Open Educational Resources for GIScience

At the 2016 Festival of Learning, Arthur Gill Green and Elissa Liu presented their work developing OER QGIS modules for students learning Geographic Information Science (GIScience). The presentation can be found below with links to the first of three modules for learning QGIS. We will be releasing all of these modules in July 2016. We welcome comments on the modules and have decided to release the instructions as documents on which the public can leave a comment. Data can be downloaded using the links in the modules. We have developed instructor resources for conducting learning assessments. Please contact Arthur Gill Green if you would like access to instructor resources.

The module can be accessed here:

Free and open source software for geospatial analysis provide an opportunity to learn GIScience while using open Geographic Information System (GIS) software packages. Yet, despite the growing availability and complexity of such software, most open textbooks for learning GIScience do not provide ancillary resources that use open software. While some conventional textbooks use open source software, the majority of GIScience labs and applied GIS training in higher education rely on proprietary software packages. In early 2016, we began to develop a series of modules for learning GIScience through an open source GIS program called QGIS (

These modules use open data specific to British Columbia and were collaboratively edited with student research assistants and students from the Advanced GIScience course at UBC. The final set of modules are provided under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license on a public website so that the instructors and the general public can access, adopt, and adapt the modules as needed. Our modules were inspired by, remixed, and added to the original QGIS training manual which uses data from Swellendam, South Africa. For teaching and learning, we envision three versions of our work (1) student modules with assessments, (2) instructor resources, and (3) public modules with no assessments included. While the original manual is open on GitHub, we needed to account for these differing deliverables when remixing, adding to, and delivering our new content. Indeed, in developing these ancillary resources, we now feel the need to author a new open textbook on GIScience that adequately integrates the modules.

This workshop will outline the process we undertook to create the modules, our hopes for further development, and an invitation for others to be involved in collaboration. We also want to offer hands-on experiences to participants by walking them through one of our modules and potential open textbook. Participants in this workshop will understand the perspectives of an open educational resources (OER) developer, perspectives of OER end-users, will learn the basics of QGIS, and will get hands on experience with an OER.

Arthur Gill Green, Teaching and Learning Fellow, Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, University of British Columbia and College Professor, Okanagan College
Elissa Liu, Student, University of British Columbia, Vancouver


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