As I mentioned earlier I am teaching two courses this Spring semester. I am teaching (1) Understanding Geographic Information Systems (see syllabus), the first course in the Earth & Environmental Sciences SIS certification program, and (2) Advanced Real Estate Market Analysis, a graduate course that simultaneously introduces students to both the principles of market analysis research and GIS.
I have taught 3 graduate GIS-focused courses in the past and co-taught 1 more, so I am not coming at this with years of experience.
Nonetheless I have come to the conclusion that the crux of any intro to GIS course should be a heavy focus on the datasets and sources of data. This should include:
- finding/obtaining data
- evaluating data
- bringing together various datasets that perhaps were never originally intended to play nice
- This will provide students with the greatest flexibility to apply the GIS concepts that they learn in this course (and future GIS courses) in other subject areas. At this university, GIS is really taking off and students from various departments (see here) are flooding to all available GIS classes.
- I think in a very linear fashion, A-then-B-then-C-then-D-then... When I first learned GIS, I was relentlessly frustrated about not knowing where to get my hands on my own GIS data to duplicate the exercises in the textbook.
- It is empowering for students to confidently complete a GIS exercise entirely from scratch.
- Hey, I am a librarian, so I would naturally emphasize the data sources, right?