“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” This Confucian philosophy served as a guide for Mason Professor Arie Croituro and instructional designer Katrina Joseph as they developed an online section of GGS 680 Earth Image Processing.
Earth image processing refers to the manipulation of digital images using computer algorithms, or step-by-step procedures for calculations. Rather than relying on typical ready-made software programs for running the image processing algorithms, GGS 680 online students learn to develop their own software tools using Matlab. Students are more likely to gain a comprehensive understanding by simultaneously doing the programming and learning algorithms.
Recognizing that concurrently learning algorithms and programming could be a challenge for students, Professor Croituro created 70 instructional videos. In these videos, he sought to anticipate and address roadblocks that students at any level may have. All 70 videos are posted on youtube.com and are available to students at any time.
As demonstrated by these videos, a major benefit of online learning is the unfettered student access to instructional materials. Course analytics show that last semester, on average, each GGS 680 online student reviewed every video roughly 2.3 times.
The 70 videos can be divided into two categories – “theories and tools” and “tutorial and hints”. A fundamental theories and tools video is included in each of the 15 weekly modules. Once students grasp the theories, they are expected to complete lab assignments on Matlab. They are given a model to follow for solving each lab assignment in the “tutorial and hints” videos.
The “tutorial and hints” videos utilize interactive teaching software which simulates a face-to-face teacher’s instruction on a whiteboard. Students can watch Professor Croituro write out steps of algorithms as he verbally describes the process. The tutorials are divided into digestible segments based on the amount of time that research indicates students can focus on instructional videos. Most course videos also include a variety of music to keep students engaged and transcripts for students who learn better by reading.
One student noted, “I found the lab tutorials to be extremely helpful in understanding the code writing process and understanding the concepts taught weekly.” He also mentioned that the course pushed him to explore further than he would normally attempt and thus was a bit intimidating at first. However, he had an important realization after learning the basics of coding – “It is not as scary as I thought and I should not second guess myself,” he said.
GGS 680 online challenges students to do something they may not normally attempt. They aren’t left to do it alone though. Register today for GGS 680 online and you will find that Professor Croituro will virtually be by your side every step of the way, guiding you to a deep understanding of earth image processing.