First GIS MOOC Starting Soon

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The first GIS MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is set to start next week.  Running for five weeks starting on July 17, 2013, the course is titled, “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution” and will be taught by Dr. Anthony Robinson.  Dr. Robinson is the lead faculty member for Penn State’s Postbaccalaureate GIS Certificate and Master of Geographic Information Systems programs in the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute.

There are no pre-requisites for taking the course.  The course is open to any student who has an interesting in learning about GIS and other geospatial technologies.  The weekly workload is 6-9 hours a week and upon completion, students will receive a Statement of Accomplishment.

Dr. Robinson explains the GIS MOOC course:

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a 5-week introduction to mapping and geographic information science. It is designed for students who may be using maps every day to navigate and make decisions, but may not have ever had an experience making their own maps. The intention for this class is for students to rethink what maps can do, and learn to make their own. The class is designed to prepare students for future coursework in Geography and GIScience offered by Penn State and other academic institutions around the world.

Maps and the Geospatial Revolution begins on Coursera on July 17, 2013. Five weekly lessons will feature short video lectures, written and graphical content, hands-on mapping activities, and discussion assignments. Students will be evaluated through weekly quizzes and discussion assignments, and a final exam will be given at the end of the class. Hands-on mapping activities will leverage Esri’s ArcGIS Online tools, which work directly in the web browser at no cost to students. Students will work with mapping software to explore neighborhood demographics, natural disasters, geo-located social media, and other exciting areas of geographic analysis. The final mapping assignment for the class will ask students to tell a story using maps, and to evaluate the stories shared by other students in the course through a peer assessment activity.

To date, over 28,000 students from around the world have enrolled in the course.  To sign up visit the Coursera page for Maps and the Geospatial Revolution.  Visit the Learn GIS for Free page for other opportunities for free GIS education.

Maps and the Geospatial Revolution - First GIS MOOC.
Maps and the Geospatial Revolution – First GIS MOOC.

So far, this is the first and only GIS MOOC available.  Directions Magazine post about the efforts of Dr. Peggy Minnis, a lecturer at the Department of Chemistry and Physical Sciences at Pace University, who is working on creating a MOOC covering the basic of GIS.  A PDF of Dr. Minnis’ presentation, “Creating a MOOC to Teach Basic GIS” at the Northeast Arc User Group spring meeting in May of 2013 is available online and notes the course is supposed to be offered in the fall of 2013 and was the recepient of  a Verizon Thinkfinity Grant.


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