Skip to main content
Reflections of an Online Geographic Information Systems Course Based on Open Source Software
Social Science Computer Review (2009)
  • Charles M Schweik, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Maria Fernandez
  • Michael Hamel, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Prakash Kashwan, Indiana University
  • Quentin Lewis
  • Alexander Stepanov, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

This article summarizes the experience of offering an online introductory course on geographic information systems (GIS) that utilizes available free/libre and open source software (FOSS). Two primary objectives are to (a) reach students in developing countries and (b) to help move forward the development of an open-content GIS curriculum as part of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo; educational effort. Course design, key software (QGIS, GRASS, PostgreSQL//PostGIS), and online delivery methods are described. Results and factors leading to a low course-completion rate are discussed. Contributing factors include (a) a for-credit versus no-credit decision and (b) technical issues. Recommendations for others considering online offerings and for the OSGeo educational effort are provided.

  • Geographic Information Systems,
  • Open Source,
  • distance learning,
  • online education
Publication Date
Citation Information
Charles M Schweik, Maria Fernandez, Michael Hamel, Prakash Kashwan, et al.. "Reflections of an Online Geographic Information Systems Course Based on Open Source Software" Social Science Computer Review Vol. 27 Iss. 1 (2009)
Available at: