#SUNYCIT: Development of GIS Course Modules for Undergraduate Science and Social Science Courses

#SUNYCIT: Development of GIS Course Modules for Undergraduate Science and Social Science Courses

The very last presentation I sat in on at SUNY CIT focused on a topic for which we just received an IITG grant—GIS. GIS is a geographic information system. Basically, you can overlay information visually on a map. Mary Perrelli from Buffalo State College gave this informative presentation.

Buffalo State GIS

Buffalo State College used an IITG grant to develop a GIS Techhub. They are using the hub to share course modules and data sources. They have built course modules for the following areas:

  • Anthropology of Disease
  • Sociology – Racial Dispersion
  • Geography – Stream Channel Migration
  • Geography/Earth Science – Climate Classification
  • Criminal Justice – Crime Analysis

One of the goals for each module is to help students think spatially. Additionally, the modules help to develop computer skills and job-related skills.

Course Modules

Each of the course modules is a PDF providing step-by-step instructions for learning a new GIS skill. The module also contains exploration points for students to practice their skills.

Module Development Process

The Buffalo State GIS team has developed a process to create course modules.

  • Meet with the faculty to review syllabus, goals, and course outcomes.
  • Share activity ideas back and forth until they have decided upon a set to use in a class.
  • GIS team will then develop the module.
  • The module is then sent to faculty for review and revision.

Lessons Learned

As the team developed the process, a couple of lessons were learned.

  • Data manipulation may be needed. Having students manipulate data may not be appropriate for some classes. Faculty must decide upon the learning objective. In some cases, students will only be learning how to interpret the final result whereas other students may need to learn data collection strategies.
  • Faculty may not have the experience to work with GIS tools. They will need training appropriate for the skills they are sharing with students.

Next Steps

They have plans to partner with local high schools. Additionally, they will continue to create modules for other disciplines.

This was a great presentation to end the conference with. It provides a jumping off point for our IITG grant project. It is also convenient that Buffalo State College is just up the road from us.

If you would like to know more about this presentation, please stop by the TEI Synergy Center and I will show you what Mary showed me.

Additional Reading

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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