See more from this Session: Experiential Learning and Action Education: II
Monday, October 17, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C, Street Level
The growth of “green campus” initiatives around the country has demonstrated the interest of students in not dealing with environmental issues as abstractions or academic exercises. Instead, students prefer to engage in exercises that can result in instituting sound environmental management and awareness on the campus in which they live, learn and play. The University of Missouri campus provides an excellent location for student learning about environmental issues since it faces several environmental challenges common to rapidly growing urban areas, such as storm water runoff pollution, air and water pollution issues from campus operations, and waste disposal. However, despite extensive geographically-referenced databases that several university groups maintain and occasional assignments that professors assign to students utilizing the campus environment, no systematic effort has been made to integrate this information and provide a means by which students, faculty, and staff can coordinate their activities and utilize the campus more fully as a living laboratory for understanding environmental issues. We have developed an interactive web-based environmental content management and mapping tool entitled “Our Learning Campus” that is designed to enhance student learning and awareness of environmental issues and facilitate the development and coordination of campus-based environmental projects and course assignments. This tool has several features including a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping environment that allows for the display and utilization of several layers of geographically-referenced information that is in a database or entered onto the website via Google Maps or handheld devices that contain GPS capability. The tool also facilitates the creation of projects among diverse participants by providing a graphic list of created projects with an accessible description of each project and the names of participants. This tool has numerous potential benefits for university campuses. It facilitates student learning and collaboration across each campus by engaging students in practical challenges faced on campus. The web-based tool also provides a “warehouse” or database where environmental information across campus can be easily accessed for future students, faculty, and campus planning and growth purposes.