Welcome to our open courses. Feel free to browse the list of courses below or search for topics using the search box.

Cloud and Server GIS

Credit: Binary One Cyborg Cybernetics-2302728 by Gerd Altmann is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Is your understanding of Cloud GIS a bit hazy? Does thinking about it leave you in a fog? We've designed GEOG 865, Cloud and Server GIS, to help you understand how all of the various pieces of architecture fit together. By the end of the class you'll have a clear understanding of esri's and others' offerings in the space, how to implement ArcGIS Enterprise on Amazon EC2, make online maps with Carto and Mapbox, and engage in some blue sky thinking of your own in our weekly discussions about trends and directions.

Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society

Credit: Wave 2444043 by TimHill is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Has your attention recently been caught by news of coastal catastrophes such as hurricanes and tsunamis? Do you wonder why so many coastal communities in the world are vulnerable to flooding and other coastal hazards? Have you considered what coastal flood protections cities like Houston and Miami will need in the future to protect their residents? This course will provide a better understanding of these phenomena.

Commercial Solar Electric Systems

Credit: Solarvoltaic System by OhWeh is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

Course Description

AE 868 examines the theories and design practices of solar electric systems in the context of utility and commercial-scale applications. An important goal of the course is to equip solar professionals with skills to follow the impact of hardware trends in industry on feasibility, design, and the commissioning of such systems. Students will learn how to design solar electric systems as well as the processes required for permitting, construction, and commissioning.

Computation and Visualization in the Earth Sciences

Credit: Earthquake locations from USGS by E Richardson (c) Penn State University licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Course Description

In EARTH 801, you will develop skills in a programming language designed for visual arts and visualization while exploring Earth science topics. Specifically, you'll learn and practice digital graphics capabilities in order to render Earth science concepts that are otherwise difficult to visualize due to complicated space and time scales. Here, you will interact with large, open, freely-available data sets by collecting, plotting, and analyzing them using a variety of computational methods.

Controversies in the Earth Sciences

Course Description

Think science has all the answers? Think again. This course will use real, authentic data to explore and investigate modern controversies in Earth Sciences. Use tide gauge records to understand how countries around the world attempt to protect themselves from tsunami events. Process seismic data to predict earthquake recurrence in the New Madrid seismic zone, right here in the breadbasket of the US. Sort through the millions of years of the geologic timeline to shed some light on what actually did, and did not, kill the dinosaurs.

earth from space

Credit: "Earth" by Kevin M. Gill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Course Description

Storytelling can save the Earth. Stories have the power to inform, raise awareness, and bring about change. Now more than ever, science needs storytelling. Our brains are hardwired to learn and connect with others through stories. Personal narratives that tap into the scientist's voice are effective tools for communicating technical information. Digital Stories in Science provides a step-by-step approach on how to combine textual, visual, and aural information into a compelling digital narrative.

Earth in the Future

Credit: Mountains 482689 by Angie Agostino is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Our planet is becoming hot. In fact, Earth may be warming faster than ever before. This warming will challenge society throughout the 21st century. How do we cope with rising seas? How will we prepare for more intense hurricanes? How will we adapt to debilitating droughts and heat waves? Scientists are striving to improve predictions of how the environment will change and how it will impact humans.

Earth Surface Processes in the Critical Zone

Credit: Blue and Gray Moon during Nighttime by Jaymantri is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Rapid changes at Earth's surface, largely in response to human activity, have led to the realization that fundamental questions remain to be answered regarding the natural functioning of the Critical Zone, the thin veneer at Earth's surface where the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere interact. EARTH 530 will introduce you to the basics necessary for understanding Earth surface processes in the Critical Zone through an integration of various scientific disciplines.

man writing on paper with a pen. An open laptop is in the background.

Credit: Pexels by Burst is Public Domain

Course Description

For students and others who read it, this style manual quickly becomes a favorite resource.  Whether planning a paper, running a grammar check, completing a report, composing an email, puzzling over a usage or grammar issue, or writing a resume or online portfolio, you are bound to find the material and examples you need in Style for Students Online.  Drawing from his breadth of experience as a tutor, teacher, editor, and creative writer, Joe Schall provides technical writing advice that spans from the conceptual to the niggling.  Thoughtful, practical, up-to-date, and rich in pith

two fingers touching behind a lightbulb

Credit: Home Energy by George Hodan is licensed under CC0 1.0

Course Description

Our world runs on energy - without it, things come to a screeching halt, as the recent hurricanes have shown. Ever stop to wonder what our energy future is? What are our options for energy, and what are the associated economic and climatic implications? In "Energy and the Environment" we explore these questions, which together represent one of the great challenges of our time - providing energy for high quality of life and economic growth while avoiding dangerous climate change.

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Course Spotlight

pile of maps

Cartography and Visualization (GEOG 486) covers design principles and techniques for creating maps with contemporary mapping tools. Students will be introduced to future-focused application topics such as augmented and virtual reality, mapping with multivariate glyphs, the visual depiction of uncertainty, interactive geovisualization, and (geo)visual analytics, and decision-making with maps and mapping products. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Maria Wherley

Maria Scalzi Wherley (she, her) is a Learning Designer and Writer-in-Residence with the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Penn State. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience. Learn more about Maria to see what she has to say about online education.