Open Source GIS Instruction in Two Classroom Settings

Authors: James Wilson*, Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences, Northern Illinois University, Earle Isibue, Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences, Northern Illinois University
Topics: Geography Education, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Asia
Keywords: GIS Education, Open Source Software, Open Access data
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The purpose of this poster is to share experiences teaching GIS in two settings using an Open Source GIS and Open Access data: GIS workshops conducted in the low resource environments of two Myanmar geography departments; and a seminar using a co-learning and “flipped” instructional approach at NIU. Geography is widely taught in Myanmar universities and there is great interest in GIS. However, access to proprietorial GIS software and consistent internet connections is challenging. Workshops were conducted at Yadanabon University (Mandalay/Amarapura) and the University of Magway (Magway) in 2017 and 2018. QGIS and Open Access data were distributed to faculty taking part in the workshops. More than 40 participants from a variety of disciplines attended the workshops. At NIU, a seminar on regional health and disease was conducted in 2018. In this setting, access to proprietorial software was also limited. Students conducted literature reviews on vectored diseases with the goal of creating geo-visualizations of disease transmission risk. In the classroom, the instructor and students worked together using QGIS and Open Access data to compile and create map layers of potential risk disease transmission in areas of Southeast Asia. The level of engagement in both settings was high. Identifying willing and helpful co-learners in large workshops as well as small seminars was extremely valuable. In such environments, instructional creativity, including working with Open Access data, was stimulated and will scaffold future outreach to different audiences with variable GIS knowledge.

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