Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Course structure: Labs every week (with ArcGIS software after week 4) are 30% of your grade. Patrick is an awesome TA and will help you with anything you do not understand about the software. Midterm and Final are each worth 35% of your grade and are administered during lab on weeks 5 and 10. No lectures are held those weeks. Sheng is good as a lecturer and it takes (at least for me it did) about a week to get used to his accent. He is very knowledge and wants everyone to learn as much as they can. He is deeply passionate about the material.
Winter 2020 - This class was a ride and a requirement for my major. I would not recommend it to someone who just needs a GE because this is an intensive course. If you are interested in making maps and GIS, this is a great class to start with to tests all of the basis GIS waters there are. This was my first onlinen course, but I chose to do an in-person lab and it made the class more tolerable and manageable. It is not too difficult to get an B+ or A-, but if you do everything correctly and take the time to do a few more extra things, you can receive an A/A+. The WEEKLY FORUM posts are generally written responses with the occasional photo attachment to a prompt. Many times we had to read up on a subject and write about our thoughts and respond to fellow classmates. Easy and practically guaranteed 10% of your grade if you do all of them on time. The WEEKLY QUIZZES would ask questions from the informational videos the professor posts and also information from the textbook. You do not need to buy the textbook because it can be found online and at the library. They would open on Monday and be due Sunday night with UNLIMITED ATTEMPTS between that time period, BUT there is a 90 MINUTE WAIT TIME IN BETWEEN ATTEMPTS, so if you are doing them at the last minute and you didn't get a score you wanted, you are out of luck. Also, after each attempt, you only get the score and NOT which questions you missed. So these quizzes do take a good chunk of time to complete. My regret is not getting a 100 on each one because they are easier points than the weekly assignments. WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS- Weekly assignments are TIME CONSUMING. No surprise there. I am bad with technology, but the tutorials posted on CCLE give you step by step instructions on how to complete your project in order to get a standard outcome. There are not too difficult to follow, but it is best to work on two monitors or a split screen in order to play the CCLE video alongside the QGIS software. WHAT SUCKS- Even if you do the entire assignment completely correct, you will only receive 80% of the points. I missed out on points to get a 100 on each assignment because I could have made the assignments more aesthetically appealing, or add more extra data. I understand that this is a part of what it takes to get a 100, but I didn't know how to do the things the other students were doing to their maps in order to receive that 100. ALSO, the professor almost never responds to your emails. Your only source of help is mainly your TAs on the weekdays. There is also a Piazza forum for students, but mainly everyone is unresponsive to everyone else's issues or they are just as confused. FINAL PROJECT- I spent countless hours, leading to days, on my final project. It had become optional in light of the situation, but I wanted the chance to boost my grade to an A. As long as you do everything you can for this project and truly do your research and make more aesthetically appealing visuals of your maps and data, I believe you will be fine. I learned how important map-making is in our world. Now that I am reflecting on the content of this course and all of the skills that I learned, it makes the class seem worthwhile. Now every time I see a map online, I get an idea of how that map was made and how map makers still have an important job in today's society. Also, all of the assignments we did in this course can be put into a personal professional portfolio. Grade breakdown: 5%- Syllabus Quiz 10%- Weekly Forum Posts 50%- Weekly Assignments 20%- Final Project 15%- Weekly Quizzes