[OSGeo-Discuss] Maps and the Geospatial Revolution from Jul 17th 2013 at Coursera

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Sat Jun 29 15:23:26 PDT 2013

Hello Anthony and others in the OSGeo Education space.

It seems your email is not getting through to our email lists, which is 
probably because you are not subscribed. I suggest doing so here: 

See Anthony's response below.
This email thread was started on the OSGeo Discuss list, but please 
continue on the edu-discuss list. In responding to this email, please 
drop the discuss at lists.osgeo.org in response (and subscribe to the 
edu-discuss if you wish to follow along).

There have been quite a bit of discussion on our edu-discuss list about 
MOOCs, and so your course and what you have learned so far is very 
relevant to all of us.

The part of MOOC development which personally interests me (extending 
from my involvement in OSGeo-Live) is how to develop a process for 
maintaining and extending MOOC courses. In particular, from within the 
30,000 students attending your course, there is likely to be many with 
excellent ideas for improvements. How do you capture such ideas, and at 
the same time retain the single focus and simplicity core to good 
educational material? How do you ensure that your material is updated 
whenever software is updated? How can your training material be retasked 
for a different audience (eg for primary school students)? Then once you 
have multiple courses all based upon the same core material, how do you 
ensure they all get updated together?

These are questions we have working on when generating documentation for 
OSGeo-Live, which I've described here:

With regards to some of your other points, I'll be interested to hear 
responses from the Educators within the OSGeo community. (I'm better 
described as a Software Developer, Technical Writer and Coordinator).

On 30/06/13 03:20, ANTHONY C ROBINSON wrote:
> Hi Cameron,
> I really appreciate you touching base with me about this and sharing 
> your discussions on my MOOC.
> I hadn't yet seen the OSGeo-Live site or packages -- this is great to 
> know about and I will change my instructions in the class to point to 
> these resources instead of the piece-by-piece approach I'd been taking 
> with respect to highlighting various open source geo-efforts. While 
> students in the class will use ArcGIS Online for 4 of the 5 lab 
> assignments, for the final lab assignment I have created a 
> tiered-approach with multiple options to hopefully encourage some of 
> the most eager/tech savvy students to try out platforms like QGIS, 
> GRASS, etc...
> I'm aware of some OS community angst about my selection of AGOL for 
> doing most of the labs in the course. I've worked for 10 years in the 
> GeoVISTA Center, a GIScience research center that has been very active 
> in developing open source systems for geovisualization and 
> geocomputation. In addition, I lead Online Geospatial Education 
> programs at Penn State, which to my knowledge represent the only 
> Geography programs that provide Open Educational Resources for nearly 
> all of its online courses (open.ems.psu.edu). So the clear value and 
> innovation associated with all things open is not lost on me, and I 
> recognize that there are some important considerations to be had with 
> having MOOC students use a commercial platform. I won't answer all of 
> them here ( and I would never claim to be an infallible decision 
> maker), but it may be helpful to understand some of the motivation for 
> this course and its design:
> ·The class is designed for people who may use maps but have never made 
> their own. It is not designed to teach GIS pros/academics something 
> new. It's designed to encourage new geospatial people to emerge; to 
> rethink maps and what they can do.
> ·It is not designed to train people to use GIS software. The focus is 
> on understanding the most basic things about Geography and Mapping. It 
> functions much like a 1 credit zero-level class that we might teach 
> here on campus.
> ·A MOOC on Coursera typically reaches at least 30,000 people in its 
> first run (mine will be no exception) and includes 60-75% of its 
> students from outside the United States.
> ·I chose a mapping platform that my Grandpa could realistically use 
> (he's signed up for the class) in the first week of the class, and 
> that would not require anything to be downloaded.
> ·Esri is providing technical support in the course forums to ensure 
> that nothing blows up and that problems are very quickly remedied. No 
> money is associated at all with this relationship, and I approached 
> them first because my former boss, David DiBiase, directs their 
> education team and I knew he would understand what I did and did not 
> want in terms of a partnership. I know they get a bad rap quite often 
> (frequently for good reason) but I have to say that every part of this 
> cooperation has been on my terms and excellent.
> There are absolutely great ways to re-imagine this type of course with 
> purely open source stuff driving lab assignments. Nothing would make 
> me happier than to see the OsGeo community develop a second version of 
> this class with different ways to complete the labs. I think that 
> would be awesome. If I can be useful toward that end, please let me know.
> I'm very interested in any advice folks can give me about the best 
> ways to share the content I've developed for this course. Coursera 
> doesn't make it easy for me to export the whole thing into a reusable 
> package. We use Drupal here in our PSU programs to provide content, so 
> my thought is to try and convert everything to that CMS and provide it 
> in that manner. Others have suggested using GitHub, but I want to 
> avoid simply uploading a pile of PDFs and Videos and assuming that 
> that would be "good enough." Everything in the class will be offered 
> under a CC non-commercial license at any rate -- like our other open 
> courseware at PSU.
> I also can't imagine that there would only ever be one MOOC on 
> Mapping. That's crazy. There ought to be just as many as we see now 
> for various CompSci and Engineering topics. I'm very excited to share 
> everything I learn from this experience, comparing it to how we 
> develop other online courses (we offer ~25 here and I have 5 years of 
> teaching geospatial stuff online), and considering the meaning of 
> "open" when it comes to such things. I would agree with many critics 
> that MOOCs themselves are not necessarily as "open" as they perhaps 
> should be. Most of the big platforms (Coursera included) are trying to 
> figure out a revenue stream from this stuff, for example, and as I've 
> mentioned they definitely don't make it easy to repurpose things 
> elsewhere.
> The class is 99% ready to go and opens on July 17^th . I would be very 
> happy to hear any and all feedback (including, if you think its 
> warranted, that I am a colossal idiot) once it's launched. Each week 
> for five weeks a new lesson will roll out, with video lectures, lots 
> of written/graphical content, lab assignments, and discussions on 
> things like geospatial privacy, the impact of social media on mapping, 
> etc... At the bare minimum it is very exciting to imagine what tens of 
> thousands of people will do when they make their first maps.
> TL:DR -- I'll definitely point to the live.osgeo resources and making 
> a MOOC is complicated but I am very eager to share what I learn. :)
> Cheers,
> -Anthony
> Anthony C. Robinson, PhD
> Lead Faculty for Online Geospatial Education, John A. Dutton 
> e-Education Institute
> Assistant Director, GeoVISTA Center
> Department of Geography
> The Pennsylvania State University
> www.personal.psu.edu/acr181/
> *From:*Cameron Shorter [mailto:cameron.shorter at gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Friday, June 28, 2013 4:18 PM
> *To:* Anthony Robinson
> *Cc:* Rick Smith; Jorge Gaspar Sanz Salinas; OSGeo Discussions; 
> edu_discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> *Subject:* Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Maps and the Geospatial Revolution from 
> Jul 17th 2013 at Coursera
> Hi Anthony,
> As per emails below, you can see that people have been talking about 
> your "Maps and the Geospatial Revolution" course within the Open 
> Source Geospatial communities.
> Are you aware of the OSGeo-Live USB/DVD/Virtual Machine?
> http://live.osgeo.org
> OSGeo-Live provides a distribution of 50 of the best Geospatial Open 
> Source applications all preinstalled and configured with sample data, 
> ready for use in courses such as yours. It also includes Project 
> Overviews and Quickstarts for all these applications: 
> http://live.osgeo.org/en/overview/overview.html
> I'm CCing the OSGeo Education email list, which are also doing great 
> things. In particular, they have been building up a network of Open 
> Source Geospatial Labs within Universities around the world.
> On 28/06/2013 10:50 PM, Rick Smith wrote:
>     Myself and two colleagues are currently running a (mini)MOOC on
>     geospatial technology.  We are using QGIS for two of the labs and
>     indiemapper for two of the labs  We chose QGIS because we wanted
>     to keep the 'Open' in MOOC truly open.  indiemapper is not open
>     source, but it is free to use and there is no push for signing up
>     for accounts or paying for services, so we think maybe it is
>     little 'o' open  :)
>     Anyway, if interested, view
>     http://catalyst-academy.org/course/geospatial-tech-for-stemx-learning/
>      and you can sign up for free at:
>     *https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/KK6JML
>     <https://webmail.tamucc.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=AC1eOI7a4kWyYoJN_gLUyI_cUUyQR9AI-WUGtL9ubS9qdamfDQFC_PqgbX6eM1v-Oy6o2IM0nd8.&URL=https%3a%2f%2fcanvas.instructure.com%2fenroll%2fKK6JML>*
>     Cheers,
>     -Rick
>     http://gisc.tamucc.edu
>     On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 1:25 AM, Jorge Gaspar Sanz Salinas
>     <jsanz at osgeo.org <mailto:jsanz at osgeo.org>> wrote:
>     On 28 June 2013 01:45, Mateusz Loskot <mateusz at loskot.net
>     <mailto:mateusz at loskot.net>> wrote:
>     > Folks,
>     >
>     > I thought there may be interest here:
>     >
>     > https://www.coursera.org/course/maps
>     >
>     > --
>     > Mateusz  Loskot, http://mateusz.loskot.net
>     Thanks for sharing
>     It's funny that this course relies only on a privative online mapping
>     platform, with the massive amount of free software and data resources
>     for learning available out there. I'd love to see a Coursera/or any
>     other MOOC using OSGeo Live!!
>     Cheers
>     --
>     Jorge Sanz
>     http://es.osgeo.org
>     _______________________________________________
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>     _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> Cameron Shorter
> Geospatial Solutions Manager
> Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
> Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
> Think Globally, Fix Locally
> Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source
> http://www.lisasoft.com

Cameron Shorter
Geospatial Solutions Manager
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254

Think Globally, Fix Locally
Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source

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