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

Course Description

Geography 431 is designed to further understanding of the natural processes of aquatic ecosystems, management of water resources, and threats to sustaining water quantity. Develop awareness and appreciation of the perspectives about water as a precious resource, commodity, and sometimes hazard. Learn how and why water is distributed unevenly around the Earth. Examine how resource management decisions are strongly related to water availability, quantity, and quality.

Geology of the National Parks

Credit: Geyser With Green Field Background by Damon Holle is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Geysers and grizzlies and glaciers, oh my. The national parks may be America's best idea, saving the finest parts of the nation for everyone to enjoy forever. What better way to learn about the natural world than to tour the parks with us? We'll explore how the mountains and valleys formed and why they often come with volcanoes and earthquakes. You'll see what really killed the dinosaurs and how we can help save their modern relatives in the parks. With film clips, slide shows, and our geological interpretations of classic rock songs, isn't it time for a road trip?

Course Description

Geographic Intelligence (GEOINT) is more than people working with computers in a secure intelligence facility. Join us for this exciting journey to learn about GEOINT's application in business, law enforcement, and defense. Advances in satellites, GPS, unmanned aerial systems, wireless communications, handheld computing, and the ability to automate laborious map analysis processes has transformed what used to be called geographic intelligence, or GEOINT, and the nature of the insights provided to managers and leaders.

Course Description

Geospatial System Analysis and Design surveys the process of GIS design through critical reading/writing and collaborative discussion. Key topics in the course outline the broad range of current GIS systems, how they are designed and evaluated, and how emerging technologies may impact their design and implementation in the near future. In particular, students will develop a term-long project where they propose a realistic problem scenario that requires the skills and understanding required to effectively complete a geospatial system specification, design, and implementation.

Course Description

In GEOG 871, we'll take a critical look at geospatial project management. Project management is a broad discipline that encompasses technical methods such as system design and analysis and also interpersonal factors that affect professional relationships. Project management is also a discipline that has matured outside of, but can be incorporated into, geospatial technology. By the end of this course, you'll have devised a project plan from a scenario built upon a real-life project involving the city of Metropolis geodatabase.

Course Description

Geography 468 provides the geospatial information system professional an overview of systems analysis and design with emphasis on the concepts behind the process, including: business use case modeling, business object modeling, requirements definition, analysis and preliminary design, and, finally, detailed design. The concepts of the geospatial software and database development process are introduced and the current modeling techniques are addressed within the geospatial systems development paradigm.

Course Description

Bill Gates is credited with saying he would "hire a lazy person to do a difficult job" with the justification that "a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." GEOG 485 doesn't teach the lazy way to get the job done, but it does teach the scripting way -- which is arguably even better. You've probably heard the "give a fish"/"teach to fish" saying?

Global Energy Enterprise

Credit: Lobbying 161689 by OpenClipart-Vectors is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Have you seen a Clean Coal baseball cap? In the challenge to meet soaring energy demand with limited resources, volatile issues like those related to the environment, national security and public health are often addressed outside of normal market transactions and are called externalities, or nonmarket factors. Stakeholders can act in resourceful ways to create a nonmarket environment that best serves their interest. A firm may challenge a law that makes it expensive or difficult to do business or compete with others, for example.

Course Description

Global Finance for the Earth, Energy, and Materials Industry covers the physical and financial aspects of energy commodities with the focus on crude and natural gas. The physical "path" of each commodity from the point of production to the point of use will be explained, as well as the "value chain" that exists for each. Commodity market pricing, both cash and financial, will be presented, encompassing industry "postings" for cash, commodity exchanges, and "over-the-counter" markets.

An elaborate gold belt buckle

Credit: Heather C. McCune Bruhn, 2017, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Course Description

In this two-part module, developed by Heather McCune Bruhn and Sarah J. Townsend, we will explore gold. First we'll look at gold as a substance and examine how it is obtained from the earth (along with some of the dangers and consequences involved). Next we'll examine what makes gold so important: its allure and symbolism in Prehistory, as well as in the Ancient and Medieval world. Then we'll look at the importance of Africa as a source of gold throughout the centuries before exploring some ways of working gold.

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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.