John Maher


The following information comes from the named instructor and should describe characteristics general to courses as taught by this instructor. Individual sections of specific courses will deviate from this description in some respects.

Class Format

Face-to-face sections

World Regional Geography: Class sessions are primarily lecture, with some discussion and classroom activities. Lectures are augmented with video material. Selected regions are explored in some depth, with material presented to update textbook content. One of the goals of the course is to demonstrate the processes that have produced the regional patterns we see in the world today, and how those patterns and processes help to explain current events.

Physical Geography: Class sessions are primarily lecture, with some in-class activities and discussion. Lectures will highlight key concepts in the text as well as a number of special topics dealing with current environmental issues. It is helpful to read the assigned readings, as given in the tentative schedule, before the material is covered in class. This is important for your understanding and retention. A word of warning: this class moves very fast. The material is not particularly difficult; there is just a lot of it.

Media/Telecourse sections

World Regional Geography: The course has two components: the television programming and the printed material (which includes the textbook, telecourse study guide and atlas). The programming piece is based on "The Power of Place" video series, which has 26 programs (each running about 30 minutes in length). Each program has two parts, which deal with geographic issues centered on particular places. The videos are broadcast in Johnson County on the JCCC channel on certain cable providers; the entire series is available to be checked out at JCCC's Billington Library by course enrollees for the duration of the semester.

Resource Use

Textbooks and other materials

Face-to-face sections

World Regional Geography: The textbook provides a general overview of each region and to some extent the basic concepts used in regional geography. The lectures provide more detailed information on selected topics and some concepts that are not covered in the textbook. The designated world atlas is used for homework assignments involving both place location/identification and thematic map interpretation. Handouts of lecture notes are available electronically through either MyJCCC or the current Learning Management System (e.g., D2L). Hyperlinks are provided for supplemental readings/programs accessible through Billington Library or other sources when required.

Physical Geography: The textbook serves as the foundation for the presentation of course material. Lectures are designed to amplify or elaborate explanations provided in the textbook. Handouts of lecture notes are available electronically through either MyJCCC or the current Learning Management System (e.g., D2L). Hyperlinks are provided for supplemental readings/programs accessible through Billington Library or other sources when required.

Media/Telecourse sections

World Regional Geography: The textbook provides a general overview of each region and to some extent the basic concepts used in regional geography. The videos tend to focus on particular cases to demonstrate general principles (development, political geography, relative location) which usually are not explicitly linked to the text. The strategies for approaching the course are thus twofold: the text should be approached with the aim of understanding the patterns and processes within the regions and the principal countries in those regions, while the videos should be approached with the aim of understanding some of the dynamics behind the processes identified in each of the episodes. You can consider the videos as “case studies” illustrating those processes. The designated world atlas is used for homework assignments involving both place location/identification and thematic map interpretation. The study guide for the video series is the source of questions for that part of the homework assignments which deals with the videos. Material amplifying some of the concepts is posted in either MyJCCC or the current Learning Management System (e.g., D2L). Hyperlinks are provided for supplemental readings/programs accessible through Billington Library or other sources when required.

Assessment

Assessment parameters are laid out in the course outlines available through the Credit Class search. Both face-to-face World Regional Geography and Physical Geography can expect five examinations (including the final exam) during the term. The media/telecourse World Regional Geography section can expect four examinations during the term. All sections will receive assignments during the term which might include atlas assignments (World Regional Geography), short papers, short answer/essay questions to be answered, diagram interpretation, data analysis and map interpretation.

Homework Policy

Late work is accepted, although penalties are assessed. Penalties are progressive, meaning the penalty increases the later the assignment is turned in. No work is accepted after the last class meeting before the final exam period.

Attendance Policy

Attendance per se is not a direct factor in the grade. From personal experience, I have found that those who attend regularly and engage in the class do better than those who are casual about attending.

Availability

I try to maintain office hours based on when my face-to-face classes are scheduled, so it varies from semester to semester. My goal is to respond to emails within 24 hours (except on weekends, when it may stretch to 48 hours).