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Thursday, May 26, 2016

GIS Education News: UC Davis Coursera Specialization Update

UC Davis Specialization Update

The UC Davis GIS specialization, hosted on Coursera, includes five courses, two of which are now live. The third course, Geospatial and Environmental Analysis, is expected to launch in the next few weeks. I wrote about the specialization back in January; the first course launched in February.

The first two courses are getting positive reviews. I found this recap of the first course, Fundamentals of GIS, by someone named William. That course gets a high score on Coursera: "4.8 out of 5 of 229 ratings." The second course, GIS Data Formats, Design and Quality, gets the same 4.8 score based on 51 ratings, as I write this.

I contacted Nick Santos, the lead course developer and instructor, to get his perspective on the first few months of the specialization. He explained that "the vast majority of students continue to get access to the courses for free" while "enough students are paying for the courses and specialization" to defray the significant development costs.

The monthly offerings have allowed him to identify "the common questions - both ones because of errors or inadequacies in the materials as well as ones related to language barrier, and diversity of student backgrounds." He's put together an FAQ to address them. Santos is looking forward to completing course development so he can spend more time interacting with the students.

He's already updated both the final assignment and its assessment method for the second course. He's pleased with immediacy and flexibility of teaching via Coursera: "The thing I really like about this platform is that we can constantly make changes, so when I see an issue with the course, I can update the materials and students get the new materials right away."


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Thursday, May 19, 2016

GIS Education Weekly: Introducing Spatial Thinking to K-5 Students, MOOC, How Much Coding?

Students work with puzzles
in the STEM+C project
Spatial at the NSF STEM for ALL Video Showcase

The University of Redlands wants you to vote for its Spatial STEM+C video voting page so it can win a Public Choice Award in the NSF 2016 STEM for ALL Video Showcase. "Spatial STEM+C is an exploratory integration project that is introducing K-5 students to spatial thinking as a way of improving computational thinking and mathematical performance. This video will provide a glimpse into the process of developing and pilot testing curricular activities for the project." Last year the GRACE program won a Public Choice Award.


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USGS National Geospatial Program Director Mike Tischler was featured on Sunday's CBS Sunday Morning news program. He speaks about the National Geographic Bee, emphasizes the importance of geographic knowledge, and gives a shout out to USGS mapping. h/t Mark at USGS

Thursday, May 12, 2016

GIS Education Weekly: Tufts, UVM, Virginia Tech, UGA, UF, Auburn in the News

In and Out of the Classroom  

Yesterday's 10th annual Tufts GIS Poster Expo, a campus wide exposition of GIS work, featured more than 170 posters submitted by students, faculty and staff. This Explorer Tool includes many of the posters from past years.

Art Lembo of Salisbury University describes the school's Student Research Conference on his blog. He goes on to profile some of his GIS students, most of whom have jobs/internships or funding for the summer. Also valuable: a discussion of how he organizes his course to allow project work before the event. h/t Facebook Esri HigherEd Group.

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