American Sentinel to Highlight GIS Learning Lab at Esri Conference

Stephen McElroy, Ph.D., GIS Program Chair at American Sentinel University

Congratulations to Stephen McElroy, Ph.D., GIS program chair at American Sentinel University, who has been asked to give a presentation at the Esri Education Conference in San Diego, July 6 through 9.

The conference is the premier venue for sharing best practices in GIS education. Dr. McElroy will present a talk, titled Online Geospatial Learning Lab Exemplifies Competency-Based Learning, on the last day from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Carlsbad Room at the Marriott Marquis hotel.

The topic should be interesting to those who want to learn GIS because it addresses a cutting edge approach that American Sentinel is using in its GIS instruction.

Education is too often only focused on grades and fulfilling degree or certificate requirements and not necessarily on the need to truly master content. American Sentinel has experimented with a more holistic approach in its geographic information system offerings. There is, of course, traditional class work, projects, and assignments for students to complete at home. In addition, there is the Geospatial Learning Lab.

Many educators have come to see the benefits and strengths of online education. One way in which American Sentinel is bringing more value to GIS students is by creating a learning commons: a place where students and faculty have access to additional resources and materials to create an active learning community beyond the bounds of a physical or online classroom.

Students can explore particular topics in the curriculum to a greater depth than might be possible in a class. The Geospatial Learning Lab offers a dynamic list of online GIS content, including advanced tutorials, case studies, GIS data downloads, and geospatial innovations. An optional resource, students can pick areas that catch their interest and learn more at their own pace. The areas, or concept groups, are geospatial data management, geoprocessing, remote sensing and imagery, spatial modeling and raster analysis, and spatial statistics.

The lab supplements more than 25 GIS courses and complements all the GIS degree programs that American Sentinel offers, including the AS, BS, and MS tracks. It also serves the broader university by providing a way to implement geospatial thinking across the all the curricula, whether business, health care, computer science, or information technology.

In a later post, we’ll explore in greater depth some of the innovative features of the Lab and how they support learning, subject mastery, and specialized expertise. And if you find yourself at the conference, please stop by our exhibit and say hello.

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