GEOG 594A: Culminating Experiences 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. Together, these serve the role of our course "contract."
- Course Overview
- Course Objectives
- Required Course Materials
- Assignments and Grading
- Course Schedule
- Course Policies
The instructors for this course are Todd Bacastow, Dennis Bellafiore, and Gregory Thomas.
Additional information about these instructors can be found at the Instructor Information page.
GEOG 594A: CULMINATING EXPERIENCES IN GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE
- GEOG 882, Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence (or an approved substitute)
- GEOG 883, Remote Sensing Image Analysis and Application (or an approved substitute remote sensing course)
- GEOG 884, GIS for the Geospatial Intelligence Professional (or an approved substitute GIS course)
- GEOG 885, Advanced Analytic Methods in Geospatial Intelligence (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 lesson.
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 every day. 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").
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 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.
Students who excel in this course must demonstrate an understanding of the integration of GIS and remote sensing into geospatial intelligence analysis.
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.
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.
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.
|Deliverable 1: Analytic Question & Peer Review||25%|
|Deliverable 2: Question, Assumptions, Method, & Bibliography||20%|
|Deliverable 3: Draft PowerPoint||20%|
|Deliverable 4: Oral Presentation||25%|
|Deliverable 5: Final Presentation and Written Report||10%|
Letter grades will be based on the following percentages:
Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)
- Offers solid analysis, without prompting, to move the conversation forward
- Demonstrates a deep knowledge of the text and the question
- Actively listening to other participants
- Offers clarification and/or follow-up that extends the conversation
- Remarks often refer back to specific parts of the text
- Offers little commentary
- Is ill-prepared with little understanding of the text and question
- Does not listen to others, offers no commentary to further the discussion
- Distracts the group by offering off-topic questions and comments
- Ignores the discussion and its participants
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.
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.
|Objectives:||Identify the key knowledge in the domain of your project.|
|Date:||Week 3 - 6|
For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the Dutton Institute Technical Requirements page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk (for World Campus students) or the ITS Help Desk (for students at all other campus locations).
Access to a reliable 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 Wi-Fi ® hotspot.
This site is considered a secure web site 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.
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.
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."
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 Report Bias.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect
Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.
For additional information, see:
- Penn State Affirmative Action non-discrimination statement
- Policy AD 85 Sexual and gender-based harassment and misconduct, Title IX
- Policy AD91 Discrimination and Harassment, and Related inappropriate Conduct
- Penn State Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence
- Penn State Values
- Penn State Principles
- All In at Penn State: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Mandated Reporting Statement
Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct and Prevention & Response website.
Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.
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.