Free Online GIS Course with Pace University

I want the world to be able to use GIS, if I could I would do this for free and spend my days helping everyone in need like a GIS version of Kick-Ass, unfortunately this idea sends my employer into meltdown and is often followed by discussions about contractual obligations and social media…..so, until the day I win the Lottery, I am legally obliged to keep the help to a minimum.

What I can’t give, it appears Pace University can, Dr Minnis is running a FREE GIS basics course. Peggy Minnis, who introduced the idea of a “GIS 101” sort of course to readers back in April, is currently welcoming students to the real McCoy. Her “GIS Basics” massive open online course (MOOC) begins September 9 and runs for 12 weeks. The course focuses on key GIS skills using ArcGIS for Desktop.

Minnis is a member of the Department of Chemistry and Physical Sciences at Pace University. While she’d hoped to use many of her existing resources from her residence GIS course for the free online course, it was not to be. When she looked them over she decided it was time for a refresh. While it was a lot of work, Minnis is happy that her videos now populate YouTube and do not require Flash.
The Course
Students are expected to gain access to a copy of ArcGIS 10.1 either by buying the GIS Tutorial 1: Basic Workbook for ArcGIS 10.1  book ($51 via Amazon in the U.S.), a Home Use license ($100 worldwide) or for those who are testing the waters, a free trial available for 60 days. Of course, those with access at work or elsewhere can use those licenses.
Each week of the course, students will view an introductory video laying out the plan for the seven days. The complete syllabus provides more detail. Short, focused skill videos will introduce key concepts. Then the fun begins! Students will take on assignments and projects. The first one, for example, is creating a map of the student’s home using Census data. International students are invited to explore data from their own country or to adopt a U.S. location.
Of course, many of you reading this will be too advanced to be signing up to this, I would recommend you check out the ESRI training if you are looking for something to get your teeth into, though I have always found that sometimes it’s good to refresh or get an insight into new methods from some of these basic courses.
Nick D

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