Photo essays for exploring scientific narratives

Authors: Darren Sjogren*, University of Calgary, Dianne Draper, University of Calgary, Williams Aaron, University of Calgary, Freeman Andrea, University of Calgary
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: photo essays, international, fieldschool
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Endymion, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Fostering student engagement in the academic content of international field programs is challenging. We have adopted photo essay assignments to encourage exploration of the destinations, develop different communication strategies, and combat written assignment fatigue. Employing photo essays requires students to integrate original photos with the scientific literature to tell a ‘scientific story’. Students report that planning which photos to take, and which to use to tell the story, forces them to think more deeply about the meaning(s) held in those representations and to ‘see differently’. Students are given the freedom to target any audience, which requires a thoughtful synthesis within their photo essays, and encourages creativity and brevity. Overall, student response to this approach has been positive, with most embracing the different style of learning and communicating.

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