Online Degree Program

the broadcast is now starting. all attendees are inlisten only mode. hello, and welcome everyoneto another directions magazine webinar. today our sponsoris penn state. and the focus is "going thedistance: pursuing a graduate degree online." this is parttwo on this subject. part one took place last may26th, and you can find that webinar in our archive.

we'll also include alink to it in our follow up note to attendees. my name is nora parker, andi'll be your host today. as you can see we have a verydistinguished panel today. and we'll introduce you toeveryone in just a minute. you can check out our currentoffering of webinars on our homepage under thewebinars tab. next week, we have a webinarsponsored by oracle that focuses on retail analyticsin an enterprise cloud.

the following week, pitneybowes business insight sponsors a webinar on thetopic of international geocoding, with a casestudy from willis re. tomorrow, we'll be openingregistration for a webinar that's coming up sponsoredby alteryx with a case study from del taco. by the way, if you are goingfor your gisp, most of our webinars can be applied to theedu-3 educational achievement point schedule.

so if you want more informationabout that, please drop me an email. we very much appreciateyour time today. and we're going to honor ourcommitment to you by finishing within the hour. so let's get started. so next slide, you can see thatwe have a large global audience, with morethan 270 people registered for this webinar.

and as you can see, we havepeople from every corner of the globe represented. let me talk to you a littlebit about housekeeping. we encourage you toask questions. in your control panel, there isa section called questions. click on the plus sign andtype in your question. you may do this at any timeduring the webinar. and we'll respond to as manyquestions as we can during the q&a session toward theend of the webinar.

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a brief survey as youleave the webinar. we appreciate your participationin that. so now, just a quickintroduction to directions media, in case you're notfamiliar with the full scope of what we do. we're best known for ourcomprehensive website, directions magazine, and forour daily newsletter. our channels are new. these are our resources withnews, articles, videos, and

podcasts for professionals instate and local government, remote sensing, locationintelligence, location based services, and many more. they're a helpful way tonavigate our copious content, to drill into your specificarea of interest. and you'll find them on ourhomepage we also have several blogs. the all points blog beingprobably, the best known one. and, of course, we haveour webinar series.

we are currently running threeor four webinars a month on many different topics. we're also activein conferences. we're currently working on therocket city geospatial and alabama gis conference, whichwill take place in november. and we're also working on aconference next spring on the topic of locationintelligence. that one will be co-located withthe oracle spatial user conference.

now let me introduce our pennstate webinar series moderator, wes stroh. wes is a lead author instructorof a new course, just launched thisfall, location intelligence for business. prior to getting involved in gisand geography, wes worked in technical sales and marketingat at&t, and xo communications, and productmanagement with may department stores, coach, andeddie bauer.

his research interests includemarketing and business strategy applications of gis. he holds an m.s. in geographyfrom penn state, a b.a. in history from arizona stateuniversity, and a certificate in network design and analysisfrom the university of denver. so wes, let me handit over to you. thanks so much. thanks nora, and i'm excited tobe back again for the sixth in our series, insidegeospatial

education and research. we've really been enjoyinghosting this series and working with everyoneat directions media. before we get into today'scontent, as always i like to start off with a little poll. and poll number one is going toask our audience, what do you hope to gain by furtheringyour education? so nora, if you'll go ahead andturn on the poll, i'll run through the options folkshave to choose.

perhaps you're new togeospatial, checking it out as a potential career. perhaps you're hopingto expand on your bachelor's degree. maybe you're looking for skillsto make the transition to the next level. maybe your mid-career, andwondering if you're optimally positioned. or something else thatwe have listed there.

so go ahead and justtake a few seconds to answer the question. i'll keep an eye on-- we've got about halfthe audience in. so we'll give you folksanother moment here. and so far the bulk of you arethinking skills to make the transition to the next level. of course, today's topic isgoing to be appropriate for anyone in any of thesecategories.

ok, we've hit 80%. nora, let's go ahead and closethe polls and let everyone take a look at the results. i'm not entirely surprisedto see that. it looks like 40% of folks arelooking for skills to make the about a quarter of the audienceis looking to expand on a bachelor's degree. 18%, mid-career and wonderingif optimally positioned. 14%, some other category.

and then 3% are newto geospatial. well as i alluded, go ahead andclose that nora, and head back to the deck. we do have something i thinkfor everybody today. we take a look at our agenda,i want to thank nora for welcoming us. we have a couple panels today. and in between the panels we'regoing to be receiving some presentations fromthe three panelists.

and the panels are going tocover questions and typical faqs on everything relating tograduate education, in terms of gis and geospatialtechnologies. so we are going to talk a littlebit about certificate education, professionalcertificates plus baccalaureate certificates. we're also going to talk aboutmaster's level work. so i think we've got somethingfor everybody today. the first panel we're calling,the who, what, why and how of

online education. for those of you that mightbe interested in graduate education, but not sure aboutdoing in an online environment. and all of the folksrepresenting the various schools today actuallycome from online education programs. so that's what we're goingto talk about. introducing the programsrepresented on the webinar, we

have dr. patricia drews, fromnorthwest missouri state, steve hick, from university ofdenver, and my boss, dr. anthon robinson, frompenn state. and then following theirpresentations we're going to have a second panel, just thefaqs, about our programs and a little bit more aboutthe details. finally, we're going to open upfor some q&a. so let's go ahead and move on. as we took a look at theregistration questions that

some of you submitted, prettytypical, and not so different from the last in our series. some of you are wonderingwhere you can do the program from. do you have to be in the u.s? can you be somewhere else? how many credit hours can betransferred into a program? are there brick andmortar meetings? do i need to come to campus?

how much time and costare involved? we're going to try to addressall of these today. again, i'd like to welcomeour panel. i mentioned their names. and we've got head shotsof all them now. patricia drews is the gisciencegraduate program director at northwestmissouri state. steven hick is the gis directorand a lecturer in the department of geography atthe university of denver.

and dr. anthony robinson, leadfaculty member of online gis programs at penn state. and the first question we've gotfor the panel is to kind of characterize whatkind of students? who are they in onlineeducation? and i'm going to turnto anthony first. anthony, who are our students? thanks wes. so our students are typicallyworking professional adults.

most of them are looking intocontinuing education to help pivot in their careerin some way. or, in some cases, they'relooking to start their education about geospatialthings, all things geospatial, to begin a geospatial career. so we sort have two differentkind of audiences. our students overall, typicallyhave a bachelor's degree in hand already, andour programs are designed around that requirement.

thanks, patty, same question foryou, who are the students at northwest missouri state? thanks, wes. our students really fitthat same description. really, most of them areworking professionals. some of them have a little bitof gis experience, but they want to continue theireducation to move to another level. and we do have some studentsthat come to us with really no

background in gis, but they'relooking at either the certificate, or the degree,to help them make a career change. thank you. i guess it logically followsthat we should ask, perhaps, what and why arethey studying. and patty, and anthony, bothalluded to this, but steve, what and why arethey studying? and maybe you can distinguishbetween certificate level work

and master's levelwork for us. ok, thanks, wes. yes, students that are startingon the certificate, as we've heard before, probablyalready have their bachelor's degree in hand. and they're just looking formore skills oriented learning. just specific tools, ortechniques, that they need to apply to their workenvironment. and then those are going on fora master's degree may have

more management aspirations,or more analysis, or analytical ideas in mind toapply in their workplace. thanks, steve. patty, same question, in termsof northwest missouri state, what and why are theystudying with you? well, steve describedthat really well. like his students, many thatcome to the certificate program are really interested intaking just a few classes, so they can increase their skilllevel, or perhaps, in

some cases, enterthe gis field. and those who want to go on forthe master's degree, some of them also are coming intoour program because their employer is getting into gis. and so they want to bepart of that new effort with their employer. and actually, thatapplies to the certificate students as well. that some of them are firstintroduced to gis through the

fact that their employer isbecoming more, integrating the technology more into theirown workplace. thanks. anthony, i know we didn'tprepare this, but did you have anything you wanted to add tothat, or should i move on to the next one? i would just add that, i guessat penn state, the distinction between a certificate and themgis program for us is that for the master's level we'rereally focused on preparing

leadership. folks to enter into leadershiproles in the geospatial community. so we're targeting people withprofessional experience who are ready to make the next stepin their careers already. ok, thanks. i know that one of the questionsthat we've gotten in previous webinars we've done,certainly on the first edition of the going the distance, isthe concern about how one does

online learning? i think folks can intuitivelypicture what goes on in the classroom. they can't necessarily do thatin terms of online learning. so steve, i'd like to turn toyou and ask how does the online learning experiencehappen? and please address things likethe web based interfaces, types of communication, andmaybe access to software and tools, seeing that we aresuch a software and

tools intensive field. ok, i always wondered thismyself, how we were going to teach gis online backwhen we got started. but, first of all, the learningenvironment and the learning management systemshave evolved tremendously. and at the university of denverwe use two course management tools. one is called ecollege, andthe other is called blackboard.

and there are othersout there. but these are browser basedsystems that allow people to get online and access all of thematerials that they need for a course. and then when they do get intothese they'll find their course materials. and those may be presentedas slides, or audio presentations, videopresentations. and again, in our case, itvaries by the class and the

instructor. but also embedded within thoselearning management systems are a built in email system,and discussion forums. so it's not uncommon to haveweekly discussions. so that same kind of chit-chatthat would go on in the classroom, takes place onlinevia discussion boards. and then some instructors willmake the opportunity available to chat in real time. and it's always important withonline learning to make the

distinction betweensynchronous and asynchronous delivery. so, in some courses deliverymay be synchronous in that it's delivered everybody'sonline at same time. but in our program, wedo everything in an asynchronous format. so students who have jobs, andfamilies, and whatnot, can get online when they need to. with regard to the specific gissoftware, all of us here

today have got an esri sitelicense, which then enables us to make arcgis, arcinfosoftware available to everybody. so what we do is at thebeginning of each academic quarter we mail a copy, a dvd toevery student that they can then install on theirown computer. and then, many of us also havethe ability for students to log in to remote servers, anduse a virtual environment and get the same desktop experienceonline that they

get in the classroom. anthony, anythingto add to that? i would just add very brieflythat here at penn state we benefit a great deal from havinga team of instructional designers who come fromeducation instruction backgrounds who have graduatedegrees in those fields. and they work with our faculty,who are gis experts, to develop exciting new coursecontent using much the same platforms that stevejust described.

otherwise we're very similar. the software question weget asked quite a bit. and in addition to the esristuff, all of us offer other student licenses for all theother kind of remote sensing packages that you might use,and other types of tools. fortunately, vendors like togive us things for free because they know we'reteaching you. thanks, anthony. and certainly if any of thosetechnicality questions are

pertaining to your individualinterests, feel free to jot a note in the q&a section andwe'll try to address more specifics when we get there. we're going to go ahead and turnto our second poll now. and poll number two reads, whichof the following would you consider obstacles tofurthering your education. and we're specifically thinkingfurthering your education online. and you can clickall that apply.

nora, go ahead and turn thepoll on if you don't mind. we're used to seeing thesetypes of concerns from potential students. but the ones we have listedhere, reputation of online education, the cost of onlineeducation, or the cost of education in general, availablecourse options, quality of instruction, andstudying at a distance. so we're always eager to findout what things we can improve, or what questions wecan answer for folks who are

interested in our programs. we've got about 55% in. i'll give you a few more secondsso that we can get a nice spread of the data here. and, of course, i'm not at allsurprised to see cost. 79&% of you are suggestingthat cost is the number one concern. nora, why don't we go aheadand show the poll results. i think we're just aboutcap right there.

and again, no surprise,so it hit up to 80%. and certainly, especially inthe current economy, we're thinking about cost. one thing i can say is thatwe've got a couple of webinars talking about how gis andgeospatial is a growing field. so the good news is there seemto be jobs in our field at the other end of the educationproposition. some of you are concerned withreputation, also quality of instruction.

and we're certainly going totalk a little bit more about that when the three facultymembers, program managers do their presentations. also the availabilityof course options. we're going to talk about thata little bit more in another poll at the end ofthe webinar. and then studying at a distance,and so if you've got more specific questions on anyof those, go ahead and jot those down to nora.

and we'll try to address someof those as we move through the webinar today. and nora, if you can go aheadand turn the poll off and give me the deck back. i would like to just do a quickhand raise because cost is, as i anticipated, thenumber one concern. so first of all, will youremployer pay for your continuing education? so just raise your hand if youknow for a fact that your

employer will pay forall, or part, of your continuing education. and i'm not seeing thehand raise results. yeah, that's ok, i'vegot them here, wes. they are flying in. we've got 25% of the audienceso far that their employer will pay for it. and people are stillresponding pretty frequently to that.

looks like they're startingto slow down a little bit. we've got about 30% ofthe audience, wes. ok, thanks nora. not exactly surprising. and one thing i'll say aboutthat, we will talk a little bit about cost as we workthrough the webinar today. most of us are, well all of usare, faculty in the program. and as folks indicated in theopening faq, we're experts in gis and geospatial, not infinancing education.

but if you have a questionabout that we know who to point you to in our respectiveinstitutions. so please don't letcost be a barrier. we certainly have ways ofmanaging that but check with your employer. so, all right, let's goahead and move on. i'm pleased introduce morefully, the first of our panelists, who's goingto present a little bit about her program.

patricia drews is an associateprofessor of geography at northwest missouristate university. she has more than 20 years ofexperience in the gis field and industry in education. she teaches gis classes atboth the undergrad and graduate levels. and she also serves as thegraduate program director for the online master of scienceand graduate certificate programs in gi science atnorthwest missouri state.

patty, welcome. thanks very much, wes. northwest missouri stateuniversity is a regional state university located in maryville,missouri with about 7200 students. our online master of sciencein gi science, and our graduate certificate program,began in the fall of 2003. and this fall we have 100students enrolled in both of those programs combined.

the curriculum for our masterof science degree program consists of 10 to 11 courses,plus a thesis. we allow students without gisbackground to enter directly into our master ofscience program. and for those students, we havea prerequisite course that they take to basicallybring them up to speed in the basics of gis, so that they'reable to take the other courses in the program. we have a test out exam for thatso that those who have

significant background cansimply test out of that prerequisite course. we allow 9 to 12 semesterhours of applicable credit to transfer. the credit cannot havebeen used for another master's degree. and that's pretty typicalamongst most universities. our students do do a thesisfor our program. we encourage students, if it ispossible for them, to make

the thesis applicableto their employment. the picture here on the slideis of sherry massey actually doing her onlinethesis defense. she is the gis coordinator fordickinson county, kansas. and for her thesis project sheidentified preferred locations for a new fire station tobest serve unmet demand. and that original requestcame from the county emergency manager. so she was able to takesomething that she needed to

do for her job, and work thatin to her thesis topic. we also have a online graduatecertificate program. and there students take four orfive courses, a subset of the courses required forthe master's degree. all the courses taken for thecertificate count towards the master's degree. so we have quite a few studentswho actually are unsure about online learning,but they might want to try a course.

and they're unsure about whetherthey want to go on for the master's degree, so weencourage them to do the certificate first. and then, many of them havedecided to continue on for the time to completion. we allow our students to choosethe number of courses that they wish to take eachterm, based on their individual availabilityof time. and so most of them will takeone or two courses, fall and

spring, and perhapsa summer course. and at that rate, it will takethree to four years to finish the master's degree, and oneto two years for the certificate. most of the students finishthe certificate in a year or so. the next slide showsthe tuition for our online programs. and working that out themaster's degree for missouri

residents costs about $13,000at current tuition rates, non-missouri residents$21,000. the certificate about $6,000for missouri residents, and $9,000 for non-missouriresidents. i'd like to spotlight just twostudents in the program. melanie riley finishedher master's degree about a year ago. she is the gis specialist forthe iowa office of the state archaeologist.

her thesis project was to usegis and lidar to identify potential burial moundsin the state of iowa. and then based on that, thosepotential sites would allow archaeological crews to go outin person and basically to narrow down the area where theywould want to search for additional sites that wouldneed protection. that picture there is ofmelanie actually in an archaeological dig. the second student that i wouldlike to spotlight is

stephen stanford. he's a good example of a studentwho did not have really any gis backgroundcoming into the program. and as he first earned thecertificate, and then moved into the master's program, andnow he's finishing up his thesis, he has moved toprogressively more and more responsible gis positions,starting out as an intern, then employed as agis technician. and now he's currently ageospatial analyst with the

national geospatial intelligenceagency. and the slide there is simplyof a map from his thesis in which he looked at changes inpopulation density in st. louis, using both populationdata, and satellite imagery. thanks, patty. thanks for that nice overviewof northwest missouri state's programs. i'd like to turn now to oursecond panelist, steven hick from the universityof denver in the

department of geography. and steven's been atthe university of denver for quite awhile. i think since 1994, ifmy notes are correct. and he's been a lecturer,and now serves as the gis director. he's also got a lot ofconnections in the community, including gis colorado,gis in the rockies. and prior to being at theuniversity of denver he worked

in consulting, including ugc consulting, and it and services. so welcome steve, and i'd liketo hear about the university of denver's programs. well, thank you very much. it's good to be here. and just a little bit aboutthe university of denver. we were founded in 1864 as aprivate institution, situated at the base of the rockymountains in an area that

people interested in geosciencesrefer to as geotech alley. there's a lot of gis activitythat occurs up and down the front range of colorado. the university has about 10,000students, and of that, about 60% of those aregraduate students. so we have a strong emphasison graduate education here. we've been teaching gis at theuniversity since 1983. but it was in 1994 that welaunched one of the nation's

first gis certificateprograms. we followed that up four yearslater with one of the first master of science degrees in geographic information science. and about 10 yearsago, we put the certificate program online. and about three yearsago, we put the master's degree online. so we're sort of new tothat realm i suppose.

i am pleased to talkabout our faculty. in the geography department, wehave 14 full time faculty members that have thetraditional interests in physical and human geography,as well as a third of us focusing on geographicinformation science. we also have another 14 adjunctfaculty members that teach in our gis certificateand master's degree programs as well. and i believe that we offer acutting edge education and

training for students. and while theoretical work isimportant, we certainly have the stronger emphasis inapplied gis education. sometimes it's a littleconfusing how to get started in our program because we offerour certificate and our master's degree through twodifferent divisions, or colleges, at the universityof denver. university college is ourcontinuing education arm of the university.

and students apply to universitycollege to begin work on their certificate ofadvanced study in geographic information systems. it's a 24 credit hour program. so we are on the quarter system,so students will take six four credit hour classes. and you can complete that inthree quarters to a year and a half, six quarters, dependingon how fast you want to take classes.

and the cost for thatis around $12,000. the master's degree isoffered through the so a student applies again tomatriculate into the geography department. and the master's degree isa 48 credit hour program. but students that have completedthe certificate are halfway done. so we certainly urge, orencourage, our students to start in the certificateprogram, earn their first 24

credit hours, and then moveon to the master's degree. so the whole thing combined isabout a $24,000 ticket item. i spoke earlier of how onlinelearning works. and i always liketo talk a little bit about the logistics. certainly the necessity ofa broadband connection is critical in understandinghow you're connected, how you're online. and we certainly expect peopleto be fairly computer literate

when they sign up for theirfirst gis classes. students need to haveadministrative privileges on their computer so they caninstall software and download large data sets. as i mentioned earlier, we dohave a vmware environment. so for all the otherapplications, and we have lots of different softwareapplications available, for students to access some ofthose, they log in through this virtual environment.

and the desktop that youexperience online is the same desktop that you would seeif you were sitting right here in the lab. and we have a lot of differentgis courses to pick from. in our certificate program,there are about 22 classes to choose from. and then when you move on to themaster's degree there are nine additional coursesto choose from. in the certificate program, wehave classes that you might

expect, classes in remotesensing, and gps, and internet mapping, also specialty classeslike gis in business, and crime mappingand analysis. at the master's degree level,you're studying project management, database design,advanced statistics, and research methods, and all ofthat culminates in a capstone project, or a thesis aspatty had mentioned. and often i get asked abouttransferring credit hours from other institutions becausethere's probably a pretty good

chance you earned a certificatesomeplace else, or you've started graduatework elsewhere. and you can transfer up to 10quarter hours from another institution, althoughthe final word is in our graduate school. after you've finished allthose courses, where do you go from here? and i like to focus onshannon, who's a gis specialist down in gunnisoncounty, colorado.

shannon had a part timejob, and started in our certificate program. and that morphed intoa full time job. shannon's a mother, anda dog owner, and an avid outdoors person. her capstone project wasparticularly interesting in that she worked with neighboringhinsdale county, a very rural county in southcentral colorado, and helped them establish and implementtheir first e911 system, which

you'd think in this day andage everybody would have. not necessarily so. brian brill went through our giscertificate and master's degree programs. and i tell people he has thejob we all moved here for. he gets to live in themountains and he gets paid to ski. he completed his certificateand master's degree, and became an expert in forensicanimation.

and uses that to recreateski accidents all over the country. uses gps to map the scene. then he turns that data into 3dimages and video to present in court, where he's a certifiedexpert witness. so anyway, thank youfor your time. and i look forwardto continuing our conversation later. i'd like to, in a little moredepth, also introduce our

third panelist. as i mentioned he'salso my boss. and he's sitting across thehall from me right now. dr. anthony robinson, who islead faculty for online gis programs here at penn state. dr. robinson teaches and advisesstudents in the mgis program, coordinates facultyand staff, handles student affairs, all the services theassistant director for the geovista center in thedepartment of geography.

and his research focuses on thescience of interface and interaction design forgeovisualization and geovisual analytics tools. and so, without furtherado, anthony. thanks a lot, wes. it's a great opportunity toprovide an overview of our program, and to see what theother folks are doing as well. so penn state's online programsbegan in 1999. and since then we've served over4,000 students across our

country, and other countriesaround the world. the department of geographyat penn state offers these programs as part of a longtradition of geography scholarship. our department has highlyregarded faculty who have helped shape much of thetechnologies and methodologies that all of us are now familiar with in the gis world. our online programs includedepartment professors who are

focused on the cutting edgeof geospatial information science, as well as seniorprofessionals who are some of the best and brightest inour professional world. we're motivated by a prettysimple mission. we want to support aspiring,as well as experienced, gis professionals who are lookingfor superior quality geospatial education. to support that goal we offera variety of gis certificate and degree programs.

and i'll go over someof the details here. we offer a post baccalaureatecertificate in gis, for both aspiring and experienced gisprofessionals who have a bachelor's degree already. this program requires 11credits to complete. and most students take abouta year to finish it. the certificate program isdesigned to provide the fundamentals of geospatialknowledge and applications, and does not assume priorgis experience.

however, for folks with asubstantial gis background, we offer a professional trackthat substitutes advanced selective topics in placeof core courses. and generally speaking, wework with each student individually to developa customized plan of study in that case. our master of gis degreerequires 35 credit hours to complete, and usually takesabout three years. the certificate program makes upthe first year of the mgis

program by default. students in our mgis programcomplete the degree with a capstone research project thatculminates with a presentation at a professional oracademic meeting. sometimes it also includesa publication. we also offer two similarprograms focused on geospatial intelligence. a graduate certificate, and anoption that is part of penn state's master of professionalstudies in homeland security.

for students who are interestedin geospatial intelligence in general, thoseclasses can be included in our regular certificate andmgis programs as well. so it's pretty flexible. finally, i want to mention thatfor professionals who simply seek one or more specialtopics courses, we are able to offer enrollment innon-degree status for almost all of our current classes. so our classes themselves covera pretty wide range of

topics relevant to thegeospatial professional. and we're constantly working onadding new classes, and are revising our existing offeringsto reflect the latest and greatest things thatare happening in gis. i've included some of ourcurrent course topics here on this slide. this is just some of the stuffwe offer in addition to all of the core gis classes that youexpect for a basic gis curriculum.

so i'm not listing thefundamentals here, just the stuff that might be interestingto those of you who are already familiarwith the field. we're quite excited about newcourses we're beginning to offer this year, like locationintelligence for business, which wes teaches. and a new class on cloud andserver gis that'll launch in the winter. students in our programs takeclasses over four 10 weeks

semesters each year,in fall, winter, spring and summer terms. and most students take asingle class at a time. that's how we designed it. tuition at penn statecosts $716 per credit hour currently. and the cost of our certificateprogram comes in just under $8,000, while ourmgis degree comes to about $25,000 total.

most of our courses are alsoavailable for review as open educational resources,which means we post the content for free. and you can find those classesat the link you see there. we offer a little over20 right now. so the details about how ourcourses operate, and all the little logistic things we talkedabout so far, are a lot less important than what reallymotivates us do this stuff, and that'sour students.

lyndy worsham here is a greatexample of a penn state certificate student,who's directly benefited from our program. and she's used it toadvance her career. lyndy works for a nonprofitorganization that focuses on displaced persons along thethailand burma border. she actually took her classeswith us from thailand, and was able to apply what she learnedimmediately to her job. like many of our students, lyndycomes from a background

outside of geography. her background is inpolitical science. she found herself in a positionwhere she needed gis theory and skills to advance hercareer and she was able to satisfy those needs throughpenn state. at the master's degree level,chris goranson provides another example of the type ofexceptional student we're really focused on attracting andeducating in our programs. chris came to the mgis programas the director of the gis

center at the new yorkdepartment of public health and hygiene, so he alreadyhad a really good job. chris worked with his advisordr. frank hardisty to develop a capstone project on gis andpublic health that ended up paving the way for a nationalscience foundation fellowship to support his research. and ultimately led toa publication in an important journal. since he's graduated, chris hasnow advanced his career

again to become the director ofthe parsons institute for information mapping at the newschool in new york city, which is amazing. if you're interested incontacting alumni from our programs like chris and lyndy,you should let us know through the contact information at theend of this presentation. i'm happy to be able to pointyou toward a new map mashup we've made that connectsour alumni to prospective students.

so you can use this mashupto find people who are geographically local to you, andcontact them directly to talk about their experienceswith penn state. thanks a lot. thanks, anthony and thanksactually to all three of you for giving us a nice overviewof your programs. i'd like to turn again tothis notion of faqs. calling this one just thefaqs about our programs. steve already alluded to some ofthe folks that teach in the

programs at du, but i'd liketo turn to anthony. anthony, who teaches in thepenn state program? so it's not a simple answerbecause it's a lot of different kinds of people. we have both resident,tenure-line faculty teaching our programs, as well as a widerange of professionals that we've hired on a fixedterm basis to work in our and in some cases to workpart time at a distance to teach for us.

and those folks include the bestand brightest people we can find in a particular area. so as one example, we've hiredkaren shuckman, who used to be the past president of asprs,to develop and teach our lidar course. so we try to find the very bestpeople, no matter where they are, and have themteach for us. same question, patty. ok, at northwest all of ourcourses are taught by full

time faculty here at northwestthat have a terminal degree ph.d. with an emphasis ingis, or gi science. ok, next question, and i thinkthat this one's a pretty common one, especially for thenewer folks that we sometimes have on the webinars. can students without a gisbackground be admitted to these programs? and steve, i'd like toturn to you first. ok, thanks.

well, absolutely. students don't have to bring agis background to the program. that's why we have introductorycourses in geographic information systemsand in remote sensing. i think that's part of theexcitement about the program is that you have people withvaried backgrounds. and they bring their ownexpertise to the online class anthony you mentioned lyndy asan example of the certificate student, maybe you couldcharacterize the backgrounds a

little further of the averagecertificate and master's student at penn state. sure, so we have twodifferent kinds of certificate students usually. we have people who are alreadyin the field, gis, in some way, and they needto formalize and extend their education. and then we have folks whoare completely new to it. so we support both optionsthrough different tracks.

the master's program's a littledifferent for us. we're really focused on seniorprofessionals there, not necessarily senior, you don'thave to be old, but we're focused on professionals therewho have substantial gis background. so it's not something wheresomeone who is new to gis can immediately become enrolled inour master's degree program. however if you are new, finishthe certificate, and do very well, it's quite possiblefor you to be

admitted to the master's. patty, same question to you,can students without a gis background be admittedto these programs? yes, they can. we have the prerequisite coursethat allow students with no background in gis toacquire the knowledge that they need to move intothe other courses. so, yes, for both the master'sdegree program, and the certificate program, studentscan be admitted without a gis

turning to our next question,this is certainly a pretty common one. do i need to take the gre,the dreaded graduate record exam, to apply? and patty, i know that the greis required at northwest missouri state. anthony, what's penn state'spolicy on the gre? you don't need to take the greif you are interested in taking the certificateprogram.

if you are wanting to beadmitted into the master's program, you do need to take thegre, unless you have five years of professional experiencein the gis world. steve, same question. like at penn state, for thecertificate program you do not need the gre. for the master's degree, youknow most working adults don't really want to go back andtake the gre, but we will waive that if you've completedhalf of your certificate hours

with a grade point averageof a 3.5 or better. another common question is, andfolks have addressed this a little bit in thepresentations, but we'll come back to it now, will ibe able to transfer credits into your programs? patty, how does that work atnorthwest missouri state in terms of transferring credits? the student provides officialtranscript and syllabi the courses that we wouldlike to transfer.

the syllabi allow us to makea comparison between their courses and ours to see whatthe best transfer would be. we allow either nine or 12semester hours to transfer, depending upon the universitythat the student is from. the courses have to have beentaken for graduate credit, as opposed to continuingeducation credit. and anthony, samequestion to you. very similar to how it worksat northwest missouri. the only thing i would addreally is that in our master's

degree program we can acceptup to 10 credits of high quality graduate work taken notfor degree somewhere else. and up to three credits forthe certificate program. the final question for thisparticular faq is, i think, one that's at the frontand center for a lot of folks right now. and that is, what is the jobplacement for students in and steve, i'll turnto you first. ok, well many people haveprobably heard that the us

department of labor hasidentified geospatial technologies as one threefastest growing job industries in the nation. and certainly there are manyopportunities for people with a gi science background. like most universities, wehave a career center that provides basic jobplacement help. we also, in our department,have a faculty member who devoted orchestratinginternships for our students.

and that really leads to-- well internshipsare a wonderful opportunity to get out there. and i can't overemphasize howimportant it is to network in this industry. so while getting a goodeducation is important, what you know is important, who youknow is critically important. so it is valuable to getto know your faculty. that's where your networkingbegins.

and get to know your fellowstudents because that's where you'll hear about theopportunities. ok, thanks, steve. anthony, same question, i thinkit's a nice follow on. sure, so one thing we're reallyfocusing on here, in addition to the sort of standardthings that steve just mentioned, we have verysimilar kinds of resources here at penn state to helpwith career counseling. one thing we're really focusedon in our world is connecting

our alumni to current andprospective students. so the mashup mentioned earlierin my talk is one way of doing that. it's been very successfulso far. people can contact people nearthem, go meet, talk about the job market right now. maybe make a connection there,a personal connection that leads to a job oran internship. and we're also able to satisfystudent requests.

we had one a couple weeks ago,someone was applying to saic and wanted to know if we hadany alumni who had recently graduated, who were working atsaic, and we were able to put them in touch with, i think,a dozen different people. so we've been trying tomaximize networking opportunities through our alumninetwork as much as possible too. thanks very much. hopefully we've answered some ofthe general questions that

tend to come up. and one thing i would like topoint out is that an hour isn't a lot of time to go intosome of the technicalities that we've covered. so if anything, hopefully by theend of today, we'll have got you thinking about the kindsof questions you can be asking in terms of gettingprepared for your graduate career. and then contacting theseindividual programs and folks

at these programs directly toget more specific answers. but we actually have somequestions we'd like to ask you before we move into theopen q&a at the end of the talk today. and we're always particularlyinterested in finding out what our students and future studentsare most interested in studying, in terms ofpreparing them for what they see as opportunitiesout there. so we have two pollsback to back.

and we're going to ask yousimply what course topics would be valuable for yourcontinuing education? and this can be something you'redoing your job now, or something you think youmight like to do. but click all that apply. so nora, if you'll go aheadand turn on poll number three for me. yeah, you bet. and the five choices we've goton the first half, remember

we're going to do this in twoparts, so you'll have 10 choices to clickall that apply. the first half, web and mobilegis, geospatial programming including open source, spatialdatabase development, spatial analysis, and remote sensingand image analysis. so go ahead, and just take aminute and let us know which of those topics interest you. and by the looks of it with 65%in, all of the topics are very interesting.

and considering that those arecourses that i think we're all thinking about, we're headedin the right direction. we'll give you just a couplemore seconds to vote. ok, nora, why don't we go aheadand close that poll now. and show everybodythe results. and looks like web andmobile gis at 78%. spatial analysis, 75%. 63% with spatial databasedevelopment. geospatial programming, 60%.

and remote sensing 46%. so interesting results, andwe'll all be taking that back to our faculty groups andcertainly considering the information you're providing. let's turn to thesecond poll now. and that is the samequestion, but-- and nora, if you'll go aheadand open poll number four, i'll just read those choices. we'd like to know if you'reinterested in geospatial

intelligence, public health andepidemiology, business gis commercial applications, energyand the environment, or is there something that wehaven't chosen here? so you can go aheadand click other. and we'll give you a fewmore minutes to choose. about 60% of you are in. and we'll wait until we hitabout the 85% mark. so go ahead and takeanother second. ok, looks like we're levelingoff there, so why don't we go

ahead close the poll. and from this grouping of five,looks like energy and the environment at 64%, 54% forgeospatial intelligence, 43% other, 39% business, and26% public health and epidemiology. so thanks very much forcontributing your opinions. we certainly value that. i would like to turn to, andnora, if you can give the slide deck back, aquick slide with

some additional resources. and we've even got a note here,don't worry, you don't have to jot these down. there will be a followup note. we'll probably get thatout on friday, if not, a day or two after. but there are some websitesyou can contact these individual programs at. and again, we'll have morespecific information as well

email contacts for you inthe follow up letter. and like i said before, this isa lot to cover in an hour, so hopefully you're dipping yourtoe in the water just a little bit, thinking about youroptions, thinking about what questions to ask. and then going on to theprograms that catch your attention and asking morespecific questions. but we always like to leave timeat the end for questions, and so it is now time toturn to our q&a panel.

and nora and i have been lookingcarefully at the questions that you'vebeen sending us to make selections here. and i think the first one thati want to pose to the panel, which is a good place to start,someone mentioned that either they already havea bs in gis, or just finished a bs in gis. is it worth their time to geta certificate or a master's when i already knowthe basics?

anthony, why don't you takethat one, if you like. sure, it's a good question. i would say that particularbackground matches about, i would guess, 75% of the studentsin our programs here at penn state. the opportunities provided forthe certificate and master's degree are quite different, inthat you have to have the ability to specialize in areasof interest that are really contemporary and relevant.

so if it's programming inpython, learning lidar. we have a new class on locationintelligence for business that wes is doing. seminars on mashups, things likethat, where having some credibility in emerging topicsis really important. that's sort of where you candistinguish yourself beyond that bachelor's degree. so i would argue, it's a goodopportunity for that. in the master's program peopleare typically looking for

something there to focus on witha capstone that really helps them pivot itin their career. and maybe switch to a differentarea of interest. let's say from facilitiesmanagement type stuff to emergency management. patty would you like to commenton that at all? i would just like to say thatsome of our students have found that the fact of havinggraduate education, in particular a master's degree,allows them to move up at

their particular employer, orto move to another employer where the master's degree isanother credential that is valued by the employer, andactually can result in an additional salary increase. ok, steve, same question,anything you'd like to add or have they covered it? i think it's prettymuch covered. i think students that havefinished their undergrad degree may not have had theopportunity to do the work

that they want to do. so the opportunity to do amaster's degree presents the opportunity to do a thesisor capstone, where you're self-directed. and you can specialize then insomething you may not have had time to do as an undergrad. all great points. thanks panel. we have a number of questionshere about financing

education, and of course, that'spretty typical when we bring up a topic like howmuch education can cost to some folks. i'm going to run through aboutthree of these briefly and i'll let just whoever wants tograb it first, maybe steve, if you want to grabthis first one. one person asks, oftentimes ina resident program there are graduate assistantships, liketeaching assistantships or research assistantships, thathelp defray the costs is that

available to an onlinestudent at du at all? no, it's not. our teaching assistantships andresearch assistantships are for our resident studentsbecause they're helping out in the classroom. we offer a scholarship thatmakes the tuition the rate that it is to make it comparableto other schools in the country. so that's not an optionright now.

ok, and anthony, i'm just tospeak for us, i know that we generally don't havethat kind of option at penn state either. patty, anything you'd like tosay on behalf of northwest missouri state? it is not an option for useither because as steve mentioned any assistantshipsare working here at the university and need tobe here locally. and i think that'spretty standard.

i think if we had other programsrepresented today, if we could get more folkson the call, we'd find a similar answer. i think that's pretty atypicalfor online students. but perhaps on a more positivenote, one student asks about the post 9/11 gi bill. anthony, i know todd dealswith this a lot more than maybe we do, on the gis side ofthe house, but do you have any comments you'd like to makewith regard to how our

students are benefiting fromthe post 9/11 gi bill? sure, i'm not the expert onfinancial issues by any means, but i know that a largeproportion of our students, who are coming from a militarybackground are taking advantage of that particularoption. and we have a penn state worldcampus representative who focuses just on militarystudents, and can work with you directly on how to financeyour education that way. so we can put you in touchwith people like that.

ok, anything you'd liketo add steve or patty with that regard? no, i would just put peoplein touch with our financial aid office. yeah, and i think that'spretty typical. as i mentioned a couple timesearlier in the call, none of us are really financial aidexperts, so the best thing to do is to get in touch with theprogram so that they can put you in touch withthe individuals.

and in penn state, for instance,there is, in certain circumstances, availability toset up some assistance, but it requires working through thosefolks and some special circumstances. so you really want to check inon your individual situation. and i'll just kind of cut off acouple more questions so we can move on to somethinga little meatier. a couple folks have asked whysome schools have in state versus out of state whereothers don't.

i'll just ask you to directthat to the individual institution directly so thatthey can answer that. we'll have follow up emailand web addresses in that follow up letter. i think one thing that we couldall talk about here, one person asks what version ofarcgis do these schools use? is it 9.3.1? is it 10? and maybe more important, howsoon after the release of a

new version of the software areschools implementing the technology into theircourse work? i'll turn to anthonyfirst on that one. i know he'll have somethingto say there. sure, we're using10 right now. and it usually takes us, itdepends on the instructor to be perfectly honest, and it alsodepends on students, it takes us about four to sixmonths to transition our core courses over to thenewest version.

we get mixed feedbackon doing that. i'll be totally honestwith you. a lot of students would liketo go to the newest version immediately. and a lot of students areworking with an older version every day and haven'tmoved ahead. so we're sort of stuck betweena rock and a hard place sometimes on that. education institutions with anesri site license receive

access to new software wayahead of its public availability, so we do wrapour heads around it pretty early on in the process. but it's definitely an ongoingthing, an issue that we grapple with. and your feedback on what weshould do with best practices would be great. steve, do you have anythingto add there? i'll mention two things.

one, i talked earlier aboutour virtual environment. and what we do is provide twovirtual desktop environments. one, you login and arcgisversion 9.3.1 is available or you select the other one andyou can run version 10. it's tough for us because whena new version comes out we have many students lined up andexpecting us to be at the bleeding edge of technologyand to have the software installed immediately. and we do it as fast as wecan, but people have to

understand we also have ourown it people that we have to work with. and we have to wait fora natural break. we don't do anything midterm. and usually there's at least aquarter lead time before we can make an upgrade. so we tend to do most of ourupgrades in august and december because those areour biggest windows of opportunity.

great. we have a lot of questionsand only about three minutes to go. so i'm scrolling through andtrying to consider the ones that might be of the mostbenefit, and i think one that might be terribly interestingto a lot of folks, what sort of help resources do you providefor the capstone project, or thesis? you may want to watchthe earlier going

the distance webinar. that was specific to pennstate's program only, but we actually went directly into howdoes someone do graduate level thesis research online. i'll go ahead and let steve andpatty each respond to that quickly because i'd liketo get one more question in if i can. so steve, what kind of supportdo they get in their thesis work from a distance?

there are two ways. one, we have a capstone seminarwhere the students are going through the processtogether and then we provide advisement that way. or student's work oneon one individually with a capstone adviser. so they mutually agree on apartnership between a student and a faculty member, andthen they have all the guidance they need.

patty, same question? student will have a thesisadviser, a faculty member that works directly with them. they will also have two otherfaculty members who serve on their thesis committee. and so, any of those threefaculty members can provide whatever support is neededby the student. thanks, and if you tune intothat going the distance webinar folks to see the pennstate version, you'll find

that we also have a facultyadvisor and then a whole sequence of processes that helpthe students move towards that culminating project andthen presenting it at a professional conference. i think there's a really nicequestion to end on. and that is, someone asks, ifi'm ready to get going with this for fall of 2012, whatshould i do next? anthony. well you could go to our worldcampus website that we just

posted a link to a second agothat you'll see later on. and there are onlineapplications to get started for both of our programs. and i would actually say whywait till fall 2012? because we operate on foursemesters a year, so you could actually start this winter. ok, steve, same question. it's a little late to getstarted in the master's degree program, but one can jump intothe certificate program almost

at any time. and we start classesagain on january 3. same question patty. i would direct students to ourweb page where there's a link on how to apply, where theycan get to the online application, and see theother application materials that are required. and we are stillin the window. and we could admit students forspring 2012, which starts

the second week of january. before i thank our presentersone last time and hand back over nora, although we don'talways do this after our webinars, we've had a lot ofgood questions, and i think that our faculty that representthe various programs will all be eager to help meanswer some of your questions in a follow up email. and what i'll commit you to dois, we'll get the follow up email with the urls outalmost immediately.

and then if nora can make ithappen, we'll send a second follow up, maybe in about a weekto 10 days with some of your specific questionsanswered. because there were a lot ofgreat questions out there. one person typed in aboutaccessibility for people who are deaf, or may have otherhindrances to normal computer operations. and i think those aregreat questions. we want to answer those.

so we will come back to thosein a more specific format. i'd like to thank thethree of you. it was a great talk today. dr. anthony robinson from pennstate, steve hick from the university of denver, pattydrews from northwest missouri state, and i'll handback over to nora. and i'd like to thank the fourof you, plus our entire audience for coming today. and as a reminder, we are goingto get a copy of the

webinar archived and out toyou as soon as possible. i will also include alink to the previous webinar on this topic. and please join us for ournext directions magazine webinar next thursday on theretail analytics in an enterprise cloud with oraclespatial and oracle site hub. and we really do appreciateyou joining us today. thanks again, and be sureto tell a friend about directions magazine.

bye for now.