GEOG 594A
Analytic Experience in Geospatial Intelligence

GEOG 594A Syllabus

GEOG 594A: Analytic Experience in Geospatial Intelligence

This syllabus is divided into several sections. You can jump directly to a specific section of the syllabus by clicking on one of the links below. That being said, it is essential that you read the entire document as well as material covered in the Course Orientation. Together, these serve the role of our course "contract."


Instructors

photo of Dennis Bellafiore

Dennis Bellafiore

  • Skype phone: djbellafiore
  • Office phone: (717) 826-0606 (The country code for the United States is 1)
  • Course e-mail: Please use the course email system in Canvas.
  • Personal e-mail: dxb45@psu.edu
  • FAX: (814) 863-1564 (The country code for the United States is 1. Please send the Fax to my attention. Please note that a Fax is sent to the State College Campus, and then forwarded to me as an email. If possible, send a scanned copy to me via Canvas email for faster turnaround.)
  • Availability: Please call or email (Canvas Mail) me to schedule a time that is convenient for you.
photo of Todd Bacastow

Todd Bacastow

  • Phone: (814) 863-0049 (The country code for the United States is 1)
  • FAX: (814) 865-3191 (The country code for the United States is 1)
  • Email: Please use the course email system in Canvas.
  • Availability: My office hours (in person or phone calls) are Monday through Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
  • Who's Todd? Personal Webpage

Course Overview

GEOG 594a: ANALYTIC EXPERIENCE IN GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE

Prerequisites:

  • GEOG 882, Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence (or an approved substitute)
  • GEOG 884, Geographic Information Systems Competency (or an approved substitute GIS course)
  • GEOG 883, Remote Sensing Competency (or an approved substitute remote sensing course)
  • GEOG 885, Advanced Analytic Methods (or an approved substitute course)

GEOG 594a is a seminar that brings together the threads of the Geospatial Intelligence program and reinforces the standards of professionalism applicable to geospatial intelligence analysis in government and business. The seminar's overarching aim is to enhance your understanding of the role of geospatial intelligence, develop individual competencies, reinforce professional concepts, and improve geospatial analytical techniques and methods.The course is ten weeks in length and requires a minimum of 8-12 hours of student activity each week.

What Is Expected

This seminar requires a minimum of 8-12 hours of student activity each lesson. You will need to check out the course discussion boards regularly. That's where students and instructors share comments, pose questions, and suggest answers. I strongly encourage you to get in the habit of logging in to the course website every day to check in on the class. With only occasional exceptions, I usually check message boards six days a week. You can be sure that I will read, but not necessarily respond to, every single message. For a more detailed look at what will be covered in each lesson, as well as due dates for our assignments and activities, please refer to the semester-specific course schedule that is part of this syllabus (see "Course Schedule").

Seminar Objectives

The topic of this seminar is to examine the core analytic competencies of the geospatial professional; this is to say, examine a geospatial analytic method. The goals, or you might say the general intent, of this seminar are for you to better:

  • recognize the cognitive, ethical, and professional issues associated with analysis in the spatial domain;
  • evaluate analytic methodologies and apply an analytical method in a geospatial analysis.

What is a Seminar?

A "seminar," according to Webster's dictionary, is a group of advanced students studying under a professor, with each doing original research and all exchanging results through reports and discussions. The seminar method of teaching is based on Socrates' theory that it is more important to enable students to think for themselves than to merely fill their heads with "right" answers. This theory led him to regularly engage his pupils in dialogues by responding to their questions with questions, instead of answers. This process encourages divergent thinking rather than convergent.

In this seminar, you will be given opportunities to "examine" a common piece of text or idea. After "reading" the common text or idea, open-ended questions are posed. The open-ended questions allow you to think critically, analyze multiple meanings in text, and express ideas with clarity and confidence. After all, a certain degree of emotional safety is felt by participants when they understand that this format is based on dialogue and not debate.

Dialogue is exploratory and involves the suspension of biases and prejudices. Discussion/debate is a transfer of information designed to win an argument and bring closure. Americans are great at discussion/debate, but we do not dialogue well. However, once teachers and students learn to dialogue, they find that the ability to ask meaningful questions that stimulate thoughtful interchanges of ideas is more important than "the answer." Dialogue is characterized by:

  • suspending judgment;
  • examining our own work without defensiveness;
  • exposing our reasoning and looking for limits to it;
  • communicating our underlying assumptions;
  • exploring viewpoints more broadly and deeply;
  • being open to disconfirming data;
  • approaching someone who sees a problem differently not as an adversary, but as a colleague in common pursuit of better solution.

Participants in a seminar respond to one another with respect by carefully listening instead of interrupting. Students are encouraged to "paraphrase" essential elements of another's ideas before responding, either in support of or in disagreement. This simple act of socialization reinforces appropriate behaviors and promotes team building.


Course Objectives

Students who excel in this course must demonstrate an understanding of the integration of GIS and remote sensing into geospatial analysis.


Required Course Materials

You might require Esri's ArcGIS software in this course. NOTE: ArcGIS is a commercial software package that is restricted to personal use by the student. It is unlawful for anyone to use this software package without the appropriate commercial license from Esri Inc. to generate personal or corporate profit or revenue

Using the Library

Just like on-campus students, as a Penn State student, you have a wealth of library resources available to you!

As a user of Penn State Libraries, you can...

  • search for journal articles (many are even immediately available in full-text);
  • request articles that aren't available in full-text and have them delivered electronically;
  • borrow books and other materials and have them delivered to your doorstep;
  • access materials that your instructor has put on Electronic Reserve;
  • talk to reference librarians in real time using chat, phone, and email;
  • ...and much more!

To learn more about their services, see the Library Information for Off-site Users.


Assignments and Grading

Course length: 10 weeks

Summary: Below you will find a brief summary of the lesson tasks for this course and the associated time frames. Assignment information will be located on each lesson's checklist - so you will need to check there for the full set of details and deliverables. Sometimes the details for each lesson can change, and it's possible that the syllabus may not be updated as quickly as the lesson checklists, so always check specific lesson checklists for the latest details. This course is 10 weeks in length, with an orientation week preceding the official start of the course.

Your grade for this course will be based on your course participation and five (5) Activities. Each is described briefly below. Detailed instructions are located within the online course materials.

Activity Weight
Deliverable 1: Analytic Question & Peer Review 20%
Deliverable 2: Question, Assumptions, Method, & Bibliography 20%
Deliverable 3: Draft PowerPoint 20%
Deliverable 4A: Presentation (Note: At time this may require to be completed via an email exchange) 20%
Deliverable 4B: Final Presentation and Written Report 20%

Letter grades will be based on the following percentages:

A
93.0-100%
A-
90.0-92.9%
B+
87.0-89.9%
B
83.0-86.9%
B-
80.0-82.9%
C+
77.0-79.9%
C
70.0-76.9%
D
60.0-69.9%
F
<60.0%
X
Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)
 

Late Work

One of the many advantages to taking courses online is that it affords you a degree of flexibility in when and how you complete your assignments that might be more challenging to achieve in a face-to-face classroom setting. However, taking courses online does not mean that you've got the autonomy to do and submit the work when you wish.

In order for us to move through the material as a group, it's important that each of you completes your assignments on time. Late is defined as submitted anytime after 11:59 pm on the Wednesday on which the assignment is due. This means if you procrastinate and turn it in at 12:05 am on Thursday morning, it is late.

Assignments will be assessed a 10% penalty for each 24 hour period late they are (i.e., 12:00 am on Thursday through 11:59 pm on Thursday is 10% and so on).

Life happens. Inevitably, you will have some legitimate situation or emergency arise during the semester that is going to hinder your ability to complete work on time. You should always communicate these occurrences to your instructor as soon as possible. It takes but a minute to call or email and give me a courtesy heads up. I'm much more willing to work with you if I know what's going on. Falling off the radar for an extended period of time and then later requesting additional time retroactively is not the appropriate way to communicate a problem with your instructor. Let me know what's happening when it's happening; that gives me the best chance of helping you out. This is also why you are only required to participate in 10 of the 12 discussion assignments.

Procrastination doesn't pay - Technology is far from perfect, and, generally, it only fails when you really need it to work. If you play with fire and wait until the very last second to attempt to submit your work in Canvas, you may get burned. This is an easy enough problem for us to avoid - you have a full week to complete your work, so don't wait until that last second to turn it in.

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GEOG 594A Course Schedule

image Printable Schedule

Orientation
Date: Week 0
Objective: Demonstrate an understanding of the integration of GIS and remote sensing into geospatial analysis.
Readings:
  • Orientation Materials
  • Course Syllabus
Assignments:
  1. Complete the initial course survey in Canvas.
  2. Configure your Canvas account.
  3. Introduce yourself to your colleagues.
Lesson 1: Question Development
Date: Week 1
Objectives:
  • Describe the purpose of this capstone.
  • Describe the schedule for the project.
  • Introduce the geospatial assessment.
  • Develop an analytic question.
  • Identify the geospatial aspects to the question.
Readings:
  • Read the lesson material.
  • Skim Clark, Chapter 6.
  • Skim The Learner's Guide to Geospatial Analysis, Chapters 1-3.
  • Read The Learner's Guide to Geospatial Analysis, Chapter 4.
Assignments:
  1. Lesson 1 Discussion Board: Comment on the analytic question.
  2. Post your question and summary of the geospatial aspects of your problem to Lesson 1 Deliverables.
  3. Peer review another student's analytic question submission.
Lesson 2: Grounding Yourself in the Problem
Date: Week 2
Objectives: Identify the key knowledge in the domain of your project.
Readings:
  • Read the lesson material.
  • Read The Learner's Guide to Geospatial Analysis, Chapter 5.
Assignments:
  1. Post a revision of your analytic question and a revised summary of the geospatial aspects to the problem.
  2. Post a list of your assumptions and a description of your method.
  3. Post an annotated bibliography of at least 15 quality sources in the categories of:
    • Articles, book chapters, or general references about the topic (5 sources).
    • Articles or book chapters about similar studies (5 sources).
    • Data sets and sources suitable for your analysis (5 sources).
Lesson 3: Evidence and Conclusions
Date: Week 3 - 8
Objectives:
  • Compile evidence to estimate of the probability of the truthfulness of the alternative.
  • Analyze the evidence to determine critical missing geospatial evidence.
  • Produce the missing geospatial evidence.
  • Analyze the quality of the evidence you compiled or developed.
  • Review the work of the other students.
Readings:
  • Read the lesson material.
  • Read The Learner's Guide to Geospatial Analysis, Chapter 7.
Assignments:
  1. Complete your analysis and state your conclusions.
  2. Document your work in a draft presentation format.
  3. Organize within the class the dates for the final presentations, based on dates provided by the instructor.
Lesson 4: Written Assessment
Date: Week 9 - 10
Objectives:
  • Give your presentation.
  • Submit your capstone paper.
Readings:

Read the lesson material.

Assignments:
  1. Finalize your PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Report your analysis in a three-page paper.
  3. Explain your analysis in a 10-minute "live" presentation.

COURSE POLICIES

Technical Requirements

For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on our "Program Technical Requirements" page. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Internet Connection

Access to a reliable broadband Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or wireless hotspot.

Mixed Content

This site is considered a secure website, which means that your connection is encrypted. We do, however, link to content that isn't necessarily encrypted. This is called mixed content. By default, mixed content is blocked in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. This may result in a blank page or a message saying that only secure content is displayed. Follow the directions on our technical requirements page to view the mixed content.

Equations

This course must be viewed using one of the following browsers: Firefox (any version), Safari (versions 5.1 or 6.0), Chrome (0.3 or later), or Internet Explorer with the MathPlayer PlugIn. If you use any other browser, there will be pages containing equations that do not render properly. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from the Penn State World Campus are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Academic Integrity

This course follows the guidelines for academic integrity of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting others' work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other students' papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students."

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus: Contacts for Disability Resources at all Penn State Campuses. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources (SDR) website.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled. You will participate in an intake interview and provide documentation, see Applying for Services from Student Disability Resources. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation. Services include the following:

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling and Psychological Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance) and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage.

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Inclement Weather

In case of weather-related delays at the University, this online course will proceed as planned. Your instructor will inform you if there are any extenuating circumstances regarding content or activity due dates in the course due to weather delays. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.

Connect Online with Caution

Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information with others whom you do not know.

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to your instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. It is up to your instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If, for any reason, the course work for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

Attendance

This course will be conducted entirely online. There will be no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments with specific due dates. Many of the assignments are open for multiple days, so it is your responsibility to complete the work early if you plan to travel or participate in national holidays, religious observances or University approved activities.

If you need to request an exception due to a personal or medical emergency, contact the instructor directly as soon as you are able. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Disclaimer

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. All changes will be communicated with you via e-mail, course announcement and/or course discussion forum.