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GEOG 1191: Introduction to Human Geography 1: People and the Environment

This course traces the development of present-day attitudes concerning the complex interrelationship between people and the environment. Students examine both "determinist" and "possibilist" views and focus on topics such as resource exploitation, population growth, and the impact of human activities on the environment.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify changing ideas used by geographers in their attempt to understand human-environment relations.
  • Understand and implement basic concepts on maps and mapping.
  • Consider how individuals and societies perceive and behave in their environment and understand the relationships that arise from those perceptions.
  • Appreciate the important role that ecological thinking has had in the development of human geography.
  • Analyze the concept of the ecosystem model, and discuss how the model of the ecosystem is used by geographers.
  • Discuss the changing uses of environmental resources and modifications of the environment that have occurred in different cultures and past time periods.
  • Describe contemporary human impacts on land and soil, atmosphere and climate, water, and living organisms.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Modules 1, 2, and 3: Introduction, Historical Evolution of Geographic Thought, and Maps and Mapping
  • Unit 2: Modules 4 and 5: The Importance of the Perceived Environment
  • Unit 3: Modules 6 and 7: The Role of Ecology in Human Geography
  • Unit 4: Modules 8 and 9: Human-Environment Interactions
  • Unit 5: Modules 10, 11, and 12: Human Environment Interactions and Limitations

Required text and materials

The following material is required for this course:

  1. Norton, W., & Mercier, M. (2019). Human geography (10th ed.). Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-0-19-903293-8.


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Project.

Assignment 1: Unit 1, Modules 1-3: Introduction, Historical Evolution of Geographic Thought, and Maps and Mapping 10%
Assignment 2: Unit 2, Modules 4 and 5: Knowing and Perceiving the Environment 10%
Assignment 3: Unit 3, Modules 6 and 7: Ecology 10%
Assignment 4: Unit 4, Modules 8 and 9: Impacts on the Environment 10%
Assignment 5: Unit 5, Modules 10-12: Resource Use Within a Populated World 10%
Assignment 6: Mapping Interactions Between People and the Environment 25%
Final Project: Toolbox Terms and Concepts (mandatory) 25%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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