Final review paper – ESRI MOOCs

One of my fondest memories online was learning in a MOOC environment. With the world wide web currently yielding a lot of power and influence on our day to day lives, I have learned to incorporate and utilize the platform as a powerful resource rather then powerful foe! ESRI, a geographical based company, offers MOOCs all year long helping students and others excel in incorporating and using the various software packages they sell and endorse. For someone in my position ,a student in the geography field, I can further my knowledge and continue to increase skills in a new and unique way. Online learning not only allows me to express ideas in a more comfortable format, but the interactive elements allow me to fully grasp and understand concepts that before in a more lecture-based format might have been misunderstood or forgotten. Something that I have discovered about my career is the vast diversity in types of students that are learning in this field. With ages ranging from 10 – 60 there is never any steps or procedures during the lessons that someone couldn’t handle. The power of ESRI’s web based information specifically is their careful consideration of the idea of inclusion, they tend to make subject matter more step based at first to ensure that everyone is still following, allowing for no skill gaps in material. With multi-age learning, people that went to school years ago can still come back to a academic environment and learn the current new mechanics and ways of using the current products. ESRI being the industry standard in spatial analysis applications lets me as a student know that I am putting my resources into something that will have a strong benefit on my life. As mentioned before ESRI prides themselves on full inclusion, with this comes an easier interface to use where others fall short ESRI delivers on a clean and enjoyable user experience. This is critical for a web-based learning style in my opinion, if an interface is hard to navigate it shows me that the lessons designed are something that might be an after thought, I do not get the full sense of inclusion and want. With ESRI courses lasting from 4 – 6 weeks on average, the courses are nice and spaced out allowing for self research time to further learning’s from the classes enrolled in. With the COVID-19 Pandemic being present and social isolating being in effect courses like this are perfect to find a way to stay busy and have impactful days without jeopardizing other students health. With many people losing their jobs and other means of financial preservation the online course environments provided by ESRI have always been free, open source information with zero cost. This allows students across the world with access to internet and a computer with basic computing infrastructure to achieve a high level of success. The Massive open online class That I took part in was the Cartography MOOC sponsored by ESRI. This specific MOOC was designed around incorporating different cartographic elements efficiently, as well to ensure that there is a calculated design flow to color selections, elements to include, not to include, and more cartography specific features. All of this was done online with the ESRI Applications required, all of which were provided to users that registered for the course. One of the features that ESRI Implements on there online infrastructure is the inclusion of a Progress bar. This bar allowed me to quickly understand where I was in the course and if I was on track. With many of the items being taught being multi media, Normally the classes would start with a brief video, which opened with a lively introduction to the lesson topic from a three-presenter panel, and included segments on a “Map of the Week,” a spotlight on a pivotal cartographer, a look at some obsolete analog map making tools, and a discussion of some cartographic design elements to avoid (laLonde, 2018). This allowed the teachers to not only teach in different ways, but to tie in over arching ideas with simple to watch videos which allowed for a fuller connection to the information being taught. With the course designed for success there are tons of ways for someone that might be struggling to either get in contact with the teachers or use the supplemental resources to keep practicing and polishing one’s skill. Strengths of this MOOC included the well-made videos. The Teachers helped to layout the weekly topics and offered multiple perspectives to help enhance a participant’s understanding of it (laLonde 2018). The only organisational issues that might occur during one of these classes is due to personal conflict with the times organized for the classes, with the flexibility being limited due to a large audience. One of the many aspects to this course that is incredibly beneficial to any user is the opportunities for networking. Not only are you working under the supervision of some of the best teachers in the world for this subject matter but working alongside not only peers that have a common interest but peers with a common goal of advancing their skills. This was a big aspect of the success I found in the projects that I was apart of as I quickly found creating a community of students was a fun and powerful way of furthering all of our knowledge on subject matter (Robinson 2015). Online Courses in most capacities not usually taken for a want to learn is completely the opposite of courses in this environment. After taking this course I began to wonder when the next one was and how many courses, I could take a year. I would recommend that anyone in the position of a student progressing through university to take course in this medium as it fully allowed me to find a direction within geomatics that I want to pursue, cartography. The last thing that I wanted to highlight from my experience was the feeling of safety. Throughout the entire course I was never worried about being hacked or getting into unsafe situations. The company has eliminated the need to save anything on your own machine as cloud-based learning and storage is on the rise. With all the information and data being stored on ESRI’s Servers I was never worried about losing work or personal information. This Careless thinking was a showcase on how secure and safe the environment feels when taking a course of this nature. In conclusion, This is the best way to learn. With a fast-paced world and money becoming more and more of an issue for students to achieve success free online based courses are the way of the future of geography. The power that a course like this has on its followers is exponential. ESRI has done an incredible job of securing there position in the geomatics world with not only powerful and extremely professional applications but the furthering of students knowledge of using their own products. This is one of the most genius marketing ideas in the world, and to top it off an incredibly powerful way of learning some new skills or expanding on older skills and ideas that might not have been completed. Geo spatial learning being completely computer based caters to the concept of not needing to pay to get world class teachings of subject you would normally pay hundreds of dollars for! The power of learning in this format comes from the individual, although this course is really well done it does not guaranteed success for everyone that takes the course. The course is quite demanding and requires a spatial thinking mindset. With the ideas being demonstrated in the classroom having direct correlation to the projects means users must stay engaged and driven to complete assignments on a deadline. My involvement in this course not only taught me the skills being taught, but I also learned through the process to be more organized in my daily life. Other skills I learned Include the ability to create a community within the work place, to achieve a higher and more professional persona, to create and share professional web based applications and to become a better student. The power of learning online is endless and I highly encourage anyone reading this to push beyond your comfort zone and try something new. With the current situation of the world, online learning has never been a more impactful and fulfilling experience!

Esri on Twitter: "Boost your cartographic skills for free! Learn ...

Showcase Post

The use of technology in teaching and educational platforms is becoming the world best methods for teaching our new generations to not only have a strong sense of technological literacy, but to think more critically and to solve problems more efficiently. The global trend leading towards a more heavily used focus on technology caters to this idea directly. The use of online infrastructure not only allows interaction in the classroom, but a richer experience for students at home when researching and preparing classroom material. The use of video and website projects can quickly teach students the importance of security, safety and respect but also allow for creativity in answers and a more independent fun experience. Currently in our society many people are being instructed to change from face-face encounters to a more online focused approach. With this comes exploration in new technologies and a case study showcasing the importance of online and distributed learning. With the population moving from outside to in, its never been a better time to learn from the comforts of ones home.


The use of media in a classroom is something that has been used as a tool for many generations, with the incredible aids that stimulate different senses, where students are more driven to focus and learn with the entertaining medium. Where some students will find the “Normal” school structures to be a way for teachers to broadcast their curriculum, online learning allows for a more open communication between students and teachers. With this communication grows a strong learning community, where people students feel less pressured to perform in front of their peers. This allows for a richer learning experience as the variable of fear is almost entirely gone. By displaying media through a technological lenses, we do gain many advantages, but some aspects of social connection to peers and colleagues is lost. This can be seen on a playground, a cafeteria or the times between classes. This loss of playful communication is one of the reasons that online can be difficult for younger ages, with the want to “play with my friends” being lost online. Although the physical connections are lost, their are still many technologies in place that are trying to combat these issues directly. Software such as Skype, discord, or another linguistic based hangouts are creating instances of social interaction that might not have excited otherwise. These application are often being used along side online gaming and Virtual Reality. These two mediums of education in my opinion are some of the most untapped markets in terms of educational supplement. Gaming in general requires a strong amount of brain power to perform under the “pressures” of the environment. This could be a pinnacle tool in addressing the select students that have a harder time learning face to face. Games being fully interactive also teaches skills that cant be taught in a classroom, such as reaction speed, burst decision making and an overall increase in problem solving. From personal experience this medium not only increases my want to learn, but also increases the enjoyment of learning which is one of the most typical reasons for a student to fail to complete an assignment, not wanting to do it. An example of this comes from the game world of Warcraft, where you are essentially creating a character that undergoes its own life. With interactions between players, creating an economy, and learning from failures and experiences. Below is a picture of the “Auction House” where players create an economy that everyone follows on the server. One of the strongest methods to learn online comes from the learning and appreciation for MOOCs. These massive online learning environments are currently the best way to learn online, with interactive activities, free open source software and clear concise instruction users are able to handle the content with a breeze. The optimized learning environment allows users of all educational backgrounds and talents to be able to showcase there skills in a public setting. With this comes the learning of fundamental skills that will help them progress through whatever content and subject matter they are studying far more efficiently, with a significantly lower cost often free. I have greatly benefited from using a online service such as this, to not only learn about content that I wouldn’t normally have access to, but to advance my self over other students in my field. This in hand will eventually allow for further learning and showcasing of these new talents.

Reflection 4

With the global pandemic of COVID-19 sweeping the world, many schools and other course based operations are being transferred to an online style of learning. With the difficulties of this transition, teachers will have to use online infrastructure to portrait and teach. After reviewing the Floe documentation, I can effectively think of strategies I find would be useful and integral to the current situation.  The idea of being able to transform, augment, and select alternative educational resources to fit individual needs is a concept that is more prominent then ever. With people learning in different styles and ways, the importance of multiple platforms to complete assignments ensures that everyone has an equal chance at the same level of grades. Secondly, I find the idea of open source free education, to be a strong reason why online learning is a very powerful way to learn. With courses and university systems turning more and more into a money making operation, its critical for people in my age demographic to be able to learn and educate ourselves, and cost is a big reason why a lot of people cant go to school. Additionally, the concept of portable preferences and learning via other devices, this concept is one of the most applicable as not everyone once again is able to afford a computer. With majority of the population having access to smartphones, learning has never been easier with a great example being the application quizlet. Quizlet lets you create and share study cards for course material that can be viewed and interacted with to learn concepts on the go. Some of the ideas that are harder for me to grasp include specific computer-based languages or applications that might make it harder to transition to an online learning environment as well as the integration of text-based media. Text based media for someone like me doesn’t completely cover topics to the degree of detail that a professor in a lecture would. With majority of my life being in person in relations to school, its quite hard for me to grasp the idea of something that isn’t voice based to be a stronger way of learning. Being someone who strongly benefits from hands on and interactive design, text-based discussion can often lead to information that supplements the experience which to me is not as powerful. One question I have come up with is when does online learning become redundant or repetitive, and from this point where does online learning go?



Reflection 1

Our world, changing everyday, is quickly moving to a more technological based approach to many aspects of life. With Education being in some ways the pioneer in this manner. With Computer class always being a part of the curriculum, we can see a global shift in how much screen based infrastructure is used in places of teaching. The power of technology is endless, and with this comes many variety of resources that can make day to day in schools that much easier. Being in the department of geography, specifically concentrating in Geomatics my life is on a computer. With the further advancements of online learning things like MOOC’s have been created. With my faculty quickly acknowledging their power, we have been constantly informed about these online “ESRI” courses as a free way to further our learning and skills in a very competitive world. Even using the course spaces website as a resource of learning is very impactful, as I am able to do research and learning in the comfort of any location I am at with a stable WiFi connection. The use of online learning can harbor some incredibly strong retention to lessons but also create a online community where everyone feels included and treated as an equal! This point in my opinion is especially important with so much unjust and chaos in the world we currently live in, having a stable and strong group of like minded people with healthy aspirations allows for a much better quality of life.

Both articles are addressing these thoughts exactly. Weller explains the importance of Edtech. With the idea of openness not only for  classroom activities but allowing students across departments and training to all collectively share as one. This ties into my idea of community making in an online environment. From wikis to block chain the world is advancing in such an exponentially fast manner. “we are just passengers on a voyage to the stars” (Nigel, 2020) Where Weller is explaining the specific advancements, Sandra Peter and Markus Deimann continue on the thoughts of the benefits and additional types of online learning! With some overlapping thoughts and increased awareness of potential ways of learning online this article is a great read on how to achieve success in the online classroom.

Participants in Esri’s new Cartography. MOOC will learn cartographic techniques that make them more savvy mapmakers.

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