Education Committee Work Program
PROPOSED INITIATIVE FOR 2009-2010 - OS GEO CURRICULUM
This next year I think we as a group should focus on one main effort -- trying to develop suggested educational curriculum built around open source geospatial technologies. We've inventoried educational material, but the next step is to put some structure around it rather than being simply a database of material.
In an earlier email, Tyler Mitchell articulated these set of steps which I think are quite helpful:
Task 1. Review existing GIS curriculum.
The question I have here, is are there variations in curriculum depending on the area? For example, I could see there being differences in a curriculum for someone wanting to be a future developer of OS geo technologies, compared to people who might be users. In other words, is there 1 curriculum we want to develop or multiple?
In an email to me, William Walter Kinghorn suggested that what we should do is develop a Table of Contents that is required for exams for "core competencies" in OS GIS. He sent some useful and interesting ideas. William also noted that in our current inventory there are too many courses (I'm not sure that is a problem) but many are outdated. He was suggesting that we try and focus on a set of common courses that get updated regularly that many could use.
So I think we need to get a number of us to take some time looking for curriculum approaches or guidelines, and then hold a skype conference call or IRB or something to see if we can agree on a strategy.
Ultimately we would be trying to identify existing curriculum guidelines that exist, and try and utilize one or several of these structures and then map or develop new content such that labs and exercises use OS Geo technologies.
Task 2. Develop a grant proposal to support a face-to-face workshop that allows us to discuss various curricula and jumpstarts the collection and development of course materials.
Tyler and I tried to do something through the Mellon Foundation but they dropped the program after proposals were submitted. Ian Turton (Penn State) suggested NSF. I've contacted one program officer I know about this, but he said one problem is they don't tend to fund international workshops. But I'm not giving up -- I'm still looking. If others in EU countries or elsewhere have ideas on grant funding from EU sources for such a workshop please let me know -- I think we could make some serious progress if we held a face to face conference on this and got funds to bring people to it.
Task 3. With a curriculum plan identified, copy the structures from existing curricula as appropriate (hopefully verbatim so educators can tie directly back)
Task 4. Identify holes that we'd need to fill (hopefully only a few)
Task 5. Collate or create material from our educational database and through our community for each section.
Task 6. Bundle it all up, etc...
OLD 2008-2009 INITIATIVES
TASK A: Collect educational material to go on an OSGeo Live DVD
Identify educational material to accompany a DVD related to the use of OSGeo software.
Tim Bowen (the person who is organizing next year's FOSS4Geo conference in Sydney) is working to develop such a DVD for Ubuntu (building on the work of the Ominiverde DVD). Someone else might be developing one for Windows. The wiki page on this project is http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Live_GIS_Disc.
It would make sense that we package up some good tutorials to go one these DVDs. The idea might be that for each associated OSGeo software project, we identify two or three good sets of tutorials that can be licensed with a Creative Commons license.
So we need to come up with some process to identify 2-3 high quality tutorials for various software packages. We should also inventory tutorials that might exist that are written by the software groups?
TASK B: Move our educational material listed in our inventory page to our subversion repository to support a “new derivative works” system.
We should be proud of the content we have inventoried on the wiki inventory page. But there is a lot of material in there, and I think we really need to try and move what we can to a content management system (subversion) where we could move to a “new derivative” system. What I am thinking is mimicking open source projects where the author who developed the material is the “maintainer” of their content. If someone else wants to derive a new version of it, they need to contact the author.
But two obvious situations could occur:
a- where the tutorial reflects an older version of the software and needs to be updated for a new release; b- where someone wishes to translate the tutorial into another language.
I am going individually start asking people who have tutorials on our inventory whether they are willing to do this and when they might be able to move their material to subversion.
Note: One important issue we will need to address is the licensing of this tutorial. Storing tutorial content on the subversion system raises new issues related to ensuring no copyrights are broken.
TASK C: Support Victor Olaya (and colleague's) FreeGIS book effort
The wiki page is here: http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Libro_SIG. They have over 500 pages of text written. Victor was going to prioritize chapters needing to be written. Two types of assistance are needed:
a) People could help write the new chapters in English and he or someone on his team could translate them to Spanish.
- Team members: Landon Blake
b) Help is needed to translate the Spanish chapters already written into English.
TASK D: Contact local OSGeo chapters – recruit – how can they help?
At FOSS4Geo 2008 there was a sizable list of OSGeo local chapters. Many of them were doing work related to translation of OSGeo wiki pages and other related efforts. We should systematically contact the leaders of these groups, and encourage them to have at least 1 representative on our list, and see if anyone is willing to translate any of our tutorials into their native languages. Spanish speaking local chapters should be encouraged to help translate the FreeGIS book chapters.
Task E: Data inventory for educational purposes
There was several discussions at FOSS4Geo about inventorying free data, so that people using tutorials could find data more relevant to their particular region. Could we try to do a “data inventory” page like we did in 2007-08 for the educational inventory page?
Task F: Develop recommended “template” for tutorial structure?
Related to the above, in one of our BOF meetings, the request was made that tutorials we develop be written in such a way that it wasn't data or location specific. That is, that instead of requiring the user to use data from one part of the world, the user could get the required dataset for their own particular region of the world, thus making it more interesting and useful to the students.
The idea I had here is that we come up with a suggested structure for any OSGeo-related tutorials where all figures with data in them are shown as Appendices, so that someone
Task G: Grant proposal to foundations?
In the OSGeo Annual General Meeting, there was a discussion about selling OSGeo to companies to get financial support for them. Given the potential utility of OSGeo-related technologies for the developing world and the free and open access nature of what we are doing, my thought was there probably is non-profit foundations who might help support OSGeo and in particular, our educational efforts. The global network we have established and our proven ability to work together gives us some real potential and strength, I think.
Should we try as a group to write a generic proposal for funding that we could then shop around to some foundations?
Task H: GIS Curriculum guidelines?
Our group's name in OSGeo is actually the “Education and Curriculum” group.
In a BOF meeting with participants from South Africa, there was an interest in inventorying GIS curriculum guidelines for various levels of GIS education. The South African participants were saying they had made a lot of progress in this regard that they would be willing to share. Another participant noted that there were a number of groups who have already developed GIS curriculum guidelines (e.g., NCGIA).
In short, the question is whether we want to move in this direction this year. After some contemplation on this, my thought was we don't want to compete with other curriculum guideline groups. But we could develop an inventory page on our wiki of various curriculum guidelines that groups worldwide have developed.
Task I: Multi-language OSGeo dictionary
We propose the idea of a Multi-language OSGeo dictionary. The scope is to collect over the years geo* related terms in a multi-language style to facilitate reading/writing in other languages, to help with software internationalization, to help when writing proposals in non-mother-tongue languages. Since we are an excellent group of experts covering many languages, we could run this as long-term project.
We could use the Wiktionary software (http://www.wiktionary.org/) and keep it running. Possibly an OSGeo hacker could also fetch translations from Wikipedia from a handcrafted terms collection of terms to populate an initial dictionary (using the box on the left side which references translations). Installation request sent to OSGeo-SAC on 2 Oct 2008.
Once a reasonable amount of terms is available, download should be enabled in Docbook or other formats. Page to better collect further suggestions: OSGeo Multilanguage Dictionary.
OLD 2007-2008 INITIATIVES (for archive's sake)