Lori Delacruz Lewis, assistant director of sustainability for education at Dallas College, created a ArcGIS Hub Intro to GIS Basic Tools for students and faculty. This resource consists of online workshops and tutorials for geographic information system (GIS) technology, aiming to spread GIS in teaching and learning throughout the curriculum in multiple departments.
This educational initiative shows the power of ArcGIS Hub to serve as a one-stop resource. The Dallas College hub site contains videos, learning objectives, lessons, two surveys (powered by ArcGIS Survey123) for learners to take before and after they work through the lessons, and more. In addition, the hub site supports the embedding of maps and apps such as dashboards, interactive maps, and custom apps from the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. The Esri education team has worked with Dallas College for many years, particularly the Brookhaven Campus’s geospatial degree and certificate programs, supporting the rigorous use of GIS in teaching and learning through site-visit advisement and online sessions. The team listens to progress and challenges and tells others about their innovations.
Sharing Ideas through ArcGIS Hub
The development of this hub site shows the power of sharing ideas. I sent Lewis a PDF document on recent professional development workshops that I had created for educators . Lewis used some resources in that document as well as her own to create a much more comprehensive and wonderful experience for her community.
To see the difference that ArcGIS Hub can make, first examine the professional development opportunity I outline for educators in a one-page PDF document, a portion of which is shown below.
This type of document is useful for anyone working through a course or in a workshop; it contains links but is a flat and not very engaging document. Compare the image above with the Dallas College hub site.
ArcGIS Hub as an Effective Communication Tool
ArcGIS Hub is a cloud-based engagement technology that enables organizations to communicate more effectively with their communities—in this case, helping Dallas College communicate with faculty and students. ArcGIS Hub can be used to aggregate and serve resources and start conversations with internal and public audiences around a specific project, topic, or goal. In this case, the goal was to help the Dallas College community learn about and engage with GIS. Inside and outside educational settings, sites created with ArcGIS Hub have sprung up by the thousands, providing ways for communities to obtain feedback from their residents, for government agencies, nonprofits, and private industry to serve spatial data; and more. The COVID-19 pandemic hastened the adoption of ArcGIS Hub as organizations realized not only the benefits of sharing and collaborating but also the critical need to start doing so, right away. See the ArcGIS Hub gallery for further inspiration.
Lewis said, “ArcGIS Hub was the perfect solution with its drag-and-drop design and built-in interactivity. My goal is to introduce faculty to the many uses of GIS across our curriculum, and I need to engage [the faculty members] in their own time and in their own space. The stresses of teaching from home for 15 months took a huge toll, so I want to create tools that faculty can visit anytime, not just during [another] Teams workshop. It’s become hugely popular, with more than 1,800 visits since it launched in June 2021! On the academic side, we’re hoping to grow our already successful GIS degree and certificate programs, led by our GIS expert, Scott Sires. “
Lewis went on to say, “I’m encouraging faculty to share the hub [site] in their classrooms since we’ll be supporting access to everyone in Dallas College beginning in January 2022. I’m also scheduling a series of student and faculty workshops through our seven campus libraries, utilizing this hub [site] as the launchpad to educate, encourage, and empower Dallas College across our curriculum.”
My colleagues and I used ArcGIS Hub to create the Mapping Hour hub site and serve videos, tutorials, and resources for parents and teachers who wanted to use ArcGIS Online in instruction. In addition to providing interactive and embedded content like Lori Delacruz Lewis’s Dallas College site the Mapping Hour hub site has provided my three teammates and me with a way that we could all collaboratively and quickly create the Mapping Hour content. Equally importantly, the hub site allows us to easily curate the content and keep it current.
How can you get started with ArcGIS Hub? Start with these guidelines and then try a few of these lessons. I invite you to use ArcGIS Hub for your own educational needs to serve as a content tool for courses and workshops—and beyond.