Since 1997 I have been blessed with the opportunity to open the world in a small measure to numerous students through teaching World Geography at Murray State University and within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).
In 2000, I began teaching hybrid geography courses using Blackboard to augment in-class discussions. From 2004 through today, I have provided completely both my World Geography and Weather and Climate courses in 100% online formats. I have also taught via Interactive TV (ITV) and am not a fan of ITV.
Over the years, I have instructed student in the classroom, from as few as 11 students to as many as 109. Online, I have had student from all over the world, Japan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Germany to give you an example of the distribution of my students.
In 2000, I also began teaching Digital Cartography and Map Use and Analysis. From this pulpit I try to push people towards a better understanding of their environment, not merely their natural environment, but in the most liberal sense – their room, their building, to the sidewalks and trees in their neighbor, to the issues faced by people in other cultural realms.
I have two degrees in geography and am currently the GIS/RS Systems Administrator for the Mid-America Remote sensing Center (MARC) on the campus of Murray State University. At MARC, I have worked on a number of projects over the years. In the 1990s, I created a statewide land cover/land use map of Kentucky from Landsat 5 & 7 satellite imagery. I examined Daniel Boone National Forest burn scars from fires set by marijuana growers upset by their own crops burned. My thesis examined labor force dynamic in a 6-state region centered on western Kentucky. From that work, I spent a number of years measuring and mapping labor force participation in Kentucky. In the latter part of the 1990s, I provided technical support for the KY implementation of the National GAP Project. I have helped in the development of timber management plans, and have worked with local farmers in the design and implementation of mobile apps to assist in precision agriculture and farm management. Part of my mapping efforts and training I have provided to faculty, staff, and students has been used at the national level in support of the National Broadband Initiative.
My work brings me into contact with many people in education. I frequently work with middle and high school teachers to promote geography and spatial thinking in their classrooms. Over the last 20 years or so, educators and I have engaged in a learning cycle. They instruct me about their Learning Goals and their Learning Objectives, and I try to counsel them on how to implement GIS and spatial learning in their lesson plans and learning units.
My blog posts have recently encroached upon education themes and specific education topics. Over the last decade or so, especially since the implementation of “No Child Left Behind” many of my peers in higher education have noticed a rapid decline in student achievement and college readiness. Secondary teachers and administrators I am familiar with also note they are graduating students not ready for college, and not even ready for the business world. The focus on testing, limitations imposed by state and federal regulations, and the lack of financial support at all levels are but a few reasons provided for the decreasing aptitude of many U.S. students. Thus, many posts have become focused on my opinions about problems and issues associated with education, in general.
I’ve never climbed Mt. Everest, and I am not a licensed pilot. I don’t enjoy heights or cold weather. I have never swam with sharks or across the English Channel. Sharks are fine but I don’t like the water. I have never biked across a state but I do have a bike which I ride to my office. I have never “gone native” and lived off the land or with any indigenous tribe in South America. I have lots of allergies which are debilitating at times and had stomach surgery a number of years ago and now cannot vomit. TMI, probably.