Concept Mapping to Design, Organize, and Explore Digital Learning Objects

Concept Mapping to Design, Organize, and Explore Digital Learning Objects

David DiBiase (The Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Mark Gahegan (The University of Auckland, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-980-9.ch010
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This chapter investigates the problem of connecting advanced domain knowledge (from geography educators in this instance) with the strong pedagogic descriptions provided by colleagues from the University of Southampton, as described in Chapter IX, and then adding to this the learning materials that together comprise a learning object. Specifically, the chapter describes our efforts to enhance our open-source concept mapping tool (ConceptVista) with a variety of tools and methods that support the visualization, integration, packaging, and publishing of learning objects. We give examples of learning objects created from existing course materials, but enhanced with formal descriptions of both domain content and pedagogy. We then show how such descriptions can offer significant advantages in terms of making domain and pedagogic knowledge explicit, browsing such knowledge to better communicate educational aims and processes, tracking the development of ideas amongst the learning community, providing richer indices into learning material, and packaging these learning materials together with their descriptive knowledge. We explain how the resulting learning objects might be deployed within next-generation digital libraries that provide rich search languages to help educators locate useful learning objects from vast collections of learning materials.
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Concept Mapping To Design Reusable Learning Objects

Institutional Context

After a year and a half of planning and course development, the Department of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) began offering an online Certificate Program in geographic information systems (GIS) through the University’s virtual “World Campus” in January 1999 (DiBiase, 2000). At first the program consisted of a year-long sequence of four non-credit, instructor-led classes, each ten weeks in length. Each class required 8-12 hours of weekly student activity on average. Although they were expected to complete weekly assignments, students were never expected to log into the class at any particular time or place. Students completed assignments using educational licenses of desktop GIS software (originally Intergraph’s GeoMedia, later ESRI’s ArcView). Students showcased their achievements in personal e-portfolios. Penn State instructors directed discussions and read and responded to student questions daily. All class content delivery and communications were mediated through a Web-based learning management system (originally WebCT, later ANGEL, more recently ANGEL and Drupal). From January 1999 through December 2004, 519 off-campus students earned Penn State’s Certificate of Achievement in GIS. The program earned ESRI’s Special Achievement in GIS Award in 2004 for innovation in GIS education.

In 2004 Penn State’s Graduate School and Board of Trustees approved the Department of Geography’s proposal to create a new professional degree: the Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS). At the same time, the former non-credit Certificate Program was approved as a for-credit offering for postbaccalaureate students (those who already possess bachelor’s degrees). Both offerings were approved for online delivery through the World Campus. An expanded curriculum was designed in consultation with an advisory board composed of industry leaders and scholars from four different academic programs and research centers. Students accepted to the MGIS program complete individual study projects supervised by academic advisors that culminate in public presentations at professional conferences with advisors in attendance. Two years after the new programs were approved, the number of distant students pursuing the MGIS degree and the Postbaccalaureate Certificate of Achievement (121 and 533, respectively, in academic year 2006-2007) now exceeds by a large margin the combined number of undergraduate and graduate students who seek the Department of Geography’s on-campus academic degrees (BS, MS, and PhD).

Complete Chapter List

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Lou McGill
Chapter 1
Philip Rees, Louise Mackay, David Martin, Gráinne Conole, Hugh Davis
Technologies offer a range of tantalizing potentials for education—in terms of providing access to media- rich context and for students to visualize... Sample PDF
Developing E-Learning in Geography
Chapter 2
Samuel Leung, David Martin, Richard Treves, Oliver Duke-Williams
In contrast to other Web-based resources, e-learning materials are not always exchangeable and shareable. Although transferring electronic documents... Sample PDF
Exchanging E-Learning Materials, Modules, and Students
Chapter 3
Helen Durham, Katherine Arrell, David DiBiase
Collaborative learning activity design (CLAD) is a multi-institution approach to the creation of e-learning material from the design phase through... Sample PDF
Collaborative Learning Activity Design: Learning about the Global Positioning System
Chapter 4
David Martin, Philip Rees, Helen Durham, Stephen A. Matthews
This chapter presents the development of a series of shared learning materials prepared to facilitate teaching in human geography. The principal... Sample PDF
Census and Population Analysis
Chapter 5
Stephen Darby, Sally J. Priest, Karen Fill, Samuel Leung
In this chapter we outline the issues involved in developing, delivering, and evaluating a Level 2 undergraduate module in fluvial geomorphology.... Sample PDF
Using Digital Libraries to Support Undergraduate Learning in Geomorphology
Chapter 6
Jim Wright, Michael J. Clark, Sally J. Priest, Rizwan Nawaz
There is an inherent antithesis between environmental management as professional practice and as concept or philosophy. Not only does this... Sample PDF
Engaging with Environmental Management: The Use of E-Learning for Motivation and Skills Enhancement
Chapter 7
Louise Mackay, Samuel Leung, E. J. Milton
In our experience of earth observation (EO) online learning we highlight the usefulness of the World Wide Web in terms of its software... Sample PDF
Earth Observation: Conveying the Principles to Physical Geography Students
Chapter 8
Helen Durham, Samuel Leung, David DiBiase
Academic integrity (AI) is of relevance across all academic disciplines, both from the perspective of the educator and the student. From the former... Sample PDF
Generic Learning Materials: Developing Academic Integrity in Your Students
Chapter 9
Karen Fill, Gráinne Conole, Chris Bailey
The DialogPLUS Toolkit is a web-based application that guides the design of learning activities. Developed to support the project’s geographers, it... Sample PDF
A Toolkit to Guide the Design of Effective Learning Activities
Chapter 10
David DiBiase, Mark Gahegan
This chapter investigates the problem of connecting advanced domain knowledge (from geography educators in this instance) with the strong pedagogic... Sample PDF
Concept Mapping to Design, Organize, and Explore Digital Learning Objects
Chapter 11
Terence R. Smith, Marcia Lei Zeng
We describe a digital learning environment (DLE) organized around sets of concepts that represent a specific domain of knowledge. A prototype DLE... Sample PDF
Semantic Tools to Support the Construction and Use of Concept-Based Learning Spaces
Chapter 12
Richard Treves
Teaching geography at university level involves students in study of complex diagrams and maps. These can be made easier to understand if split into... Sample PDF
Simple Geography-Related Multimedia
Chapter 13
Karen Fill, Louise Mackay
This chapter is concerned with the evaluation of learning materials and activities developed as part of the DialogPLUS project. A range of... Sample PDF
Evaluating the Geography E-Learning Materials and Activities: Student and Staff Perspectives
Chapter 14
Louise Mackay, David Martin, Philip Rees, Helen Durham
In this book we have illustrated the materials, software, and experience of developing and delivering geography e-learning courses and learning... Sample PDF
Reflections, Lessons Learnt, and Conclusions
Chapter 15
Sally Priest
This chapter discusses the design, technical development, delivery, and evaluation of two online learning activities in environmental geography. A... Sample PDF
Online Learning Activities in Second Year Environmental Geography
Chapter 16
Dion Hoe-Lian Goh
With the rapid growth of digital information, there is increasing recognition that digital libraries (DL) will play important roles in education... Sample PDF
Learning Geography with the G-Portal Digital Library
Chapter 17
Shivanand Balram
This chapter describes the origins, boundaries, and structures of collaborative geographic information systems (CGIS). A working definition is... Sample PDF
Collaborative Geographic Information Systems: Origins, Boundaries, and Structures
Glossary of Terms
About the Contributors