Provost’s Digital Innovation Grants: Urban Sociology Digital Mapping and Presentation Tool

Urban Sociology Digital Mapping and Presentation Tool

Jacob Lederman, Sociology

Jacob Lederman

Pedagogical best practices routinely cite the primacy of student collaboration in enhancing the learning environment. Yet collaboration in the form of group presentations often results in atomization of a different sort. Groups are assigned and students work on their selected topics prior to delivering a static presentation to the rest of their classmates. In an urban sociology course, students are taught that the city is a complex relational organism that cannot merely be conceived as a sum of its various parts. Yet group research on different neighborhoods of the city often reproduces this conception. In order for students to better perceive how local, national, and global processes shape the social and cultural character of different parts of the city in systematic yet unequal ways, presentations must be fully dynamic and interactive. I propose creating a collaborative, customized Google mapping tool to be housed on an urban sociology class portal where students can upload data, photos, and systematic observations of their assigned neighborhoods. By the end of the course, students will have a living, interactive “quilt” or patchwork of social scientific knowledge on various neighborhoods of the city.

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