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Skills for the Digital Earth

The Use of Location Technologies for All

Registration has ended for the spring 2014 Skills for the Digital Earth MOOC. The course will run again from March 1 to March 28 with registration beginning on February 2 (dates are subject to change). Interested in participating? Join our MOOC mailing list.

Elmhurst College’s Skills for the Digital Earth MOOC (massive open online course) is a 4-week, online course designed to introduce how location technologies are used in society. The Digital Earth MOOC is being offered through Desire2Learn (D2L) Open Courses.

Course Description
Ever stop to think about how important location is when using your smart phone? This educational MOOC begins with an elementary explanation of how society uses location in a myriad of disciplines. Geography, or rather, "where?" is important to all of us from various perspectives.

Within this MOOC, participants will learn what location technologies are used for, how the discipline developed and learn by doing via a series of scaffolded practical exercises. Online spatial software will be employed for any device using a browser which takes users through exercises and real world examples. It is appropriate for those with no prior experience with geographic information systems (GIS) software all the way to advanced users.

In this course, participants will:

  • Demonstrate fundamental basic geographic concepts and be exposed to the geospatial workforce.
  • Identify skills associated with the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM).
  • Display creative thinking skills, problem-solving, and decision making in geospatial technologies.
  • Use geospatial tools and technology and apply some business fundamentals using GIS.
  • Recognize employment opportunities in the geospatial industry.
  • Demonstrate the use of basic computer skills.
  • Demonstrate the use of business application software.
  • Demonstrate the use and interpretation of spatial data and data sources.
  • Demonstrate the core geospatial abilities which are consistent with those of someone working in the geospatial industry.

Completing the Course
Upon successful completion of Modules 1-6, participants will be issued a certificate of completion. Upon successful completion of Module 7, participants will receive an additional certificate.

Modules and Badges
Skills for the Digital Earth will incorporate video lectures, interaction opportunities and discussion forums. Each module will feature a quiz and activities, and participants will receive a badge after each completed module to be used to demonstrate skills mastered. Instructions will be provided on the process of adding badges to your backpack in the course.

Module 1: Fundamental Geography
Badge: Fundamental Geography Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrate and apply fundamental geographic knowledge and concepts.
  • Use ArcGIS Online to navigate an online map and use skills learned to create a functional map.

Module 2: Fundamental Computing Skills Associated with Geography
Badge: Fundamental Computing Skills of Geography

  • Successfully identify the skills of navigation online, including file management.
  • Recognize geographic communication skills.
  • Recognize skills associated with e-publishing, use of spreadsheets, presentation software, and use of databases.
  • Identify skills associated with fundamental computing as a means of communication in the discipline of geography and geospatial technologies.

Module 3: Creative Thinking      
Badge: Creative Thinking in Fundamental Geography

  • Recognize logic, deductive/inductive reasoning and problem management skills.
  • Recognize geographic reasoning skills.

Module 4: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making in Geography
Badge: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making in Geography

  • Identify problem-solving and decision-making principles.
  • Identify the effective use of solution implementation and alternative solutions to a spatial problem.

Module 5: Geographic/Geospatial Tools and Technology
Badge: Geographic/Geospatial Tools and Technology

  • Recognize skills with gathering, storing, transforming, and manipulating spatial data to produce a desired outcome.
  • Evaluate other open source software and data sources.

Module 6: Business Fundamentals of Geography/Geospatial Environments
Badge: Business Fundamentals of Geography/Geospatial Environments

  • Identify the application of business fundamentals in several disciplines using GIS.

Module 7: Abilities in the Geospatial Field - Advanced Digital Earth
Badge:  Abilities in the Geospatial Field - Advanced Digital Earth

  • Describe the fundamental concepts and applications of GIS&T, including problems and challenges of representing change over space and time.
  • Identify and describe the basic elements of cartography, including map interpretation, design principles, map projections, coordinates, and scale.
  • Describe the fundamental concepts and applications of remote sensing and global positioning systems.
  • Describe and discuss sources of data (including primary and secondary), the process of creating data, different data models (specifically, raster and vector models), and the fundamental concepts of data quality and uncertainty.
  • Explain location-based services (LBS) and identify LBS applications.
  • Describe the use of overlaying, buffering, and other analysis techniques to analyze spatial and temporal relationships.
  • Discuss the need for ethics and professionalism in GIS&T.
  • Explain datums, ellipsoids, and geoids.

Learn More: Watch a presentation on Skills for the Digital Earth.

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