Directions Magazine
Hello. Login | Register

Articles

All Articles | Post Comment

Pace University GIS Basics MOOC Launches Sept 9

Wednesday, August 28th 2013
Comments
Classified Ads:

Summary:

The upcoming free, online GIS Basics course from Pace University focuses on key GIS skills using ArcGIS for Desktop.

Peggy Minnis, who introduced the idea of a “GIS 101” sort of course to readers back in April, is currently welcoming students to the real McCoy. Her “GIS Basics” massive open online course (MOOC) begins September 9 and runs for 12 weeks. The course focuses on key GIS skills using ArcGIS for Desktop.
 
Building a MOOC
 
Minnis is a member of the Department of Chemistry and Physical Sciences at Pace University. While she’d hoped to use many of her existing resources from her residence GIS course for the free online course, it was not to be. When she looked them over she decided it was time for a refresh. While it was a lot of work, Minnis is happy that her videos now populate YouTube and do not require Flash.
 
The course is hosted on the free BlackBoard CourseSites platform; Pace uses BlackBoard as its learning management system (LMS). CourseSites manages registration, forums and content hosting. There are currently about 40 courses on a variety of topics, from various schools and organizations, on the site.
 
When we spoke in late August, Minnis shared that GIS Basics, with just a few notices posted to state GIS e-mail lists, had enrolled more than 170 students. Among them are a team of students from New York state government. With training budgets slashed, they hope to work through the course together and master the skills.
 
The Course
 
Students are expected to gain access to a copy of ArcGIS 10.1 either by buying the GIS Tutorial 1: Basic Workbook for ArcGIS 10.1  book ($51 via Amazon in the U.S.), a Home Use license ($100 worldwide) or for those who are testing the waters, a free trial available for 60 days. Of course, those with access at work or elsewhere can use those licenses.
 
Each week of the course, students will view an introductory video laying out the plan for the seven days. The complete syllabus provides more detail. Short, focused skill videos will introduce key concepts. Then the fun begins! Students will take on assignments and projects. The first one, for example, is creating a map of the student’s home using Census data. International students are invited to explore data from their own country or to adopt a U.S. location.
Online asynchronous text-based discussion forums will be available for students to share insights, ask questions and share their maps. Students can leave comments and read responses whenever they have time. Minnis will be teaching five courses at Pace during the same time period, so while she will visit the forums, she’s looking to students, including several of her Pace GIS students, to take on leadership roles. 
Assignments will not be turned in weekly. Instead, students are asked to keep their maps and other products such as videos in a portfolio. At the end of the course, students who would like a certificate of completion or a badge can submit their work to Minnis.
Pace is dabbling in MOOCs. The school offered a few over the summer for incoming freshmen and has tried some internal ones. GIS Basics will be the first course open to the entire world.
 
Into the Unknown
 
Teaching a MOOC (or any course for that matter) for the first time can be unnerving.
 
Minnis is not sure if she wants the course to be huge or if it’d be better to pilot it with a smaller group. At this point it sounds like she’s ready to take on whatever number of students appear come September.
 
 

Did you enjoy this topic? Check out these Channels:
Education, Esri Technology

Bookmark and Share


Stay Connected

Twitter RSS Facebook LinkedIn Delicious Apple Devices Android Blackberry






Recent Comments

Data Mashups can Help Answer the World’s Biggest Questions

As the world wakes up to the power of data, we need to start working out how to join up all this information. We need to turn it into meaningful findings that will help us to make changes to the way we live. A new technique is emerging as part of this quest – the data mashup. This approach to linking data could help us shed light on phenomena such as the health impacts of climate change....

FOSS4G PDX Conference: Geospatial Technological Innovation and Diversity are Thriving
New high-resolution Satellite Image Analysis: 5 of 6 Syrian World Heritage Sites “Exhibit Significant Damage”
Is GIS Splitting?
What Grade Would Your Homepage Get?
Modeling and Simulation: AEgis Technologies Builds Core Capabilities in Era of 3D
Making Location Work for Smart Cities – the Case for Location Standards
Addresses Spark Debate
GIS is NOT a Load of Garbage

DirectionsMag.com

About Us | Advertise | Contact Us | Web Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy
© 2014 Directions Media. All Rights Reserved