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Instructional Development Award Recipients

Several undergraduate instructors who attended the 2004 SPACE workshops were awarded funds to continue their efforts in integrating spatial analysis into their course curriculums. These pages showcase their achievements. See the full recipient list.

Mark Bjelland

Affiliation: Geography, Gustavus Adolphus College
Workshop Attended: Spatial Analysis and GIS for Undergraduate Course Enhancement in the Social Sciences
Accomplishment: Designed a new course syllabus that makes use of GeoDa and ArcView. Introduced GeoDa to colleagues for undergraduate teaching. Plans for a college-wide workshop on why space matters in statistical analysis.

Notable Achievements in His Own Words

In attending the 2004 SDSU SPACE workshop, I had two primary goals: 1) finding a way to introduce spatial analysis into courses where students lack GIS skills, 2) developing my own spatial analysis tool-kit so that I am prepared to develop an advanced course that would make use of spatial analysis. More specifically, I wanted to develop several enhancements for our existing quantitative methods in geography course and develop enhancements for my Urban Geography course and my Introduction to GIS course. Finally, my department asked me to develop an advanced undergraduate course that would focus on spatial analysis.

For me, the SPACE workshop was beneficial in that it presented the breadth of spatial thinking over time and across disciplines.
Mark Bjelland

For me, the SPACE workshop was beneficial in that it presented the breadth of spatial thinking over time and across disciplines. The SPACE workshop introduced to me a wealth of resources and I plan to use several of the pages from the CSISS Classics website as readings or lecture resources for my Introduction to GIS and Urban Geography courses.

One of the real benefits of the SPACE workshop was being introduced to GeoDA for spatial data exploration. I found GeoDA to be a perfect instructional tool because it doesn't have the slow learning curve of conventional GIS packages and has enough statistical tools for most undergraduate geography methods courses. During the summer of 2004, I had GeoDA installed in the Department's Geospatial Analysis Laboratory and trained the colleague who teaches Quantitative Methods in the use of GeoDA. The first use of GeoDA at Gustavus took place in Fall 2004. In Quantitative Methods, GeoDA is being used for cartographic visualization, creating scatter plots, brushing, and regression analysis. I am on sabbatical during 2004-2005 and during this year I have added several enhancements to my existing Urban Geography course which will debut in Fall 2005 and developed a new course, entitled Urban and Regional Analysis that will debut in Spring 2006. Both the new course and revised course incorporated many of the ideas from the workshop and will use GeoDA for exploratory spatial data analysis.

Urban Geography draws many students from sociology, political science, and education that have no background in GIS or spatial perspectives. I have struggled with creating assignments because I wanted students to explore spatial data in map form (primarily census data) and yet could not assume that they had GIS skills. My adaptations to this instructional software gap were varied. For one assignment on city growth and urban hierarchies, I had students manually map the locations of the fastest growing major cities during different epochs of urban growth. Then, I had them plot the log of the city size in 1990 versus the log of its population in 2000 and observe those cities that didn't lie along the trend line.

For another assignment I tried to illustrate the relationships between housing markets and racial segregation using census data and data on the racial composition of schools. In the past, I had students work in groups so that each group would have at least one member with GIS skills. Both of these assignments have now been revised by using GeoDA to map spatial data and create scatter plots so students can visualize the relationships between variables. For the second assignment, students will use GeoDA to create choropleth maps of housing units constructed, population, age structure and racial composition. By using GeoDA, students will spend less time manually plotting the data and more time in data exploration and visualization.

My new course, Urban and Regional Analysis, combines readings in the literature on urban and regional development with spatial analysis exercises exploring real-world datasets. The spatial analysis exercises are designed to teach students the research methods used by geographers and urban planners to describe and understand urban and regional change. The exercises will make extensive use of GeoDA and ArcView. Students will learn to do point-pattern analyses, calculate spatial segregation indices, and create spatial lag and spatial error regression models for housing and population data for a metropolitan area.

Course Materials

Future Participation

The Ninth Computers in Urban Planning and Urban Management Conference is the premier international conference on innovations and applications of techniques such as urban growth simulation, spatial statistics, and GIS-based land-use change and development modelling for cities. I will attend the conference and focus on conference sessions covering urban morphology analysis, and GIS-based spatial simulations. I hope to gain significant amount of new teaching material on urban growth simulations.

Further, I hope to develop and refine a land-use change and transportation modelling lab exercise for my urban and regional analysis course. Over time as I continue to offer this course and develop my expertise in urban spatial simulations using GIS, I hope to expand this portion of the Urban and Regional Analysis course so that it becomes an integrating semester-length project done in collaboration with community partners (likely local governments).

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