Evaluating Maps in a Massive Open Online Course

Anthony C. Robinson, Jonathan K. Nelson



New forms of cartographic education are becoming possible with the synthesis of easy to use web GIS tools and learning platforms that support online education at a massive scale. The internet classroom can now support tens of thousands of learners at a time, and while some common types of assessments scale very easily, others face significant hurdles. A particular concern for the cartographic educator is the extent to which original map designs can be evaluated in a massive open online course (MOOC). Based on our experiences in teaching one of the first MOOCs on cartography, we explore the ways in which very large collections of original map designs can be assessed. Our methods include analysis of peer grades and qualitative feedback, visual techniques to explore design methods, and quantitative comparison between expert ratings and peer grades. The results of our work suggest key challenges for teaching cartography at scale where instructors cannot provide individual feedback for every student.


cartographic education, MOOCs, online learning, peer assessment

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