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Thursday, February 18, 2016

GIS Education Weekly: More Geospatial Degrees, More Budget Fights, More Students Doing Service Work

SHNU Geospatial Concentrations

The STEM Journal from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU, issu format, pages 24-25) this month notes the school's online Bachelor's geospatial concentrations. These are degrees in one of four areas (anthropologyenvironmental sciencegeosciences or IT) with a geospatial minor. I found six geospatial courses available. The different degrees require from one to six of the courses.

Rich Schultz ‏(@RSchultzGeoTech), lead online science faculty at SNHU, told me the six courses are the basis for planned geospatial degree and GEOINT programs.

Social Studies/Geography Funding Not Assured in President's Budget

Last year's Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA) created new competitive grants to support instruction in civics, economics, geography and history. Last week's release of the President’s budget request did not include requests for some of the new social studies grants.

ESSA is now being passed along to the Appropriations Committee for review, where the funding will be decided. The New Hampshire Geographic Alliance (and I'm sure others) are asking for supporters of geography to contact their representatives and ask that this funding be granted. Via NHGA e-mail, which includes details on who to contact and what to say.


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Salisbury University Changing GIS Pogram Geography

Salisbury University plans to move its GIS program downtown to do more service work for the city.

Hopework 'N Camden Mapping Water Mains

Four Hopeworks 'N Camden GIS staffers are mapping 67 miles of water mains and valves for Voorhees-based New Jersey American Water. The tech-job-training nonprofit is well known for its work in GIS.

Bucknell Students Take on Chesapeake Bay Water Quality
...[Bucknell University Professor Richard Crago, civil & environmental engineering],  partnered with a local watershed alliance, the Chesapeake Conservancy and Bucknell GIS specialist Janine Glathar to devise watershed protection tactics on local farms in the Buffalo Creek watershed, with the ultimate aim of improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, some 100 miles to the south. That meant hours carefully poring over GIS maps to identify areas that have the greatest impact on the environment around them and devising engineering solutions for those areas — a process the conservancy calls precision conservation. But it also meant getting out of the classroom one damp autumn morning to see the land they hope to improve, and meet the farmers who own it.
Rochester GIS Scholars Serving the City with GIS 

Rochester's School Without Walls hosts GIS Scholars, a group focused on learning and using GIS. A 2014 $50,000 grant from the funding hiring and training students and the creation of maps of crime and housing conditions. A new contract focuses on high-impact corner stores for the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency. Of note:
The group has a partnership with Monroe Community College that includes office space, the use of equipment and discounted college courses for the high school students. The college hopes to provide a more structured pathway for teenagers looking to make a career in GIS.
More on University of Michigan Flint and GIS

Last October, the University of Michigan-Flint received a $100,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to lead a community-wide online mapping project. The University Outreach and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center are leading the initiative, which includes collaborating with an advisory committee of several different community partners. I'm not sure if this funding helped the program do work on the current water crisis. I am glad to hear that the campus applied for and received the grant to grow GIS!

Because We Can
Schools in Pennsylvania Named After Presidents

Tim Busckwalter, a Data Journalist at the LancasterOnline put together a Google Map of all the schools in Pennsylvania named after presidents.

Tools to Make Maps for Use in Class

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning offers 13 online packages. Among the suggestions: Mapbox.

FreeTechforTeachers identifies three packages in a guest post from an advertiser. 

Geospatial World Selects Geospatial Research Institute of the Year
TU Delft has been chosen as Geospatial Research Institute of the Year 2015. The award shall be presented during Geospatial World Forum on May 25, 2016 at World Trade Centre, Rotterdam. The jury, comprising of renowned professionals representing industry, academia, government and multilateral organization, met in December ‘15 to select this year’s Geospatial World Leadership Awardees. 
The jury has recognized TU Delft’s crucial role in the field of geospatial technology and it’s applications. Known as the premier GIS science research institute, TU Delft’s contribution in the fields of 3D geoinformation, geomatics applications in civil engineering and urbanism has been vital.
Mesa County Businesses Get Tax Break, Offer Internships

This is interesting in part because one of the selected businesses is a geospatial firm:  "Prostar Geocorp, a software company focused on providing next generation GIS 'Geospatial Intelligent Solutions™." (Interesting trademark!)
The Jump-Start Program offers participating businesses up to eight years of zero state income tax, zero sales and use taxes, zero county and municipal property taxes and zero state income taxes for their employees....

In exchange for the so-called "tax-free holiday," GJEP [Grand Junction Economic Partnership] says these companies will form a partnership with Colorado Mesa university to provide students internship opportunities, and in return, gain access to the universities facilities for business use.
Students Give Lightning Talks; Get Feedback

I know Lightning Talks presented at conferences typically receive no time for feedback or question. But that's not how they do it at the Los Angeles Geospatial Summit, coming up later this month. Students give the talks, which are "followed with discussion and Q&A with industry professionals and the audience." I note this idea so conference organizers might consider something similar to help engage students and attendees.

Newsletter from Smith College Spatial Analysis Lab

The newsletter, SAL Directions, comes out every other week (subscribe). I like this article on Story Maps in the Classroom. Smith is one of those schools that does not teach GIS per se, but works to integrate it across the curriculum.

Map Game from Library of Congress

Hannah Stahl, a Library Technician in the Geography and Map Division introduces a new Twitter-based game based on Library of Congress maps.  She'll tweet out a graphic and players race to be the first to identify from which map the detail comes. It's called “What in the World?” and was inspired by a similar game from the British Library. What skills might playing this game (or one like it) sharpen for students? Might you use it in the classroom?

I also need to point out that Stahl is working on her Master’s in Library Science at Simmons College. That's where my mom got her MLS.

Factoids from Twitter

@AAGGeoMentors tweets there are now 1000 GeoMentors.

@GRACEProgram tweets that Survey123 is good tool for educators for data collection.

@APHumanGeog tweets that APHG exam readers are needed June 2-8 in Cincinnati.

RE Sieber ‏(@re_sieber) tweets that Memorial University of Newfoundland offers the first Marine Spatial Planning and Management in Canada.

‏Anthony Robinson (@A_C_Robinson) tweets that he is migrating his map MOOC to the new Coursera platform and hopes to offer it this summer.

Diana Sinton (@dianamaps) tweets a link to the proceedings of Teaching Spatial Thinking from Interdisciplinary Perspectives, a workshop held last October in Santa Fe.

Andy Woodruff ‏(@awoodruff) tweets about his brain dump about the Cartographic Summit held last week.

Stephen Smith (@TheMapSmith) tweets about his summary of the Cartographic Summit.

Esri GIS Education News

Esri has a new webpage for MOOCs. It includes the courses it hosts and those from universities that use the ArcGIS platform.

GIS Tutorial 2: Spatial Analysis Workbook provides a hands-on complement to The Esri Guide to GIS Analysis book series has been updated for ArcGIS 10.3.x. Additional resources are available for instructors.

The new collection of GeoInquiries for high school advanced human geography has been released.

Worth Reading

In Search of Quality: Using Quality Matters to Analyze the Quality of Massive, Open, Online Courses - None of the six MOOCs explored passed the quality threshold used. There's also a short recap of the paper at eCampus News.

An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching - Originally offered as a MOOC, the content is now also available for self-study. I'm working through the course, developed by a group of universities, and find it quite valuable.