The Course Syllabus as a Guide to Map Interpretation Instruction




Green, Jerry
Henry, Mary
Skryzhevska, Liza
Toops, Stanley

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


Map interpretation skill development in geography is faced with declining opportunities; however, most introductory textbooks have the content to support developing these skills. This paper investigates the extent to which map interpretation is found in introductory geography courses by reviewing 77 syllabi from Internet sources and direct inquiry, and 20 responses, which resulted in an additional 30 syllabi, from a nationwide online survey sent to geography instructors who taught at 4-year universities. Map interpretation was most frequently found in physical geography syllabi followed by human geography, regional geography, and general geography. Our findings indicate that map interpretation skill development is not widely incorporated in introductory courses, however, the syllabi did not always adequately portray the course content and, thus, it would be more useful for assessing the general level of map interpretation skills in geography if syllabi were more informative to the broader community.



geography, map interpretation, map skills, course syllabus, introductory geography courses


Green, J., Henry, M., Skryzhevska, L., & Toops, S. (2012). The course syllabus as a guide to map interpretation instruction. Research in Geographic Education, 14(1), pp. 42-54.


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