NCGIA Core Curriculum in Geographic Information Science

URL: ""

Unit 160 - Teaching and Learning GIS in Laboratories

by David J. Unwin, Department of Geography
Birbeck College, University of London, UK

This unit was reviewed by Alan Jenkins, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.

This unit is part of the NCGIA Core Curriculum in Geographic Information Science. These materials may be used for study, research, and education, but please credit the author, David J. Unwin and the project, NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIScience.  All commercial rights reserved.  Copyright 1997 by David J.Unwin

Your comments on these materials are welcome. A link to an evaluation form is provided at the end of this document.

Advanced Organizer

Unit Topics and learning outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes

Instructor's Notes

Table of Contents

Metadata and Revision History

Unit 160 - Teaching and Learning GIS in Laboratories

1. Introduction - the laboratory class

'Tell me, I forget,
 Show me, I remember,
 Involve me, I understand'

2. Styles of Laboratory Work

Aim Data Method Results
Demonstration Given Given Given Given
Exercise Given Given Given Open
Structured enquiry Given Given part or whole Open or part given Open
Open enquiry Given Open Open Open
Research project Open or negotiated Open Open Open
 (Based on Brown and Atkins, 1988, Table 5.3, page 99)

3. Types of GIS laboratory class

4. Setting up the laboratory

5. Good Luck!

6. Reference Materials

    6.1 Print References

    6.2 Web References

7. Review and Study Questions

  1. Outline what is meant by the term 'curriculum' and list some possible approaches to curriculum design.
  2. Most of the published GIS curricula are based on the specification of the content to be taught. Set down a case against this approach.
  3. Why should designing a curriculum for GIS be particularly difficult?
  4. Design and justify a GIS curriculum for any group of students with which you are familiar.
  5. Why do GIS courses include laboratory classes?
  6. Outline the problems that will emerge in setting up a GIS laboratory and the necessary resources to overcome them.


We are very interested in your comments and suggestions for improving this material.  Please follow the link above to the evaluation form if you would like to contribute in this manner to this evolving project.


To reference this material use the appropriate variation of the following format:

The correct URL for this page is:
Last revised: January 15, 1998.

Gateway to the Core Curriculum