A colleague of mine at Redlands is researching the idea of having one of our new or existing mapping-based courses become part of the University’s general education program. I’ve learned that there are “Intro to GIS” courses that satisfy gen ed requirements at Dickinson, Rhodes, Wheaton, and San Diego State. In each of these cases the classes satisfy a “quantitative reasoning” requirement.
Though the quantitative reasoning category seems like a logical and straight-forward choice, I’m interested to learn of others as well. At Redlands we have an archaeology/anthropology course called Mapping People, Mapping Places. Students ask and answer a suite of anthropology and archaeology questions, using spatial analysis as the basis throughout. I think it would be a great course for a gen ed category on analysis or problem-solving. As noted in an earlier post, Harvard is also looking to integrate GIS into its gen ed courses, and I look forward to seeing the results of that.
At Redlands we’ve even gone so far as to consider having a whole category of spatial reasoning courses. To make this viable, we’d need at least 10-15 (?) courses offered in any given semester whose content had been found to be adequately spatial. What a lofty goal! We’re not nearly there yet…
If anyone has examples of mapping-related courses that satisfy gen ed courses on their campuses, email me to let me know.
Update: URISA has an entire special journal issue on GIS Education (pdf) which includes an article by Tsou and Yanow specifically on GIS and General Education (pdf). Thanks, Mark.