Coffee Hour: Maps and the Geospatial Revolution ...

Friday, September 20, 2013 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The talk begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.

Maps and the Geospatial Revolution: A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Cartography

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have emerged as a rapidly-growing trend in distance education. By their nature, MOOCs provide a new form of access to courses without tuition costs to students, and they challenge traditional models for university education which emphasize high levels of one-on-one contact between instructors and students.

In this talk I describe experiences and lessons learned from designing, developing, and teaching one of the first MOOCs on Mapping. The course, called Maps and the Geospatial Revolution, was offered through Coursera, a popular platform for delivering MOOCs. Over 47,000 students from around the world enrolled in the first offering of the class, signaling a large demand for basic cartographic education. The talk will highlight a wide range of challenges and opportunities around MOOCs on Geography. Among many possible impacts, research on map use and design, as well as education and outreach to improve exposure to our discipline appear poised to benefit from engagement with thousands of students in MOOCs.

About the speaker

robinson anthonyAnthony Robinson is assistant director for the Department of Geography's GeoVISTA research center at Penn State. Robinson's research focuses on the science of interface and interaction design for geographic visualization software tools. He has developed interface design and usability assessment methods for integrating geographic visualization tools with work in epidemiology, crisis management, and homeland security. Robinson's recent research projects have focused on the design of map symbol standards, developing tools for collecting and adding meaning to geographic information, designing new systems to leverage geospatial information in social media, and eye-tracking to design new geovisualization techniques. In addition to externally-funded research activity, Robinson directs Penn State’s Online Geospatial Education efforts, including its Master of GIS and Post-Baccalaureate GIS Certificate programs.