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Instructional Development Award Recipients

Several undergraduate instructors who attended the 2004, 2005, or 2006 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.

Joan Walker

Affiliation: Department Geography and Environment, Boston University
Workshop Attended: GIS and Spatial Modeling for the Undergraduate Social Science Curriculum, OSU
Accomplishment: Since taking over the course, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GE365) two years ago, I have (1) doubled the amount of time that students spend in the lab working with GIS, (2) upgraded from ArcView to ArcGIS, (3) collaborated with pediatric researchers at the Boston University Medical Campus to introduce a term project for students on nutritional resources in the Boston Area, and (4) developed case studies for an undergraduate course in Economic Geography.

Notable Achievements in Her Own Words

It has been over two years since my participation in the SPACE workshop, and I still carry with me the memories of the outstanding energy of the SPACE instructors, their excitement regarding GIS, the clarity of their lectures, and their emphasis on real applications and hands-on learning. I consider them a model for how GIS should be taught, and this has clearly influenced how I have developed my courses.
Joan Walker

I have been developing case studies to emphasize local data and to focus on problem-oriented assignments (i.e., having a clear story for which the analysis results in a conclusion and deliverable). When I took over Economic Geography (GE103), which emphasizes the location of economic activity and spatial aspects of area development, it was extremely well done but heavily emphasized theory without making use of any real data, any spatial data, or any GIS. I supplemented the theoretical material by adding a GIS lab component, having students work with ArcGIS using real data related to Boston. The new syllabus (with the added emphasis on GIS) and two of the assignments that make use of GIS are included (below) under Course Materials. I am building up these case studies and am currently developing a third on international trade.

Course Materials

Syllabus: GE 103 Economic Geography Walker Economic Geography Syllabus.pdf
Assignments: GE 103 lab assignments Walker Economic Geography Assignments.pdf

Term Projects:

Future Plans

I want to bring together approximately 15 Boston-area GIS professors to begin a dialog and to share resources, including an email list of local GIS instructors and a website to compile and distribute educational materials (with the emphasis on labs that make use of local data or are of national or world-wide interest). Boston is certainly the perfect environment to forge local collaborations among GIS instructors due to the wealth of Universities. However, I believe the region-wide collaborative approach could benefit many areas where there are multiple disciplines, courses, instructors, and/or universities doing GIS instruction. Even within my University, there are other GIS courses that are being taught, but I have had no contact with the instructors. A case study on the SPACE website is a great forum for promoting such a program.

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