I recently read an article by David DiBiase in the Fall 2009 online digital copy of Cartographic Perspectives: Journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society, called “Freeing CP: GIS&T and NACIS in the Open Educational Resources Movement.” Check out this website and scroll down the page to read the article yourself: http://www.nacis.org/index.cfm?x=5.
This really got me wondering what we are doing with our online geospatial curriculum on our http://geoworkshops.org site. For many years now I have offered this curriculum free to any K-12 school that wants it since we developed these materials with local, state, and federal grant money - but I want to take it a little bit further now.
As we update our materials to ArcGIS 10, I have started posting my new lectures to YouTube under our GIS3wcGetIt account and will also be posting them to Teacher Tube and Itunes University as some schools block access to YouTube. You can view our growing YouTube collection for our GT-101 course by going to this LINK. We will allow immediate guest access to our older six courses on ArcGIS 9.3 and as we update and improve our materials for ArcGIS 10, we will also permit guest access to these courses as well. All of our materials are posted using the Creative Commons Attribution license and use is restricted to non-commercial use.
Over the next few months we will be creating a share site where you will be able to download all of the materials we used to make these courses. We encourage people to use these, and if you think you can improve our materials, we welcome the help and hope you send the improvements back to us. We will put credits on the materials whenever someone helps us in this way. By giving the original source materials out this will be easy to do.
Now you may wonder how we will sustain this or make any money if we give all of our materials away. Well we do have existing training contracts to supply training to a number of groups at costs that are way below market value for professional development GIS courses. These students will be able to upload assignments for comment and helpful suggestions from our qualified staff who use GIS every day in their work. Our paying students will also be able to consult us for help with the lessons and any other GIS question they have via email, phone, and interactive web meetings using software such as Adobe Connect. And when they finish the course, they will receive formal documentation of their accomplishments that they can use to further their careers and for certification purposes where continuing education must be documented. I think we will make out just fine and feel good about it too.
If you agree, liking us on our Facebook account would be helpful.
Written by Stewart Bruce, GIS Program Coordinator at Washington College