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GEOG 570 - Capstone in Spatial Data Science

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.

Overview

This course is the culminating experience in the MS in Spatial Data Science (SDS). The course includes a semester project that requires students to demonstrate their ability to apply advanced knowledge, skills, and Spatial Data Science principles to make a substantial contribution to research in Spatial Data Science. Students will collaborate to iteratively develop and refine project topics, methods, and solutions. Students are oriented with a review of research methods, public presentation strategies, and scholarly communication skills. Students will meet weekly milestones throughout the semester, engage in peer review meetings, and receive guidance from their instructor.

Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop and investigate a project that applies spatial data science principles to make a substantial contribution to research in Spatial Data Science.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in spatial data science to define a problem and implement an analytical solution to address challenges within a domain.
  3. Demonstrate the technical and analytical competencies required to effectively design, manage, and apply spatial, analytical and visual technologies to create a solution to a challenge in spatial data science scientific research
  4. Collaborate with peers and content experts to advance ideas, designs, data analysis, and findings in a spatial data science scientific study
  5. Communicate spatial data quality and spatial analysis technical knowledge, including ideas, designs, data analysis, findings, and/or decision justification in a publication-worthy manuscript 
     

Required Materials

The materials listed here represent those that may be included in this course. Students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.

In order to take this course, you need to have the required course materials listed below.  Some of the materials needed for this course are presented in Canvas. To access the online materials, you need to have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password. If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact the Help Desk: https://www.it.psu.edu/support/.

Required Textbooks: *Note these are available for free through the PSU library*

Booth, Wayne C., et al. The Craft of Research, Third Edition, University of Chicago Press, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/pensu/detail.action?docID=432155.

Schimel, Joshua. Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded, Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/pensu/detail.action?docID=845932.

De Smith, M., et al. 2021. Geosptial Analysis: A comprehensive Guide (6th edition). https://www.spatialanalysisonline.com/HTML/index.html

Software

The software and data used will be specific to students’ research projects. 

Prerequisites

Completion of the Spatial Data Science workshop.

Expectations

We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 12 – 15 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

  1. Class discussion participation & peer assessment activities: 10%
  2. Project description and literature review document: 15%
  3. Exploratory Data Analysis & workflow document: 15%
  4. Project proposal paper: 20%
  5. Final Paper Draft: 20%
  6. Final project scholarly paper: 20%

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
WeekTopicAssignment
1Research QuestionWrite one paragraph supported with one key reference explaining a research question that makes a substantial contribution to research in Spatial Data Science
2 - 3Literature Review

Conduct a literature review and write a critical evaluation of literature and how it advances the research question.

Complete a literature review of a minimum of 10 references.

Revise research question

4Data Exploration

Identify data, identify needed pre-processing and/or data transformations, explore distributional and spatial characteristics.

Write an exploratory spatial data analysis report

5 - 6Project Proposal

Write a proposal that includes an introduction and proposed methodology supported by literature.

Develop a workplan for the remainder of the term. 

7Peer-to-Peer Presentation

Collaborate with a 2-3 person group to meet in a zoom room.

Develop and present a 7 minute presentation

Post to the Discussion forum a summary of key advice from each group member

8 - 9Data Analysis, Part 1

Begin conducting data analysis

Prepare a document listing goals of analysis, methods employed, and visualization of results

Meet with instructor in remote zoom meeting.

10 - 11Data Analysis, Part 2

Begin conducting data analysis

Prepare a document listing goals of analysis, methods employed, and visualization of results

Meet with instructor in remote zoom meeting.

12 - 13Prepare Final Paper

Implement edits from the project proposal

Add additional sections on results including key figures, maps, graphs, and tables, and discussion including supporting literature.

14Peer-to-Peer presentations

Collaborate with a 2-3 person group to meet in a zoom room.

Develop and present a 7 minute presentation

Post to the Discussion forum a summary of key advice from each group member

15 - 16Paper Revisions

Implement revisions from final paper draft

Add any final formatting