Collaborative Virtual Field Trips: Pedagogical Opportunities and Practical Considerations

Within the ongoing discussions on translating teaching practices adopted within face-to-face classrooms to virtual ones, strategies for educators who have fieldwork as a significant component of their teaching are limited. I share some reflections about an on-going project to produce a collaborative virtual fieldtrip video with a community–based organization. This project is linked to a 1000-level elective human geography module, titled ‘Changing Landscapes of Singapore’, which has a class size of 200 students. Unlike most virtual fieldtrips that are created for one target audience, this teaching resource incorporates the collaborators’ differing pedagogical stances, one on undergraduate education and the other on public awareness. I will discuss some pedagogical opportunities and practical considerations about forming such partnerships during the time of Covid-19, where access to various sites and physical mobility are more restricted while educators need to swiftly seek and/or produce new forms of teaching resources for a geographically dispersed classroom. Pedagogically, such collaborative virtual field trips offer an opportunity for not only international students but also local students to gain a more in-depth and wider understanding of a community and their associated landscapes than through physical field trips.

Menusha De Silva is a lecturer at the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. Her research focuses on the intersections of transnational migration, care and ageing. She teaches modules related to social and cultural geography. She has published her work in peer-reviewed journals such as Area, Gender, Place and Culture, and Population, Space and Place. She recently received the Area journal prize for New Research in Geography for the co-authored paper titled, ‘“Daughter” as a positionality and the gendered politics of taking parents into the field’.