GEO 325: Geographic Information Systems, Online
Spring 2017: Semester: Syllabus

Instructor, Section 730: Dr. Grant Gunn (gunng@msu.edu)

Syllabus Outline:

Course Description

Course Requirements and Recommendations

Required

Highly recommended

Course Netiquette

Course Organization

Your instructor, onGEO staff, and course authors

Lessons

Quizzes

Makeup quizzes

Online labs

Course Policies

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

Academic honesty

Plagiarism

Spartan Code of Honor

Grading

Calculating your final grade
Extra credit

Spring Semester 2017: Schedule

Course Description:

This course will introduce you to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). You will learn the structure of a GIS, how spatial analysis is performed using GIS, and the many applications of GIS in diverse academic and professional fields.

With the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

Course Requirements and Recommendations:

Required

Highly recommended

PLEASE NOTE:
All course emails will be sent to your Michigan State (mail.msu.edu) account only
 via the Desire2Learn system. You will need to check your MSU account at least once a day for emails from your Instructor and Online Geography staff. If you need to, please set your MSU account to forward your emails to an account that you do check frequently.

Course Netiquette:

An entirely online course is quite different from the traditional courses you have taken at Michigan State University. In an online course, the only contact you are likely to have with your Instructor or with others in the class is through email, discussion boards, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, et cetera. In general, this system works very well and many students prefer it to a traditional (lecture) class because they can ask questions freely without feeling intimidated. We have also discovered, however, that this same feeling of freedom can be a negative thing, particularly because some students feel they can be rude. We ask that you make a special effort to be respectful in all of your correspondences during this course.

Students who make rude comments will be warned the first time by email. REMEMBER: THE ONLY BASIS YOUR INSTRUCTOR HAS FOR GRADING AND DISCUSSIONS IS THROUGH YOUR WORDS ON A COMPUTER SCREEN. Your Instructor has no other context in which to understand your thinking. Therefore, it is important to be concise, informative, and polite while ‘talking’ with your Instructor and other students in the class.

Course Organization:

While a team of faculty and staff manages the course, an Instructor teaches each section. Moreover, this course is delivered through a series of online lessons and textbook readings. Course assessments are accomplished through online exams (based on online lessons and textbook readings) and online labs (based on concepts covered in recent online lessons). Self-assessments are provided for you after many lessons so you can test your understanding of the lesson material.

Your instructor, onGEO staff, and course authors

Dr. Grant Gunn is responsible for this course, from the day-to-day management to the grading. Dr. Gunn takes care of instruction, grading labs and exams, any content questions you may have, any questions about how to work through the course, and final grades. ALL email correspondence and other forms of communication need to go to Dr. Gunn. Ms. Kelsey Nyland will assist Dr. Gunn in the course.

Juliegh Bookout and Beth Weisenborn are staff members of Online Geography (onGEO) courses at MSU, so you may receive notices from them occasionally.

Ms. Adrienne Goldsberry and Dr. Kirk Goldsberry (formerly in Geography at Michigan State University), are the original authors of this course.

Lessons

This course consists of 11 online lessons and 9 online lab assignments/activities.

Lesson/Lab

Topic

Text Readings, 4e

0

Getting Started

--

1

Introduction to GIS

- What Exactly Is a GIS?

- GIS Software and Hardware

- Storing and Retrieving Data

- Spatial Data Analysis

- GIS in Action

Chapter 1

Activity 1

Remote-server (Desoto) Logon

--

2

Introduction to GIS Software

- Introduction

- Structure of GIS Software

- GIS Software Vendors

- ESRI Training Course

Chapter 6

Activity 2
Lab 1

Esri Training Course: Getting Started with GIS

Introduction to ArcMap

--
--

3

Datums and Coordinate Systems

- The Shape of the Earth

- Datums in Use

- Coordinate Systems

- Using Coordinate Systems and Datums in a GIS

Chapter 4:
Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.6 to 4.9

4

Map Projections

- Purpose and Creation of Map Projections

- Map Projections and Distortion

- Types and Characteristics of Map Projections

- Common Projection Choices

- Working with Projections in a GIS

Chapter 4: Sections 4.8 to 4.8.3

Lab 2

Coordinate Systems and Projecting Geographic Information

--

5

Thematic Mapping I

- Reference and Thematic Maps

- Qualitative and Quantitative Thematic Maps
- Spatial Arrangement of Phenomena
- Discrete versus Continuous Data
- Smooth versus Abrupt Data
- Levels of Measurement

Chapter 2: Boxes 2.1 and 2.5; Chapter 3: Section 3.5 to 3.5.2; Chapter 11;
Chapter 12: Section 12.3.1

6

Thematic Mapping II

- Visual Variables
- Types of Thematic Maps
- Data Classification

Chapter 11;
Chapter 12: Section 12.3.1

Lab 3

Thematic Mapping

--

7

Data Models

- Vector and Raster Data Models

- Discrete Phenomena

- Continuous Phenomena

- Approaches to Precision and Scale

Chapter 3; Chapter 7

8

GIS Data: Creation and Synthesis

 - Data Types

 - Creating New Data

- Extracting Data from Existing Data

- Metadata

- Quality Assurance

- Using Data from External Sources

- Data Synthesis

Chapter 8;
Chapter 10: Sections 10.2, 10.2.1, 10.2.2

9

Transformations in GIS

- Map Transformations

- Object Transformations

- Data Structure Transformations

- Spatial Interpolation (intro)

Chapter 12: Section 12.3.2

Chapter 13: Sections 13.1 to 13.3.2, 13.3.6

Lab 4

Georeferencing, Digitizing, and Creating New Data

--

10

Topology

- Introduction and Topology Defined
- Topological Relationships

- Summary

Chapter 7: Section 7.2.3.2

Chapter 9: Section 9.5

11

Overlay Analysis

- Introduction and History of Overlay Analysis

- Raster Overlay Analysis

- Vector Overlay Analysis

Chapter 13: Section 13.2.4

Lab 5

GIS Vector Data Analysis

--

12

Interpolations

 - Methods of Spatial Interpolation

 - Challenges in Spatial Interpolation

-  Choosing a Spatial Interpolation Method

Chapter 13: Section 13.3.6 and subsections

13

Raster Analysis

- Raster Data in Detail

- Generalization When Representing Geographic Data with the Raster Data Model

- Principles of Raster Data Analysis

- Terrain Analysis

Browse through Chapter 5
Chapter 13: Section 13.2.5
Chapter 15: Section 15.2.4

Lab 6

Esri Training Courses on Raster Analysis

--

14

Advanced Topics in GIS

- Planning a GIS Project

- Project Lifecycle

- GIS and Decision-making

Browse through Chapter 16

Lab 7

Geographic Analysis Final Project

--

15

Summary, Future of GIS, and Ethics

- Topics of GIS and Ethics

- Geospatial Technology in the Real World

Browse through Chapter 17

Chapter 18: Sections 18.3 to 18.7

Chapter 19: Sections 19.5 to 19.6

Throughout the lessons, you will be asked and required, on occasion, to follow supplemental web links in order to answer questions that pertain to them. You will be provided with direction boxes (boxes that say "At this time...") with instructions about further exercises. You are responsible for the material in each direction box, which may ask you to visit a website or perform a certain task. You will also see boxes containing further explanations of course material (boxes that say "A follow up") -- these boxes are required reading as well. The lesson's text will indicate whether you are required to visit and explore URLs or if such a link is optional (provided in "Side note" boxes or in the "Above and Beyond" sections). In such cases, exploration of these optional sites will increase your understanding of the subject matter and may help you with the exams, but is not required.

Throughout each lesson, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge with several questions or self-assessments. These questions and review quizzes are not graded. You will, however, be able to look at the correct answers and discuss any further questions you may have with your instructor. You WILL see some of these questions (or similar questions) on exams.

Quizzes

There are eight quizzes during the semester. Each quiz covers two lessons. The purpose of these quizzes is to test your understanding of the material from the online lessons, textbook readings, AND labs covered.

The due dates of the quizzes are listed on the course schedule page and calendar. Essentially each quiz will become available to you when the second lesson it covers turns on. You will have at least one week to submit the quiz. You may log into the quiz at any time during this window of availability.  Once logged into the quiz, you have a set time limit to complete your quiz and turn it in. We highly recommend taking the quiz before moving on to the next lesson.

You are expected to treat the online exams as you would a quiz in a traditional lecture class - in other words, no cheating of any kind (including plagiarism). Quizzes are closed-book, closed-note, and closed-lesson. Your Instructor and other administrators CAN and DO monitor your quiz logs before, during, and after you have taken the quiz - they can detect patterns consistent with cheating and have the authority to discuss the matter with you immediately and give you a ZERO if they see fit.

Once you have turned in your quiz, parts are automatically graded by the computer while other parts are manually graded by your Instructor. Your grades are then uploaded to your personal gradebook (Assessments tab) in the following days. Official grades, answers, and explanations for the quiz are provided on the course website about one week following the exam.

Quizzes will consist of mostly multiple-choice, true/false, and some short answer and essay/calculation questions. All quiz questions are selected at random from a pool of questions. All answer options for each question are also ordered at random. Please take note that your quiz is unique and completely unlike any other student's quiz. Attempting to cheat on these quizzes is against University/course policy.

Makeup quizzes

Makeup quizzes are only allowed in a FEW cases. If the quiz is missed due to an emergency, you may arrange a makeup with your Instructor. Also, a makeup can be scheduled if the Instructor is notified at least ONE WEEK before the scheduling conflict. I cannot stress this enough... you MUST contact your Instructor IMMEDIATELY to set up a makeup otherwise you will miss your opportunity to take a makeup and receive 0 points for the quiz.

Online labs

In addition to the examinations, you will also be required to complete entirely online labs and submit your answers in D2L by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the date specified on the course schedule! Late responses are not accepted; you will receive 0 points. All of your lab grades will count toward your final-grade calculation.

As with any course, it is the responsibility of the Instructor to uphold the standards suggested by the grading rubrics provided by the course authors. While your grade is determined by assessing the quality of your lab answers compared to the grading rubric, the grading process is subject to the rigor of the Instructor.

The labs will be based on the lessons and textbook readings you have recently covered. Each lab is worth a variable number of points. Spelling and grammar will count toward your score for written answers. Any form or degree of plagiarism will NOT be TOLERATED and will result in 0 points, no questions asked!

Labs are independent exercises; unless otherwise noted you are not to collaborate with fellow students on them. The labs provide you with an opportunity to put into practice the concepts and design techniques discussed in the online lessons. You will also develop your skills using the industry standard for GIS: ESRI’s ArcGIS program. These labs will require significant time to learn new skills in this program, and to complete the assigned task/s: do NOT wait until the last minute to start them.

Again, it is strongly suggested that you start your labs early so that you have enough time to ask your instructor any questions you might have.

Course Policies:

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

From the D2L Help Page (2016):

MSU expects that you will respect the rights of faculty and other students as you participate in the educational process. Participating in an D2L course means that you may have access to personal information and academic work produced by other students and faculty members, such as discussion board postings, drafts of papers and other work produced in the course. Academic norms and MSU policy require that you must not reveal any information about classmates, coursework content, or its authors to anyone outside the course.

Students should be aware that their use of D2L materials and communication tools in a particular course may be observed and recorded by the instructor of that course. These observations and records may include a student's access to online library materials linked through the Desire2Learn course website. Use of these observations and records must conform to the use and release of confidential student records as described in Michigan State University's Access to Student Information. Students may link to library resources directly, without linking through D2L, using the Library website.

ALL of our course material in D2L is copyrighted property of Michigan State University. This means that ALL course material in the course site is protected and, other than one copy of the material for your own personal use, this material should not be distributed or posted in any form.

If material (lessons/assignments/exams/et cetera) from the course site is posted outside of D2L it is considered misuse of the material, therefore, the course staff can give you a 0 (even after the fact) for the assignment from which the material came.


Academic honesty

From Academic Integrity: MSU Policies, Regulations and Ordinances Regarding Academic Honesty and Integrity (Michigan State University's Office of the Ombudsperson, Faculty FAQ, 2016):

Article 2.III.B.2 of the SRR states: “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty specified in General Student Regulation 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations.

Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, the following are considered academic misconduct: falsification/fabrication, cheating, and sharing work. Specific examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to

Students who violate MSU regulations on Protection of Scholarship and Grades and engage in any type of academic misconduct will receive a failing grade in the course or on the assessment(s).

Faculty are required to report all instances in which a penalty grade is given for academic dishonesty.  Students reported for academic dishonesty are required to take course on the integrity of scholarship and grades and a hold will be placed on the student's account until such time as the student completes the course.  This course is overseen by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a specific type of academic misconduct defined as the effort to fundamentally use someone else's ideas as your own. Studies show that plagiarism is common at most universities, especially in online classes since it is easy to copy directly from the course site (or other websites) and put those exact words, or most of the words, in an answer. When completing written work, including answering essay questions on quizzes/exams and writing assignments, it is essential that you provide references where needed (that is, you properly cite all information that did not come from you) and that your responses are phrased in your OWN, original words. Failure to properly cite course materials (lessons and the textbook, if applicable) and using your own work previously submitted in another course without permission,  are also unacceptable. If your Instructor suspects that part or all of an answer has been plagiarized in any way or form, you will be contacted immediately--plagiarized content is given 0 points.

According to Michigan State University's Office of the Ombudsperson (2016),

Plagiarism may be accidental or blatant or self-plagiarism.  However, students are held to the same standards whether or not they knew they were plagiarizing or whether or not they were plagiarizing themselves or someone else.

It is your responsibility to read and understand course policies (like those provided here) and educate yourself so that you know what actions are considered acts of plagiarism (and academic misconduct, in general). A short quiz about academic plagiarism is located in the Getting Started folder of the course.  We strongly encourage you to read the associated materials and take the quiz prior to beginning the course. Please be conscientious of academic integrity and do not hesitate to contact your Instructor if you have any questions.

Spartan Code of Honor

As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do. (honorcode.msu.edu)

Student conduct that is inconsistent with the academic pledge is addressed through existing policies, regulations, and ordinances governing academic honesty and integrity: MSU Policies, Regulations and Ordinances Regarding Academic Honesty and Integrity.

Any student who commits an act of academic misconduct (including academic dishonesty, violations of professional standards, or falsification of academic records; click here to read the University policy), will be reported to the University via the Academic Dishonestly Report portal. The type of misconduct and penalty, as well as a detailed account of the violation are submitted and will be accessible to the student’s Associate Dean, designee, and Instructor-of-Record.


Grading:

Calculating your final grade

Your final grade will be based on all of your 8 quiz scores, 2 activities, and 7 labs:

Assessment

Points Possible

Activity 1: Remote-server Logon

5

Activity 2: Esri Training Course: Getting Started with GIS

25

Lab 1. Introduction to ArcMap

30

Lab 2. Coordinate Systems and Projecting Geographic Info.

35

Lab 3. Thematic Mapping

20

Lab 4. Georeferencing, Digitizing, and Creating New Data

30

Lab 5. GIS Vector Data Analysis

30

Lab 6. Esri Training Courses on Raster Analysis

30

Lab 7. Geographic Analysis Final Project
Proposal
Final project

50
(10)
(40)

Quiz 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (each worth 25 points)

200

Total points possible in the course =

455

Final grades will be based on the following STRAIGHT SCALE:

Percent

Grade

91-100

4.0

86-90

3.5

81-85

3.0

76-80

2.5

71-75

2.0

66-70

1.5

52-65

1.0

<52

0.0

You can view your grades for the labs and exams using your personal online gradebook (Assessments tab in D2L).


Extra credit

There will be a few opportunities for extra credit toward the end of the semester by participating in course discussion forums on ethics.

GEO 325: Geographic Information Systems, Online        Spring Semester 2017: Schedule

Important Dates

M, Jan 16: No Class  |   F, Feb 3:Last Day for Tuition Refund  |  W, Mar 1: Middle of the Session  |  M, Mar 6 to F, Mar 10: Spring Break

Date

Lesson

Topic

Text Reading, 4e

1/9

0

Getting Started

--

1/9

1

Introduction to GIS

Chapter 1

F, January 20 Tu, January 17: Activity 1, Remote-server Logon*                                        (5 points)

Tu, January 17: Entrance and Assessment Questionnaires due**        

1/17

2

Introduction to GIS Software

Chapter 6

Mon, January 23: Activity 2, Esri Training Course: Getting Started with GIS*                (25 points)

Quiz 1: due by M, January 23*         (Covers material from Lessons 1 and 2; 25 points)

1/23

3

Datums and Coordinate Systems

Chapter 4: Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.6 to 4.9

Th, January 26: Lab 1, Introduction to ArcMap*                                        (30 points)

1/30

4

Map Projections

Chapter 4: Sections 4.8 to 4.8.3

Th, February 2: Lab 2, Coordinate Systems and Projecting Geographic Information*        (35 points)

Quiz 2: due by M, February 8*         (Covers material from Lessons 3 and 4; 25 points)

2/8

5

Thematic Mapping I

Chapter 2: Boxes 2.1 and 2.5; Chapter 3: Section 3.5 to 3.5.2; Chapter 11; Chapter 12: Section 12.3.1

2/13

6

Thematic Mapping II

Chapter 11; Chapter 12: Section 12.3.1

Quiz 3: due by M, February 20*         (Covers material from Lessons 5 and 6; 25 points)

2/20

7

Data Models

Chapter 3; Chapter 7

Th, February 23: Lab 3, Thematic Mapping*                                (20 points)

2/24 > Desoto password is reset. Your instructor will email you a new password.

2/27

8

GIS Data: Creation and Synthesis

Chapter 8;
Chapter 10: Sections 10.2, 10.2.1, 10.2.2

Quiz 4: due by M, March 13*         (Covers material from Lessons 7 and 8; 25 points)

3/13

9

Transformations in GIS

Chapter 12: Section 12.3.2

Chapter 13: Sections 13.1 to 13.3.2, 13.3.6

Th, March 16: Lab 4, Georeferencing, Digitizing, and Creating New Data*        (30 points)

3/22

10

Topology

Chapter 7: Section 7.2.3.2

Chapter 9: Section 9.5

Quiz 5: due by M, March 27*         (Covers material from Lessons 9 and 10; 25 points)

3/27

11

Overlay Analysis

Chapter 13: Section 13.2.4

4/3

12

Interpolations

Chapter 13: Section 13.3.6 and subsections

Th, April 6: Lab 5, GIS Vector Data Analysis*                                (30 points)

Quiz 6: due by M, April 10*         (Covers material from Lessons 11 and 12; 25 points)

4/10

13

Raster Analysis

Browse through Chapter 5;
Chapter 13: Section 13.2.5; Chapter 15: Section 15.2.4

Th, April 13: Lab 6, Esri Training Courses on Raster Analysis*                (30 points)

4/17

14

Advanced Topics in GIS

Browse through Chapter 16

Tu, April 18: Lab 7, Geographic Analysis Final Project: PROPOSAL due*        (10 points)

Quiz 7: due by M, April 24*         (Covers material from Lessons 13 and 14; 25 points)

4/24

15

Summary, Future of GIS, Ethics

Browse through Chapter 17; Chapter 18: Sections 18.3 to 18.7; Chapter 19: Sections 19.5 to 19.6

F, April 28: Lab 7, Geographic Analysis Final Project: FINAL PROJECT due*        (40 points)

5/1

16

Course Wrap-up

--

Quiz 8: due by W, May 3*         (Covers material from Lessons 15 and 16; 25 points)


* All labs are due by 11:59 PM (ET) on the date listed.        ; * All quizzes are due by 11:59 PM (ET) on the date listed.