Assessing Embedded Geospatial Student Learning Outcomes in Forestry and Natural Resources Curricula

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We developed an approach for assessing student learning of geospatial objectives embedded across undergraduate forestry and natural resources curricula at North Carolina State University. Our main goals were to characterize student attainment of geospatial outcomes and improve student learning based on those findings. Several instruments, including tracking questions, rubrics, questionnaires, and surveys, were used to facilitate the process. Although initial results from a longitudinal survey show a marked increase in student exposure to and awareness of geospatial tools and technologies, tracking questions, rubrics, and questionnaires show that geospatial learning is taking place below our intended performance target. These findings have allowed us to identify avenues for improving student attainment of geospatial learning outcomes, such as articulating standard geospatial objectives, improving our assignment and instructional techniques, and establishing performance standards. The assessment methods presented could be adapted to assess aspects of other curricula and courses.

Keywords: GIST; assessment; geospatial technology; learning objective; learning outcome

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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