Expanding Distance Education in the Spatial Sciences Through Virtual Learning Entities and a Virtual GIS Computer Laboratory

Expanding Distance Education in the Spatial Sciences Through Virtual Learning Entities and a Virtual GIS Computer Laboratory

S. Grunwald (University of Florida, USA), V. Ramasundaram (University of Florida, USA), G.L. Bruland (University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA) and D.K. Jesseman (University of Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jdet.2007010105
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Abstract

In this article we describe the implementation of an emerging virtual learning environment to teach GIS and spatial sciences to distance education graduate students. We discuss the benefits and constraints of our mixed architecture with the main focus on the innovative hybrid architecture of the virtual GIS computer laboratory. Criteria that were used to develop the virtual learning environment included: (1) Facilitating student-instructor, student-computer, and student-student interactivity using a mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools; (2) Developing a liberal online learning environment in which students have access to a suite of passive and active multi-media tools; and (3) Allowing student access to a mixed Web-facilitated/hybrid architecture that stimulates their cognitive geographic skills and provides hands-on experience in using GIS.

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