Problem-based inquiry on World Water Problems in large undergraduate classes

Sarah J. Halvorson, James L. Wescoat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper reports on the design and implementation of a project-based course - World Water Problems - that was introduced within the framework of introductory undergraduate geography education. The aims of the course were twofold: (1) to cultivate in students a world geographic perspective on water problems; and (2) to conduct an original research project on the search for detailed appraisals, or ex-post evaluations, of completed water projects and programs. The project involved problem-based inquiry and learning through several interrelated tasks including: hypothesis testing, systematic electronic library and database searching, corresponding with water resources experts; and synthesizing of results. Evaluation of the project, and the course more generally, was achieved through a questionnaire administered to the students and a focused in-class discussion. Overall, the students' comments about the course project demonstrate learning in the form of greater knowledge of world geographic regions and water sectors as well as enhancement of database search skills and critical thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Large classes
  • Problem-based inquiry
  • Undergraduate geography education
  • Water resources


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