GEOG 594B
Geospatial Intelligence Capstone Experience

Geog 594b Syllabus

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Geog 594b: Geospatial Intelligence Capstone Experience

This syllabus is divided into several sections. You can read it sequentially by scrolling down the length of the document or by clicking on any of the links below to jump to a specific section. It is essential that you read the entire document as well as material covered in the Course Orientation. Together these serve as 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 e-mail system (see the Inbox 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 e-mail. If possible, send a scanned copy to me via Canvas e-mail for faster turnaround.)
  • Availability: Please call or e-mail (Canvas Mail) me to schedule a time that is convenient for you.

Todd Bacastow

Todd Bacastow

Professor of Practice for Geospatial Intelligence
425 EES
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

  • Phone: (814) 863-0049 (The country code for the United States is 1)
  • Mobile: (814) 883-7358 (The country code for the United States is 1)
  • FAX: (814) 865-3191 (The country code for the United States is 1)
  • E-mail: Please use the course e-mail system (see the Inbox link in Canvas)
  • 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

Note:

I will read and respond to e-mail and discussion forums at least once per day during the work week (Monday through Friday). You may see me online occasionally on the weekends, but please don't count on it!


Class Support Services

Penn State Online (link is external) offers online tutoring to World Campus students in math, writing, and some business classes. Tutoring and guided study groups for residential students are available through Penn State Learning (link is external).


Course Overview

GEOG 594b 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 Web site 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").


Course (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 ethical and professional issues in the spatial domain.
  • Evaluate and apply analytical methods in 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 allows 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.


Required Course Materials

In order to take this course, you need to have the required course materials listed below.  All (other) materials needed for this course are presented online through our course website and in Canvas. In order to access the online materials, you need to have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password (used to access the on-line course resources). If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk. They can be reached at 1-800-252-3592 in the US or internationally at 814-865-5403 (country code 1). You may reach them by e-mail at psuwd@psu.edu (link sends e-mail)

You might require ESRI's ArcGIS software in this course. If you need ArcGIS, you will be given a separate login and password for online access to this software through a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) served from the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences to access the ArcGIS software. Specific instructions and points of contact for installing and using the VDI are provided in the online course materials.

Note:

The World Campus Help Desk is not responsible for supporting VDI. The point of contact for support is Marty Gutowski at mjg8@psu.edu.

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 registered 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 e-mail
  • ...and much more!

Assignments and Grading

Your grade for this course will be based on your capstone project as the below. Detailed instructions are located within the online course materials.

Activity Effort Weight
Analytic Question Individual or Team 15%
Workplan Individual or Team 15%
Mid-Term Project Review Individual or Team 20%
Presentation Individual or Team 25%
Finalized Presentation and Paper Individual or Team 25%

Acceptable participation:

  • 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

Unacceptable participation:

  • 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

Grades

Letter grades will be based on the following percentages. Percentages refer to the proportion of all possible points earned by the student:

Letter Grade and Corresponding Percentages
Letter Grade 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 60-69.9%
F <60%
X Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)
 


GEOG 594B Course Schedule

image Printable Schedule

Below you will find a summary of the lesson objectives for this course and the associated time frames. Assignment information will be located on each lesson's checklist. This course is 10 lessons in length, with an orientation preceding the official start of the course. There are three different styles of reading that are referred to in the syllabus:

  • Scan: Do not deal with all of the content, but search through the material for a specific purpose or a specific word (or its synonym), such as finding the answer to a question.
  • Skim: To skim read a page by reading the headings and first sentences of each paragraph or section.
  • Read: The purpose of this style is to understand the concepts and arguments that the text contains and is should be preceded by the Skim reading style.
Course Orientation
Dates Week 0, Please see the Canvas Calendar
Topics Course Orientation
Readings See the lesson checklist
Assignments See the lesson checklist
Lesson 1: alalytic question
Dates Week 1, Please see the Canvas Calendar
Topics Analytic Question
Readings See the lesson checklist
Assignments See the lesson checklist
Lesson 2: workplan
Dates Week 2, Please see the Canvas Calendar
Topics WorkPlan
Readings See the lesson checklist
Assignments See the lesson checklist
Lesson 3: Mid-term project review
Dates Week 5, Please see the Canvas Calendar
Topics Mid-Term Project Review
Readings See the lesson checklist
Assignments See the lesson checklist
Lesson 4: presentation
Dates Week 9-10, Please see the Canvas Calendar
Topics Presentation
Readings See the lesson checklist
Assignments See the lesson checklist
Lesson 5: Paper turn-in
Dates Week 10, Please see the Canvas Calendar                            
Topics Paper turn-in
Readings See the lesson checklist
Assignments See the lesson checklist

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.