FOSS4G2009 Education BOF minutes

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Notes on Education/Curriculum BOF discussion, FOSS4G2009, 23 Oct 2009, Sydney NSW - taken by Scott Mitchell

  • participants, please don't hesitate to correct/add/expand on the mailing list if I've missed or misrepresented anything in these notes
  • started meeting with a quick review of Charlie's email - clear consensus that we all really appreciate all the work Charlie has put in, we send best wishes to him and his family; we are very happy with the leadership he has provided as Chair, and we hope he will continue. At the same time, we recognize the workload issues in the tasks we want to tackle, and encourage volunteers to take ownership of sub projects within our group
  • started curriculum discussion - Tyler gave brief summary of what we've done so far for newcomers to the group - the efforts to document what's out there is working really well - the online database was a good development, much improved over the wiki
  • job - need to finish checking re: things that are in wiki but not in the database - Venka will do this - if still valid / current etc, transfer to database
  • but this is courses, not a whole curriculum - showing the AAG "Body of Knowledge" book as an example - outline freely available, but need to buy the book to get the real content - organized well - we examined the document's outline and quickly looked into some of the modules
  • Tyler's idea was to use this or something like it as an outline instead of starting from scratch; Venka wonders if there are any similar ones elsewhere? Only one we know about is the older NCGIA work.
  • Tyler would like to get a digital copy of the text if possible - take the subsections, e.g. map algebra, etc., use the curric as is, but put in sample data sets and instructions to use FOSS4G tools to explore the concepts being taught - so how to learn the lesson using the tools we know/like/advocate - come up with OS examples
  • Maria: this curric can be too much and too little - hardly anything re: the Internet, for example, one bullet point on web mapping only
  • Discussion: could still use and figure out what to fill in - maybe even contribute back?; On the other side, it's quite long / big - could be challenging to get it all covered
  • The existing content inventory is normally focussed on specific technologies, whereas the curriculum idea would be more concept based; might want to concentrate on specific areas within the curric, work together (at the beginning, while we explore the process), and see what it takes to complete the process to a consensus approval
  • Massimiliano: could also have parallel demonstrations - e.g. how to do it with QGIS, how to do it with GRASS, etc...
  • Venka: see example Hengl and Reuter (2008) Geomorphometry - has examples on how to do it with GRASS, QGIS, Arc etc.
  • --> could add other software versions through time
  • general agreement that it makes sense to agree upon topics to start with
  • Venka suggests AM3 and AM4 (basic spatial processing); discussion - in addition to these, group has interests especially in data, cartography, etc.
  • purpose - enable more tool-independent education of GIS/geomatics/geo-infomatics education, so that it can more easily include OSGEO tools
  • prioritize by things we already have (harvest from existing database of lessons etc)
  • also take advantage of the software groups in OSGEO - make requests to them for help - could do things like "using the same dataset, and what we want to show, how would you use your software package to accomplish the task"; define approach and collect examples of implementation - sell it as improving their documentation (or, where stuff exists, maybe collect the links to the specific steps; no need to rewrite everything)
  • Thierry: in Québec, has worked with education ministry people - they have identified Questions in the program, and gather information on how to answer the question - so like we're talking about, but specifically using the model of "how to answer this question" - e.g. instead of typical software documentation "how to set up a WMS server", questions like "What is WMS?" "What are the requirements to set up a WMS service?" (what needs to be done to data, etc etc…)
  • could go after future contributors and/or local chapters for extending versions that have other localized data set examples - so we would need to define from the beginning what kind of data set is needed for this module, and then what we want to show with it, so then other peoples can be clear on how to extend to new examples --> documenting clearly the data needs will really help others provide localized data - also refer to possible sources as we learn them so that others can follow - and think when choosing about the fact that some things are available for free with global coverage, so examples using these would be the easiest to port to new places
  • Do we choose some now?
  • Maria proposes she can coordinate GS-5 - adding practical exercises to sharing geospatial data - or maybe need a new one e.g. "IN-1" - the Internet section
  • AM-4 and AM-5 seem very do-able
  • Tyler could go through and match up existing modules to the modules of the curriculum (recognizing limitations of using just existing stuff), and is interested in CV-4 - but maybe AM4/5 first?
  • Where possible, be software version independent, but could focus on the Arramagong image, and include links to install instructions etc, but our interest is not to write software installation
  • use keywords where possible to make searching easily - the structure of the curric good, but adding keywords will further aid finding what one needs
  • develop an outline for what data is needed, the approach to get it, and how to demonstrate the concepts in the learning modules
  • people committing to help with AM4/AM5: Venka, Tyler, Scott
  • people committing to help with Internet mapping: Maria, Scott
  • Other people also expressing interest in helping, but I didn't keep up - let's follow up with this on the mailing list
  • FreeGIS book - Lorenzo here now - over many hurdles in the past years, but not much in the past year - recognize need to find sponsorship - need a professional editor; huge logistics involved; hope to part of Barcelona conference income to fund some of this work; then can also translate - dream is to have a book capable of multiple contributions, easy to update, allow sponsors, etc. Not clear yet re: costs for the editing, but thnking of someone half time for one year; will research this more; concentrate on coming up with a version 1, but still 0.x
  • --> lead to discussion of the 2010 conference
  • Adjourned to go catch the cruise