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Spatial Analysis in the Social Science Curriculum: Enhancing Undergraduate Learning

July 15-20, 2007: Santa Barbara, CA

Workshop Description

This workshop focuses on spatial methods and perspectives suited for applications in the undergraduate social science curriculum, such as exploratory spatial data analysis and cartographic visualization. Participants will illustrate these methods and design instructional modules and exercises for use in teaching undergraduates. The workshop will also explore strategies for curriculum development and assessment of student learning. Requirements to benefit from this workshop include prior experience with computer file and data management for quantitative analysis and/or basic GIS applications in the social sciences.

Instructors: Stuart Sweeney (coordinator), Fiona Goodchild, Michael Goodchild, Don Janelle, and Waldo Tobler (all of UC Santa Barbara)

Co-sponsor with CSISS and host institution: Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research.

Overview of Workshop Goals

The UCSB workshop introduces social science instructors to the potential added value provided by spatial perspectives. The workshop engages participants with opportunities to learn spatial theory, methods of spatial analysis, and pedagogic strategies for integrating spatial perspectives into lectures, labs, and demonstrations in undergraduate instruction. The training in spatial analytic tools is not presented as an end in itself, but instead as a means to facilitate undergraduate learning within the context of existing social science theory.

The UCSB workshop focuses on: (1) Implementing core spatial concepts through exploratory spatial data analysis and cartographic visualization; (2) Integrating social science theory and spatial analysis; and (3) Visualizing social science data. These basic themes are intended to transcend disciplinary boundaries. Small-group discussions and teamwork will be used throughout the workshop to facilitate the integration of lectures and lab work with pedagogical development.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for this workshop will recognize the importance of integrated spatial social science as a worthy goal in both teaching and research. Even if they have novice skills in spatial analysis, they are driven to learn by their own teaching and research goals. This ideal candidate will also have a solid grounding in one of the social sciences, a minimum of one year as a primary undergraduate classroom instructor, and a competency with PC computing that includes moderate to advanced familiarity with Microsoft Excel (or comparable spreadsheet software), prior use of software for statistical analysis (e.g., SPSS, Stata, SAS, S-Plus, or Matlab) and/or GIS, and ability to execute basic file administration tasks (e.g., locating, copying, and renaming files). The candidate's statement of goals on the application form should document their objectives and preparation for the workshop.

Laptop Requirement

Individuals selected to participate in the UC Santa Barbara workshop must bring a laptop computer for use in the workshop. The minimum specifications are as follows: Windows XP (SP2) or Windows 2000, 512 MB RAM minimum, 1.0 GHz Processor, Web Browser, CD-ROM, USB, and a Wireless card. Minimum free disk space is 1.0 GB (1,000 MB).
In preparing your laptop for use in the workshop, please be certain that your Windows Operating System is updated via Windows Update. If you have an Anti-Virus software installed (e.g., Symantec Norton Antivirus) and if it has expired, please update the software with a new subscription. Then perform an update. Windows XP is preferred, however, if you have Windows 2000, please install a firewall (e.g., Zonealarm). Failure to comply with these requests will either delay your ability to use the workshop wireless network or completely negate the possibility of connecting to the network. See requirements for all ESRI software.

 

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