Educating the educator through computation: What GIS can do for computer science

John Barr, Ithaca College
Ali Erkan, Ithaca College


We designed a system where non-computational faculty members (along with undergraduates) enroll in an introductory, multidisciplinary, open source Geographic Information System (GIS) course to experience integrative learning as students. The faculty participants are subsequently required to integrate their newly acquired expertise with their own disciplinary teaching and research; the necessary time commitment is compensated by a three-credit teaching load reallocation. Our hypothesis is that increasing the general faculty's appreciation of computation (in the context of integrative learning) is an indirect yet effective and scalable way to reach a wider group of students to convey our fundamental disciplinary message: computing is more than programming and computing empowers people. © 2012 ACM.