a result, they should be considered as components of an integrated spatial approach representing different manifestations of a holistic methodology, the foundation of choroinformatics, the new paradigm of Geography. From the previous discussion, it should be clear that the integration model approaches, although similar to those of the computer technology model, in addressing spatial issues differ in one significant aspect. More specifically, they represent the pieces of a holistic and integrating framework by providing an information system domain within which virtually all of Geography can be performed. This dialectic model, by emphasizing a holistic view of Geography, is broader than data or informatics; it is open rather than closed; it can accommodate pluralistic research styles; and offers no restrictions on subject matter or approach. As a result, the ideas expressed by such diverse researchers as Geertman, 1997; Goodchild, 1991; Maquire, 1991; Openshaw, 1991 and Tomlin, 1991, who have practiced different aspects of informatics, have simply presented the participating parts of the three integrated stages of our new holistic model (Figure 3). 6
  22. 22. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) Data Capture Processing Spatial Information Analyzing Spatial Data Planning Users Figure 3: The integration approach It should be clear that changes in the spatial tools utilized have also taken place. They started from traditional methods (a mix of quantitative and qualitative tools), resulting in a single phased methodological model expressing the traditional paradigm. They changed into computer-based, knowledge-creating technologies forming a computer technology model, the basis of the geoinformatics paradigm. They ended in the present day integration techniques establishing a holistic-dialectic model, the foundation of the choroinformatics paradigm. 4. THE NEW PARADIGM OF GEOGRAPHY In summary, it is suggested that in the last few years our discipline, through two parallel changes in the way geographic space is perceived and is investigated, has gone through two paradigm shifts. That is to say, from the traditional paradigm characterized by a monodisciplinary approach to geographic space and traditional spatial methods, to the geoinformatics paradigm represented by a multidisciplinary approach to space and informatics and finally to the new choroinformatics paradigm expressed by an interdisciplinary approach and integration as shown in Figure 4. 7
  23. 23. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) APPROACH TO GEOSPACE REGARD OF GEOSPACE PARADIGM MONO DISCIPLINARY FRAGMENTED TRADITIONAL MULTI DISCIPLINARY SUSTAINABLE INTER DISCIPLINARY INEGRATED METHODOLOGY APPROACH TO METHODS QUALITATIVE / QUANTITATIVE TRADITIONAL GEO INFORMATICS INFORMATICS COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY CHORO INFORMATICS HOLISTIC INTEGRATION Figure 4: Paradigm Changes This new paradigm is based on two pillars- interdisciplinarity and integration- embedded in a foundation of informatics. That is, choroinformatics can be defined as the process of answering spatial questions, solving regional problems, or addressing geographic topics which can not be dealt with adequately by a simple independent mono or multidiscipline approach. But most importantly, in approaching these spatial issues choroinformatics draw on various perspectives that express multidimensional relations and interdependencies of the elements that constitute or represent specific entities or parts of the problem, topic, or question under consideration. For these are simultaneously ecological, economic, social, technical-technological, political and cultural. In this way organic integrations and not mechanistic sums are achieved, through the construction of a holistic perspective, based on modern day tools and in dialectic harmony with man and geographic space. As a result, choroinformatics is not a simple supplement but is corrective of the geoinformatics paradigm. The basic philosophical and methodological issues of choroinformatics, however, are not new to Geography. Historical precedents date from the classical era, in the model of Plato’s academy to the nineteenth century, in the integrative theory of von Humboldt, and finally to the present work of many Geographers and other scientists (Harvey, 1969; Fisher, 1991; Klein, 1996). All of which, however, emphasise either interdisciplinarity or integration, ignoring the possibility that a combination is necessary in order to meet the pressing weight of social and technological problems, the urgent demands on the environment and society, the breakthroughs in research, and the required scholarship. 4.1 The case for the new paradigm In closing this brief presentation, I shall identify and rebuke three of the arguments regarding choroinformatics as they have developed in an ongoing discussion the last few years within the HERODOT network for Geography. First, a basic argument presented by those used to work within past paradigms, is that choroinformatics rest on a conceptual confusion or as professor Benson (1998) has stated 8
  24. 24. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) “integrated studies are a fool’s project, propounding equations where all terms are unknown.” However, choroinformatics as a connection between integration and interdisciplinarity should be understood as representing the confrontation of Geographers with the world, be it a spatial problem, an event or even a question. But out of this phenomenological confrontation rises a situation which is too broad to be handled by a mono or multidisciplinary approach and traditional or informatics models, with no regard for the holistic nature of that world. That is, the purpose of choroinformatics is more than just to address questions that transect discipline boundaries or integrating insights or methods to illuminate spatial issues. It involves an articulate spectrum of principles to help Geographers to determine when and how to confront the world by seeking out a holistic approach to interrelations and interdependencies. Second, there has been the claim that all forms of the integrated-interdisciplinary approach advanced in this paper are attempts to solve problems that do not really exist. Given, however, that the IDS task force findings have confirmed beyond any doubt that knowledge, including spatial knowledge, has become increasingly interdisciplinary, we need to redefine and redirect the way we approach it. Therefore, the previous claim is not valid for the simple reason that the issue is not the problems themselves, which always exist, but the way we approach them. Finally, another misunderstanding that has been presented in connection with the proposed paradigm is that integration and interdisciplinarity are attempts to create discipline generalists. It is self evident that one cannot improve a situation in which there are people who know everything about nothing (a well known definition of the specialist), by urging that we must now move to a situation in which we have people who know nothing about everything. The position advanced here is that the natural and socioeconomic reality represents an unbroken dialectic entity of multidimensional and intricate relations as well as interdependencies of elements, phenomena and actions. Thus, a different approach in examining and teaching that reality is required, resulting in an approach characterized by a holistic knowledge that people should have (which is neither everything nor nothing) and pertaining to specific aspects of a given dialectic entity. 5. THE ROLE OF THE NEW PARADIGM Based on the previous discussion on the changes that have taken place in our science and the existence of a new paradigm, a basic question arises: what is the role that our discipline can now play in the realms of sciences and society? In a scientific community, where every discipline has raised defensive boundaries to defend its purity and importance, Geography offers an interdisciplinary base which can be used to address the integrated issues of our community. Indeed, the distinct and independent contributions of each individual discipline do not lead any more towards scientifically sound approaches. To the contrary, there is a need for a unifying base, a common language for all disciplines to communicate with each other, something that the new geography paradigm can offer. Moreover, in a society that continuously demands increasing speciality, the science of Geography offers the necessary integration, which is the only way to solve its problems. I would thus contend that the approach to societal problems has to be simultaneously ecological, economic, social, political and cultural and so on, in a dialectic harmony with nature and man, something that Geography’s new paradigm can certainly provide. 9
  25. 25. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) REFERENCES Fisher, F.P. 1991. Spatial data sources and data problems. In Geographical Information Systems: principles and applications, M.J. Maguire et al, eds. London: Longman, 1, 175-89. Geertman, S. 1997. Geographical information technology as a planning tool. Proceedings of the third Joint European Conference on GIS , Vienna. Goodchild, M.F. The technological setting of GIS. In Geographical Information Systems: principles and applications, M.J. Maguire et al, eds. London: Longman. Klein, T.J. 1996. Crossing Boundaries Knowledge, Disciplinarities, and Interdisciplinarities London: Longman Koutsopoulos, K.C. 2005. Integrated approach to development. The case of GIS. In Space and development: dialectic relationships and interdisciplinary approaches, D. Rokos, ed. Athens: Enallaktikes Ekdosis, 211-226. Koutsopoulos, K.C. 2008. What’s European about European geography? The case of Geoinformatics in Europeanization. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 32 (1): 7-15. Kuhn, S.T. 1962. The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Maguire, D.J. 1991. An overview and definition of GIS. In Geographical Information Systems: principles and applications, M.J. Maguire et al, eds. London: Longman. Openshaw, S. 1991. A view on the GIS crisis in geography, or, using GIS to put HumptyDumpty back together again. Environment and Planning A 23, 621-628. Openshaw, S. 1994. GIS crimes and spatial analysis. Proceedings of GIS and Public Policy Conference in Ulster Business School. UK: Ulster. Openshaw, S. 1991. Developing appropriate spatial analysis methods for GIS. In Geographical Information Systems: principles and applications, M.J. Maguire et al, eds. London: Longman. Openshaw, S. 1990. Towards a spatial analysis research strategy for the regional research laboratory initiative. In Geographical information management: methodology and application, J. Masser and M.J. Blakemore, eds. London: Longman. Tomlin, D.C. 1991. Cartographic modelling. In Geographical Information Systems: principles and applications, M.J. Maguire et al, eds. London: Longman. 10
  26. 26. K.C. Koutsopoulos / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) Planning 11
  27. 27. European Journal of Geography © Association of European Geographers CHALLENGES, EXPECTATIONS AND REALITY: THE ADAPTATION OF A GEOGRAPHY DEGREE TO THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA Mireia BAYLINA Department of Geography, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain, mireia.baylina@uab.es Maria VILLANUEVA Department of Geography, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain, Maria.Villanueva@uab.es Abstract After the Sorbonne Declaration, the idea of a European Higher Education Area was launched, and universities have been pushed into a restructuring process with a strong emphasis on quality and excellence. In Spain, the focus on graduate employability impelled academics and professionals towards the formulation of a White Book on the state and the future of Geography in Higher Education (2004). This has been a useful tool concerning the general debate on the design of new university degrees within European regulations. This was the case at the department of Geography at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), where a three-year pilot program was undertaken, aiming to test the Bologna system before setting up and validating the new degrees. The outcomes of the White Book and of the pilot experience, proved to be very useful. The academic year 2009-10 began with a new Bachelors degree course in Geography and Regional Planning, a Spanish adaptation to European (Bologna) regulations. Although the short time that has elapsed since then makes it difficult to undertake a full evaluation of the process and reflect on its outcomes and impacts, the whole issue of reform is raising controversy leading to the reluctance to initiate further change, due mainly to the lack of internal debate about the process of change that apparently seems to be a response to global economic demands rather than academic ones. This paper analyzes the impact of the process in Spain, and specifically, in the Geography degree at UAB. Keywords: Geography, European Higher Education Area, Bologna, Spain 1. SPANISH GEOGRAPHY ON THE WAY TO CONVERGENCE: A COMPLEX PROCESS The document Towards an open European area for Higher Education, or Sorbonne Declaration, launched the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) as a key element to promote citizens' mobility and employability, and the continent's overall development (Bologna Declaration, 1999). The initiative, followed by the joint declaration of the Ministers
  28. 28. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) of Education in Bologna, is considered to be the starting point for the integration of all European graduates in a single labour market (European Commission, 1999). For universities, it meant a challenge to face new needs and demands. In short, it was addressed to the achievement of the Lisbon Summit aims (European Commission, 2000) to become a competitive and knowledge-based economy at a world level. At that time, the competitiveness of European universities was said to be smaller than it should have been (European Commission, 2003). Since 1999, European universities have been facing a restructuring process with strong pressure placed on their quality. Research, innovation, transfer and diffusion of knowledge have been the fundamental base of the reforms; the free mobility of students, teachers and staff as well as the use of new technologies and lifelong learning activities are its main strategies. All these changes place the emphasis on the employability of graduates. For decades, university degrees have been a passport for success in the professional world because of the selective character of higher education. The last thirty years has brought an increasing number of students to universities in Europe. This led to the threat of falling standards, and a reduction in the acquisition of deep competences within a specific field and related to the ideals of a university education firmly rooted in the European tradition. In Spanish universities the new model represents also a dramatic shift in learning and teaching approaches as they have transformed structures from the monolithic model in which, in general terms, the transmission of knowledge had predominantly been in teacher’s hands. The new scenario demands new competences and skills, which means that students have to assume an active role in the processing of information and the teacher becomes a facilitator in the learning process (Noguera, 2004). The first consequence of the ‘Bologna Process’ has been an adaptation of curriculum, to create a structure of studies based on the definition of graduate’s competences, a complex and difficult negotiation. These changes have not been introduced without discussion (Novoa and Lawn, 2002; Noguera, 2004; Tomusk, 2005). The nature of ‘university’ and its objectives in the context of current global system needs, have had to be redefined, though university courses should not only be an automatic answer to the demands of the labour market. A balance should be sought between development of knowledge and professional skills and competences. The university should keep its fundamental role as the place where research, intellectual debate and critical thinking sustain the creation of knowledge. The university is not a business (Delanty, 2001) but in recent years, it has become perceived as more and more legitimate as a result of economic development and through private funding, as expressed in Lisbon Convention (2000). In this strategy, there does not seem to be room for other models based on ideas of popular education and egalitarianism (Halvorsen and Nyhagen, 2005). The Bologna Process indicated rapid changes in a short time, but it could be argued that it largely represents an external force for internal reform. The pressure to “fabricate a European workforce” (Novoa, 2002), increased criticism of the reforms in Spanish universities. The reluctance to change should not be considered as simple resistance to changes; on the contrary, they have been criticisms of the objectives of the reform, underlining the weak points of a process that seems to be more committed to the employers’ interests than concerned with intellectual activity itself. Larsen (2006) raises questions such as ‘What is the real objective of a bachelor degree? Is it a launching pad for further Masters specialization? Who is gaining from this process, and at whose expense?’. To this end, the survey developed by the European University Association and carried out in sixty two European universities, concluded that although there was a general agreement on the need for reform, this agreement was far too general when talking about how to implement it (Reichert & Tauch, 2005).
  29. 29. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) The introduction of the new structure has not been easily accepted either by staff or students, and radical positions have blossomed in many Spanish universities, especially in Barcelona and Madrid, where the academic life in some faculties has been disturbed or interrupted for weeks in 2009 (García, 2009; EFE, 2009; Playà, 2009; Chávarri, 2010). The arguments against the process of change also focus on the lack of internal debate and the weak participation of the main stakeholders involved in the debate (staff and students) to redefine the role of universities. On the contrary, it has been perceived by many to be the pressure of the global economy on the European Higher Education Area, through standardization and against diversity (Kwiek, 2001). This paper analyses the impact and development of the Bologna Process in the Geography degree at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). It describes how the route to convergence has been a complex process of six years of work that has produced a White Book on the state and the future of Geography in Spain, a pilot experience and the final creation of the new Bachelors degree in Geography and Regional Planning. 2. WHAT KIND OF GEOGRAPHY FOR FUTURE GEOGRAPHERS? In 2003, the launching of the Bologna Process provided the opportunity for research aiming to formulate a White Book on the state and the future of Geography in Spanish Higher Education. The global aim of the study was to gain a deeper insight into the current situation and to provide the foundations for a common framework for all Spanish Geography degrees, by looking at other experiences in Europe. The project, funded by the National Agency on Evaluation, Quality and Accreditation (ANECA), involved all twenty six Geography departments in Spain and the main professional subject associations, under the leadership of the UAB and the University of Valencia. The initiative coincided with the launching of the Tuning survey by the HERODOT Network (Donert, 2007). Both projects have been closely related as their aims were to establish a common, agreed basis for general and specific competences in Geography, taking into account the opinions of the main stakeholders (univeristy teachers, students and employers). The work, ambitious and difficult, consisted of three parallel actions starting with an analysis of all Spanish geography degrees (their academic organization, curriculum content, evolution of numbers of students ….) and the evaluation of the generic and specific competences given to learners by the curriculum at that time. The second action focused on the study of other European Geography degrees (United Kingdom, Italy, France, The Netherlands and Portugal). The third one consisted of the development of a survey addressed to academics and professionals to create a definition of the main professional profiles produced through Geography. The main outcomes of this research were used as the basis of a new common curricular framework for all the Spanish departments (Tulla, 2004). 2.1. The definition of professional profiles and competences The main research instrument was a questionnaire survey, designed to gather the opinions of all sectors involved in Geography. The starting point was based on the following questions: What kinds of jobs are Geographers doing and how will it be in the future? and, What kind of training do Geography students need to be able to work in these jobs? From this analysis, six different professional profiles were established (see Table 1) and the survey, adapted to these profiles, was sent to university teachers, employers and former students (who had graduated more than five years earlier and also to those recently graduated). Questionnaires were collected from all Spanish departments providing a total sample of 417, from which, 50% of respondents were university staff, 10% were employers, 20% were former students (>5 years) and 20% were recent graduates. The average age of the
  30. 30. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) respondents was 38,2 years and females represented 33% of the total sample. The answers confirmed the validity of the proposed profiles; none of them were underrepresented although those in research, education, environment, regional planning and GIS received more responses. The general impression at the end of the study was that the Bologna Process represented an adjustment of the existing system with a stronger emphasis on more practical aspects (learning by doing), a decrease in theoretical issues and reinforcing more technical training (GIS) (Table 1). Table 1. Professional profiles Profesional Profiles Job profiles Training needed Research. Education Dissemination Research,Teaching,Publishing: Internet, media, guides… Geographical thought /Research methodology /Geography Teaching Geographical Information Technologies GIS/Digital cartography, Statistic analysis, survey design Data bases/ GIS/Tele-detection Cartography Qualitative and quantitative analysis Environment: Physical systems/ Natural resources Protected areas management Environmental education, Agenda 21, Natural risks prevention. Geomorphology/ Natural Resources/ Climatology/ Meteorology Biogeography/Landscapes/Risks Fieldwork techniques Territorial planning and management: legal and physical dimensions Management, Geo-marketing, Territorial planning Territorial and landscape planning Economic activities analysis Transportation and mobility Territorial planning and management: population and demographic analysis. Demographic projections, Social observatories, Demographic statistics Population distribution/ projections Demography/Social studies on population/Migrations/ Mobility Socio-economic and territorial development Local development agencies, Tourism/ cultural heritage International relations and trade.Geopolitics Regional planning/ articulation Geopolitics/ geo- strategy Models of regional and local development Source: Adapted from Tulla, A. (2004). Individuals need a wide range of competences in order to face the complex challenges of today’s world. Competency involves the ability to meet complex demands, by drawing on and mobilizing psychosocial resources (including skills and attitudes) in a particular context. So, it is more than just knowledge and skills. The OECD (2005) has collaborated with a wide range of scholars, experts and institutions to identify a small set of key competences, rooted in a theoretical understanding of how such competences are defined. The Spanish study addressed the evaluation of generic and specific competences of the six professional profiles aiming to identify the weakest points of the curricula, as perceived by all the participants in the survey; they were asked to evaluate the level of generic and specific competences they had achieved during their studies when compared with their current job requirements (Tables 2 and 3). The results of the survey showed that the employers highlighted bigger deficits in contrast to the results of their employees, who were less critical. The young graduates perceived their training in a more positive way, but the elder ones were more aware of the weak points; in general, the biggest deficits were found to be in the practical competences rather than those developed in academic areas. The youngest geographers perceived Geography as a technical degree instead of a social science. This was a new perception on the state of Spanish
  31. 31. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) Geography, which had traditionally been closely linked with History, Economics and other Social Sciences. Table 2. Generic competences PERSONAL Critical and self-critical abilities Interpersonal skills Ability to work in an international context Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team Commitment to work related ethics SYSTEMIC Ability to work individually Leadership and creativity Entrepreneurial spirit / Concern for quality Capacity for change INSTRUMENTAL Capacity for analysis and synthesis Oral and written communication in the national language(s) Knowledge of other languages Planning and time management/Problem solving Information management skills /Decision making Use of information and communications technology OTHER Spirit of initiative Appreciation of diversity Accuracy and precision/Responsibility Ability to communicate effectively with non-experts Dealing with uncertaintyProject design and management Table 3. Specific competences KNOWLEDGE History of geographical thought Human, economic, cultural and social geography Environmental issues Methodology and fieldwork Territorial planning/Regional planning/GIS ACADEMIC Understanding, interpretation and explanation of diversity and interdependence of regions, places and locations/ spatial relationships between physical and human environments Sensibility and interest to spatial and environmental issues Territorial knowledge and interpretation Combining detailed and general approaches PROFESSIONAL To use fieldwork methodology To use geographical information To elaborate and understand statistical information To appreciate different representations of geographical space /To use cartography To make integrated diagnoses of public actions OTHER To communicate geographical ideas and theories effectively/ Ability for information synthesis. To understand problems in a multidimensional approach To explain and manage complex problems To draw knowledge, understanding and diversity of approaches from other disciplines and apply them in a geographical context Source: Adapted from Tulla, A ( 2004) The conclusions of the White Book showed the transactional nature of the joint proposal and how a common framework resulting from different academic structures may not introduce any deep changes. Therefore, in spite of Bologna being a take off point for big changes, the research suggested that it probably meant just a pragmatic and realistic solution derived from the great range of dimensions, dynamics and history of the twenty six departments involved. Nevertheless, the White Book represented a pioneering experience as a bottom-up approach in the process to create a common framework for our discipline. In this sense, it went as far as possible with the aim to reach a consensus of a common ground among a mixture of realities within Spanish departments. Actually, it was a valuable document for putting theory into practice in the years that followed. 3. THEORY INTO PRACTICE: STRUCTURAL CHANGES VERSUS ADAPTATION 3.1. A pilot program: testing the new system (2004-2007) The White Book was produced during 2003-2004. At the same time, Catalan universities
  32. 32. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) started the adaptation of some of their degrees, Geography among them. New teaching methodologies were introduced through a pilot program whose main aim was to articulate a process of institutional change involving the University and the Department. The introduction of new degrees followed a complex system of controls required before getting the approval of the National Agency on Academic Quality. This process of change meant an adjustment of the existing curricula to the new three-year Bachelors degree format, bearing in mind the competences and the professional profiles developed in the White Book; a validation of the new curricula by the University administration at different levels; and to draw up new programs for all the subjects, in the general framework of the new methodology. Three years after the experience, a final report of the pilot programme presented the academic results, the level of satisfaction, both of students and academic staff, the analysis of the academic coordination role and the collection of all data required for the official implementation of the new degrees (Muñoz Pradas, 2007). The academic results were evaluated in accordance with the burden of student’s work (analysed through surveys on their use of time), the outcomes of methodological innovation and finally, the student’s marks. However, surveys showed a very great diversity of study times, depending not only on the subject choice but also, on the student’s trend to follow a slow track in their degree studies. In any case, the time devoted to course lectures or seminars exceeded that devoted to individual work, it much higher at the beginning of the course. In general, essays, individual study and the search of information accounted for the highest amount of study time while a significant use of tutorials was detected in optional subjects. Students and teachers were polled several times and in different ways, in order to grasp their perceptions of the characteristics and consequences of the new degree organization. From the last year report (probably the most interesting since it included informants who had been studing for three years), we can conclude that the students positively appraised the procedures of evaluation, the possibilities to improve their knowledge in a better way (more educational resources) and the prospect of receiving a more individualized attention. In return, they suggested that the new approach implied a bigger workload, requiring more study time and creating greater stress on the completion of the academic calendar. The teaching staff found, in the new model, an opportunity to work more in depth, by better describing the scope and content of their courses and in introducing diversity in the evaluation practices and assignment criteria. The role developed by academic coordination existed at three different levels, University level, Degree Coordination level and Department level. The survey demonstrated it to be an efficient system. The design of learning and teaching methodologies and the planning of general follow-up concerned the first level and specifically the IDES (Teaching Innovation in Higher Education), an academic service that promotes and articulates initiatives to optimse teaching; degree development concerned the second level. The advising of staff and students involved in the pilot program, as well as the collection of suggestions and remarks along the process, was taken on hands by the third level of coordination. As objectives, areas of action and competences were different at each level, the Degree Coordinator was assumed to be their common link. The evidence for quality needed for the accreditation of a new degree included the design of the subjects in an ECTS model, participation in in-service training courses and a catalogue of good practice. Evidence of quality concerning student achievement was also needed: the follow-up of their educational activities, focus groups and control surveys along the whole process and the analysis and evaluation of academic results. Concerning academic management, it entailed activities related to the spatial organization and the academic calendar. At the end of each of the three years, an interim report suggested new actions of improvement was to be produced, to ensure quality. At the end of the pilot program, one of
  33. 33. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) the main outcomes for teaching staff was the setting of working groups based on thematically similar subjects in order to benchmark them, to set their main competences and to readjust the student’s workload avoiding overlap and interference between subjects. 3.2. Reaching the objective: the new degree for Geography and Regional Planning In 2005, the new structure for university studies (Bachelors degree, Masters and Doctorate) was approved by the Spanish Government with some differences to the general European model. The process implied a big change in the traditional model of university studies in Spain and the origin of much scepticism among scholars. The new, approved structure relies on a degree of four years and a Masters course of one year. Students will have to pass 240 credits on theory and practice in basic geographical knowledge, compulsory or optional subjects, seminars, external professional practice, teacher-led work and other training activities. Thus, the period of study of the degree will be 60 ECTS per year and the structure of the curriculum have to take into account the following basic points: first year subjects will deal with compulsory basic knowledge and competences; the core of the degree, integrated by compulsory subjects, will correspond to the second and third years and finally, the last one, will be devoted to complementary learning and training through optional subjects. A concluding essay should complete the full studies (Table 4). Table 4. Subject modules and ECTS assigned. MODULES Basic training. Compulsory subjects. Core of degree. Optional subjects (includes external practices) Final assignment TOTAL CREDITS ECTS 60 108 66 6 240 Source: Departament de Geografia, 2007 The Department of Geography at the UAB defined the framework of their new degree for Geography and Regional Planning after analyzing the international evolution of Geography profiles, the increasing social demands on issues related to geographical knowledge, regional planning and social development and last but not least, the new professional profiles observed within labour market demands (Departament de Geografia, 2009). At a general level, the degree should cover the necessary basic knowledge for the six professional profiles collected in the White Book (Tulla, 2004): geographical research and its diffusion; geographical information technologies; physical environment, natural resources and environment; regional planning and management; population and demographic regional analysis; regional and local development. Likewise, the experience gained during the three years of pilot program made it possible to develop a degree based on the new educational model that, centered on the learning of the student, incorporates new teaching resources, technologies and strategies and a clearer and best defined evaluation methodology. The new degree was formally created by a Royal Decree (1393/2007) and started in September 2009, both in face-to-face courses and on-line. 4. CONCLUDING REMARKS Bologna reform was intended to serve as an opportunity for a better distribution of work and resources and more coherent post-graduate study programs. Many universities did it, such as UAB, despite (or besides) the official Spanish policy oriented “to adapt” the existing curricula
  34. 34. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) into a new degree of 240 ECTS instead of the 180 recommended by the European Higher Education Area. Anyway, the process has made evident an important change in the teaching methodology that has inevitably changed course content. Geography, at UAB, is a good example of these changes. The new Geography degree probably does not represent a big change (as courses should be adapted not only to the official regulations but also to local resources, know-how and internal dynamics) but it shows a change in the sense of reflecting on a process of learning, which is much more student-oriented and this means a new way of planning for teachers. The experiences of the White Book and the pilot plan firmly penetrated into the everyday practices of the group. Beside the methodological change in teaching and learning practises, the Bologna Process may also be considered as an instrument for deep changes to the “employability” objective. Universities are becoming more and more influenced by economic development and private funding. That is why there are different opinions of the real effect of the process, opening questions about the way it is being implemented, its final objectives and on the central forces and actors behind the whole action. The adaptation to a European Higher Education Area is presented as an inflexion point in academic life and a time for a reflection, but the discussion and controversy about Bologna represents, probably, the confrontation of different university models faced by a process of homogenisation. In many university circles there is a clear demand for open discussion and the involvement of all stakeholders. This has not yet been the case, in general, in Spanish or in other European universities. It is argued that the danger of Bologna Process is that it may be seen as a formal and bureaucratic adjustment in the shape of university studies, but in the future it will introduce deeper changes in our universities (Fejes, 2005; Tomusk, 2005). The degree might become an instrument to get young people into the labour market, while the higher levels, in which the private sector could play an important role, could introduce significant social differentiation. The needs of the economic system should not be considered only from the labour market point of view and generate pressure on the “usefulness” of academic studies,. Rather, there should be widespread and deep reflection on the nature and the intellectual objectives of the European Higher Education Area in the context of global world. Its outcomes should be discussed jointly with that of the role of the universities in social development. There are important democratic and social justice values to support under the increasing pressures of new economic, social and technological challenges. News on the possible suppression of those degrees considered to be “less useful” increases the critical positions on the final objectives of this pressure for change. In recent decades, the university institution has become embedded, in the development of social values and attitudes, will these values now guide the university when facing the overwhelming demands for economic usefulness? (Tomusk, 2005). Acknowledgements Our gratitude to Dr. Francesc Muñoz Pradas, academic coordinator of the pilot program, for his information and useful comments, and to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and perceptive directions. REFERENCES Bologna Declaration on the European space for higher education: an explanation. 1999. Joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education. http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/educ/bologna/bologna.pdf (24.12.2010)
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  36. 36. M. Baylina / European Journal of Geography 1 (2011) Sorbonne Declaration. 1998. Joint declaration on harmonisation of the architecture of the European higher education system at the 800th anniversary of the Sorbonne University. http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/educ/bologna/bologna (24.12.10) Tomusk, V. 2005. Melancholy and Power. Knowledge and Propaganda: Discussing the Contribution of the Bologna Process to Higher Education Research in Europe. Paper for the 3rd Conference of Knowledge and Politics. http://www.knowpol.uib.no/portal/files/uplink/1303.pdf (24.12.10). Tulla, A. (coord) 2004. Libro Blanco. Título de grado en Geografia y Ordenación del territorio. Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la calidad y Acreditación. Madrid Kwiek, M. 2001. Globalization and Higher Education. Higher Education in Europe: XXVI (1): 27-38

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