Authors: Jessica Morgan*, Unity College DE, Katherine Willis*, Unity College DE, Pamela MacRae, Unity College DE, Sarah Lukianov, Unity College DE
Topics: Geography Education, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Higher Education
Keywords: Education, Online Learning, COVID-19, GIS and Remote Sensing
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 36
Presentation File: Download
The emergence of COVID-19 in the United States during the Spring 2020 semester required many higher education institutions to rapidly transition from in-person courses to a remote learning environment. In laboratory courses like GIS and Remote Sensing, this presented unique challenges to student success and learning. Unity College launched its online graduate MPS in Environmental Geographic Information Science and Environmental Geographic Information Science Certificate programs in 2018 and its online undergraduate B.S. in Environmental Geospatial Technologies and Environmental Geographic Information Systems Certificate programs in Spring 2020. These programs offer high-quality online courses with an emphasis on GIS applications in the environmental and natural sciences. Unity’s mission is to develop responsible citizens, environmental stewards, and visionary leaders through experiential and collaborative learning opportunities. In this presentation, we discuss best practices in the development of online GIS and Remote Sensing courses. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher learning as a framework, we discuss backward course design and the need for authentic learning experiences that create community and encourage ownership of the learning process for GIS students in an online environment. These best practices have the potential to benefit all GIS students in traditional, hybrid, and online learning environments.