Education and Training

Innovative methods in education

6211.1 - Planning the integration of residential students in the context of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in cartography

Thursday, July 6
10:30 AM - 10:50 AM
Location: Hoover

Cartography is a field that has fundamentally changed within the last years. The predominant changes have to do with the output media, as well as the map production technologies and dissemination channels. Existing Web mapping tools facilitate a great variety of users to produce maps in order to visually present the results of their projects. However, there is a lack of knowledge on how to successfully use these tools in order to develop cartographic products based on the established cartographic principles, which are outcomes of scientific research. The use of such tools in a wrong way can easily result to misleading outcomes, thus motivating the need to develop innovative teaching approaches for the broader audience.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) represent a relatively new distance-learning educational approach, which more and more universities try to integrate in their teaching. MOOCs offer the possibility to access thousands of students from all around the world, and not only to offer them educational experiences, but also to interact with them via the MOOC platforms. In cartography and GIScience the number of offered MOOCs is relatively small compared to other fields like “Business & Management” or “Computer Science”. However, the large number of people that enrolled and followed these courses shows an untapped potential for the MOOCs specialized in cartography.

The teaching concept that is mainly used in the existing MOOCs is relatively similar, with the content of the course divided into several weeks containing video lectures given by (usually) one person. After each week’s lectures, students have to understand and apply the learned content and to solve some exercises or other related tasks. Despite the advantages of this concept, there are still two issues that remained unsolved: at first the students of the host university do not benefit a lot from the MOOC because most of them do not even follow it, and secondly those MOOCs usually use commercial software for their exercises.

To overcome these limitations, the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation (IKG) of ETH Zurich plans to innovate and apply a novel method in the framework of the MOOC “Introduction to Web Cartography” that starts in the spring semester of 2018. The main idea is that the MOOC course is offered in parallel with the respective course at the host university and that the students who attend the course at ETH are also highly involved in the MOOC. This involvement exploits the advantages of existing technology and includes daily interaction of the residential students with their MOOC colleagues via the provided course forum. The interaction deals with, but is not limited to, discussions over the approaches that are used to solve the exercises, project work presentations, terms explanation etc.

This teaching methodology will be introduced in the framework of the ETH course “Cartography II” that takes place in the spring semester of 2018. For the whole duration of the course, data will be collected from all the involved parties in the form of surveys. The data will be analyzed to help us identify which are the advantages and disadvantages of this learning approach and also to extract information regarding the benefits for the residential and MOOC students respectively. The knowledge generated from this information will help us evaluate the impact of integrating residential students in the context of a MOOC specialized in cartography.

Charalampos Gkonos

Research Associate
ETH Zurich

Charalampos Gkonos is a Research Associate at the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation at ETH Zurich. He received his Diploma degree in Rural and Surveying Engineering at NTU Athens and his MSc degree in Geomatics at ETH Zurich (MSc Thesis grade: 6.00/6.00, excellent). His research interests include but are not limited to web-cartography, GIS, HCI, sustainable development and cartographic education. His current work focuses on the dissemination and use of geodata for research purposes within the ETH domain besides teaching and cartographic education. Part of his work has been published in the International Journal of Sustainable Energy Planning and Management, the Journal of Location Based Services and the ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information.


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Ionut Iosifescu Enescu

Senior Research Associate
ETH Zurich

Ionut Iosifescu Enescu is a senior researcher at the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation of ETH Zurich. He holds degrees in Geomatics and Computer Science, and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Cartography and Geoinformation from ETH Zurich in 2011. He is the technical project manager of ‘Geodata4SwissEDU’, a cooperation project for developing a Swiss national geoinformation service for education and research. He is a recognized expert in spatial data and software architectures for the geospatial domain.


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Hans-Rudolf Bär

ETH Zurich

Hans Rudolf Bär received his PhD in geography from the University of Zurich. In 1995, he joined the Institute of Cartography at ETH Zurich, where he first started work with interactive atlases. Since then, he was in charge with the conception and programming of a number of interactive atlases such as the national "Atlas of Switzerland", the statistical atlas of the European Union (Statlas) and a Web-based school atlas, the "Swiss World Atlas".


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Lorenz Hurni

Prof. Dr.
ETH Zurich, Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation

Lorenz Hurni has been Associate Professor of Cartography and director of the Institute of Cartography at the ETH Zurich since November 1996 (Full Professor since October 2003). The emphasis of Hurni's research lies in cartographic data models and tools for the production of printed and multimedia maps. Another focus of research covers interactive, multidimensional multimedia map representations. Under his lead, the prizewinning multimedial "Atlas of Switzerland", commissioned by the Federal Council, as well as the "Swiss World Atlas", the official Swiss school atlas, commissioned by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education, are being developed.


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Anthony C. Robinson

Assistant Professor of Geography
The Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Anthony Robinson is Assistant Professor, Director for Online Geospatial Education programs, and Assistant Director for the GeoVISTA research center in the Department of Geography at Penn State University. Dr. Robinson's research focuses on the science of interface and interaction design for geographic visualization systems. He currently serves as the Chair of the Commission on Visual Analytics for the International Cartographic Association. In support of geospatial education, Robinson directs Penn State’s Online Geospatial Education efforts.


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6211.1 - Planning the integration of residential students in the context of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in cartography

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