UCGIS Education Priorities
Unified list of action items
(September 8, 1997)
send any comments to the editors.
The following is the complete set of action items resulting from the
combination of all individual action items identified in each of the UCGIS
Education Priorities White Papers.
Case studies and surveys
Assess the current state of affairs in GI science education (Accreditation
and certification, Alternative Designs, Professional Education and Research
Complete a literature review of all surveys of programs currently addressing
GI knowledge domains that have been performed to date.
Determine incompletely surveyed educational levels such as 2-year and community
colleges and GIS educational programs available from vendors (including
their technical support). Conduct additional surveys in areas where insufficient
Survey GI practitioners for information about their background, education
Compile information on current graduate level GIScience courses (Research
Elicit 1) what they do with GIS, 2) the content of their past formal instruction
in GIScience, 3) what they wish they had been taught, and 4) the set of
skills and knowledge desired in prospective employees.
Hold discussions with key representatives of allied professional and academic
organizations about the ways in which their members use and would like
to use GIS and spatial information analysis
Contribute to other GI science education studies, in particular cooperate
with the National Research Council in their proposed study of the field
Document the national demand for professional GI Science education to assist
institutions of higher learning in evaluating the market for these types
of programs. (Professional Education)
Collect syllabi. Identify scientific and other educational objectives of
each course type. Identify desired improvements to the current curriculum
that would benefit research-capable graduate students
Compile lists of teaching units that address background material and other
issues related to specific research problems that fall within the identified
UCGIS research priorities.
Collect case study models of laboratory facilities. (Infrastructure)
Conduct a survey of member institutions on the quality and extent of emerging
technologies usage within and between departments. (Emerging Technologies)
Solicit case study information from the UCGIS members, and possibly other
exemplar institutions, about laboratory facilities. Provide summary on
Solicit information from members on infrastructure costs and creative funding
arrangements. Provide summary on WWW.
Include questions about what has worked and not worked for improving access
to physically handicapped students. (Access and Equity)
Identify all of the different kinds of technologies available at or to
UCGIS institutions (e.g., video communication over the Internet what enables
one-one-to-one teaching or technical support, educational satellites, television
studios, classrooms equipped with Ethernet and LCD projectors, etc.)
Research and development about and for GIS education
Determine what needs to be taught about GIScience to whom (Alternative
Designs, Professional Education, Learning with GIS and Access and Equity)
Identify all the constituencies needing or desiring GIS education (Alternative
Identify the professional goals of and related key GIScience concepts needed
by various educational constituencies (Alternative Designs)
Determine what is the minimal 'spatial literacy' needed to do GIS. (Learning
with GIS, Access and Equity)
Determine, in particular, the different needs between traditional GI Science
education and those of the employed professional student. (Professional
Identify the appropriate educational delivery systems for the various educational
constituencies (Alternative Designs)
this must include consideration how spatial literacy needs may vary due
to different cultures, communities, traditions, languages, and so forth.
Develop techniques for assessing and monitoring the effectiveness of GIS
education relative to the changing goals and activities of each educational
constituency (Alternative Designs)
Develop, test and distribute GIS software that allows content-focused active
and authentic spatial learning for cartographically and geographically
naive learners at various educational levels. (Learning with GIS)
Create resources to assess GIS-based learning environments (Learning with
Determine how the visualization methods and spatial logic imbedded in GIS
impact on the learning processes for the learning impaired students and/or
socio-economically disadvantaged groups. (Access and Equity)
Create and validate instruments to measure baseline information on students'
visualizaton skills, spatial skills and cognitive abilities.
Identify procedures for measuring skills and outcomes for learning with
GIS and learning about GIS.
Cross-validate these procedures with the baseline instruments.
Prioritize a research agenda to formalize principles for teaching how spatial
reasoning and problem-solving expertise develop.
Establish longitudinal assessment programs to understand the potentials
and limitations of GIS theory and technology upon improvement of spatial
reasoning and spatial problem-solving skills.
Course content and teaching materials
Outline curricula and course content for various constituencies and topics.
Establish a model core curriculum of the necessary coursework for the professional
student. (Professional Education)
Identify important topics which should be covered by graduate level courses
Establish a subcommittee to recommend model curricula and guidelines based
on surveys conducted.
Provide guidelines detailing the expected differences among the varying
levels of GIS education.
Identify strategies for meeting these needs of professionals from specific
disciplines, including those desiring education for application-oriented
Build templates and materials, including case studies, for a GIS ethics
course (Access and Equity)
Develop a framework for categorizing and assessing GIS impacts that can
be incorporated into GIS curricula (Access and Equity)
Compare the list of themes currently taught in graduate level courses against
the UCGIS research priorities. Make lists of key results that are known
and missing results that still need to be determined in all of the UCGIS
research initiative areas.
Identify areas, such as "Spatial Statistics", that require different focuses
for different research-capable audiences; and analyze the needs of the
various audiences and potential researchers in different fields.
Pay special attention to analytical courses that aim directly at confirmatory
spatial analysis, such as spatial statistics. Adapt courses to the
needs of the various audiences and research challenge.
Consider the components of a service course for outstanding researchers
and Ph.D. students in outside fields of study, such as anthropology.
Examine current GISystems capabilities, limitations, and potential for
growth in areas of spatial analysis, spatial statistics, and modeling.
Compile a checklist of GISystem capabilities for leading commercial products,
highlighting advanced areas that are inadequately developed. Compile a
wish list of GISystem capabilities in advanced areas such as analysis,
spatial statistics, and mathematical modeling.
Develop a curriculum for courses in Spatial Statistical Analysis as a prototype.
Develop short on-line courses and course prototypes.
must include explicit consideration of who benefits at what cost, and who
Develop, publicize, and test one short on-line course on a popular professional
or technical topic. (Professional Education, Emerging Technologies)
Develop, publicize, and test one special-topic on-line course in Advanced
GIScience (e.g., "Topology for GIScientists"). (Research Education, Emerging
Based on experience from these on-line courses, develop prototypes for
on-line short courses at both the Master's and Ph.D. level. (Research
Education, Professional Education)
Compile and create teaching modules for distance learning courses to help
instructors deal with effectively with television cameras, audio equipment,
and enhanced classrooms, video conferencing capabilities. (Emerging Technologies)
Develop a conceptual framework (in collaboration with researchers in the
education field) for how courses of this sort should be developed.
Include guidelines as to what should be delivered on-line and what should
Create a Techwatch electronic newsletter (Emerging Technologies)
Create a UCGIS web-based clearinghouse for educational materials (Emerging
Technologies, Infrastructure, Professional Education, Learning with GIS)
Details about this newsletter are laid out in the Emerging Technologies
Determine how to extend the Virtual Geography Department model to cover
Create a clearinghouse web page sponsored by a UCGIS institution.
Inventory and link materials available on-line, including:
Post a summary of the UCGIS survey on infrastructure issues. (Infrastructure)
education materials at UCGIS institutions and relevant materials from other
specialized software, data and instructional materials.
distributed collaborative curriculum materials.
Create and maintain a FAQ on infrastructure issues. (Infrastructure)
include infrastructure costs and creative funding arrangements for creating
GIS education infrastructure, funding sources, opportunities, and alternative
support avenues for supporting infrastructure.
Create a Professional Education page that summarizes basic details on admissions
policies, curricula, faculty, tuition and pricing in place at UCGIS institutions.
Establish a clearinghouse for the exchange of modules for Learning with
GIS and of experiences about using these modules. (Learning with GIS)
Develop a plan for collecting and sharing information on successful strategies
for delivering effective education for employed professionals.
Create "how-to" workbooks and associated web pages on how to best employ
emerging technologies for GIS education.
Produce a "how to" guide which sets out the basic steps, as well as scenarios
for the development or management of facilities under different resource
Create a UCGIS Collaboratory that provides for the automatic collection
and interpretation of data sets, equally accessible by participating institutions
in real-time. (Emerging Technologies)
Prepare statements on UCGIS’s position on certification, accreditation,
and licensing issues (Accreditation and Certification, Professional Education)
Assist member schools and consortiums of schools in obtaining funding for
developing and testing innovative delivery mechanisms. (Emerging Technologies)
Form a task force to prepare draft position statements for discussion and
Establish the proper support for and integration of various curricula into
the educational systems of UCGIS institutions (Alternative designs).
Build partnerships with vendors, government agencies at all levels, and
private interests who are both providers of materials and benefactors of
instructional improvements. (Infrastructure)
Support Infrastructure related policy (Infrastructure)
Actively pursue opportunities for dialog with vendors, government agencies
and private companies with a view to developing areas of mutual support.
Designate UCGIS contact person(s) to serve as conduit(s) for information
to be disseminated to the membership.
Set into place mechanisms for fostering adoption of Learning with GIS modules
(Learning with GIS)
initiate discussion of standards and compatibility issues as regards education
infrastructure among the membership through the Clearinghouse Page or the
open discussion with key figures in government agencies and other organizations
working on standards and related issues.
Fund opportunities for prospective faculty exchanges, including doctoral
students and teaching post-doctorate positions.
Fund opportunities for existing instructor re-training for pre-collegiate
teachers, faculty exchanges and in-service programs other (non-traditional)
Develop sourcebooks guiding new instructors on how and where to get help
in using such materials.
UCGIS Workshops and Seminars
Develop a Summer Assembly workshop or panel discussion focusing on emerging
technologies within the broader contexts of education, research, and society.
Reconvene the virtual seminar with a different focus and sponsored by a
different UCGIS institution. (Emerging Technologies)
Publicize the plan for the workshop/panel and enlist participants.
Convene the workshop/panel at a Summer Assembly.
send any comments to the editors.
Return to the list of Education