UCGIS Education Priorities
Unified list of action items
(September 8, 1997)
 Please 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
  1. Assess the current state of affairs in GI science education (Accreditation and certification, Alternative Designs, Professional Education and Research education)
    1. Complete a literature review of all surveys of programs currently addressing GI knowledge domains that have been performed to date.
    2. 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 information exists.
    3. Survey GI practitioners for information about their background, education and employment.
    4. Compile information on current graduate level GIScience courses (Research education)
    5. Contribute to other GI science education studies, in particular cooperate with the National Research Council in their proposed study of the field of GIScience.
  2. 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)

  4. Collect case study models of laboratory facilities. (Infrastructure)
  5. Conduct a survey of member institutions on the quality and extent of emerging technologies usage within and between departments. (Emerging Technologies)

Research and development about and for GIS education

  1. Determine what needs to be taught about GIScience to whom (Alternative Designs, Professional Education, Learning with GIS and Access and Equity)
    1. Identify all the constituencies needing or desiring GIS education (Alternative Designs)
    2. Identify the professional goals of and related key GIScience concepts needed by various educational constituencies (Alternative Designs)
    3. Determine what is the minimal 'spatial literacy' needed to do GIS. (Learning with GIS, Access and Equity)
  2. Identify the appropriate educational delivery systems for the various educational constituencies (Alternative Designs)

  4. Develop techniques for assessing and monitoring the effectiveness of GIS education relative to the changing goals and activities of each educational constituency (Alternative Designs)

  6. 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)

  8. Create resources to assess GIS-based learning environments (Learning with GIS)
  9. 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)

Course content and teaching materials

  1. Outline curricula and course content for various constituencies and topics.
    1. Establish a model core curriculum of the necessary coursework for the professional student. (Professional Education)
    2. Identify important topics which should be covered by graduate level courses (Research Education)
    3. Build templates and materials, including case studies, for a GIS ethics course (Access and Equity)
    4. Develop a framework for categorizing and assessing GIS impacts that can be incorporated into GIS curricula (Access and Equity)
  2. Develop short on-line courses and course prototypes.
    1. Develop, publicize, and test one short on-line course on a popular professional or technical topic. (Professional Education, Emerging Technologies)
    2. Develop, publicize, and test one special-topic on-line course in Advanced GIScience (e.g., "Topology for GIScientists"). (Research Education, Emerging Technologies)
    3. 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)
  3. 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)


  1. Create a Techwatch electronic newsletter (Emerging Technologies)
  2. Create a UCGIS web-based clearinghouse for educational materials (Emerging Technologies, Infrastructure, Professional Education, Learning with GIS)
    1. Determine how to extend the Virtual Geography Department model to cover GIScience
    2. Create a clearinghouse web page sponsored by a UCGIS institution.
    3. Inventory and link materials available on-line, including:
  3. Post a summary of the UCGIS survey on infrastructure issues. (Infrastructure)
  4. Create and maintain a FAQ on infrastructure issues. (Infrastructure)

  6. Create a Professional Education page that summarizes basic details on admissions policies, curricula, faculty, tuition and pricing in place at UCGIS institutions. (Professional Education)

  8. Establish a clearinghouse for the exchange of modules for Learning with GIS and of experiences about using these modules. (Learning with GIS)

  10. Develop a plan for collecting and sharing information on successful strategies for delivering effective education for employed professionals.

  12. Create "how-to" workbooks and associated web pages on how to best employ emerging technologies for GIS education.

  14. 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 conditions. (Infrastructure)

  16. 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)


  1. Prepare statements on UCGIS’s position on certification, accreditation, and licensing issues (Accreditation and Certification, Professional Education)
  2. Assist member schools and consortiums of schools in obtaining funding for developing and testing innovative delivery mechanisms. (Emerging Technologies)

  4. Establish the proper support for and integration of various curricula into the educational systems of UCGIS institutions (Alternative designs).

  6. Build partnerships with vendors, government agencies at all levels, and private interests who are both providers of materials and benefactors of instructional improvements. (Infrastructure)
  7. Support Infrastructure related policy (Infrastructure)
  8. Set into place mechanisms for fostering adoption of Learning with GIS modules (Learning with GIS)

UCGIS Workshops and Seminars

  1. Develop a Summer Assembly workshop or panel discussion focusing on emerging technologies within the broader contexts of education, research, and society. (Emerging Technologies)
  2. Reconvene the virtual seminar with a different focus and sponsored by a different UCGIS institution. (Emerging Technologies)

Please send any comments to the editors.
 Return to the list of Education Priorities.