GGP450 Internship in GIS

for S2T 2013

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Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


GGP 450 Internship in GIS


S2T 2013 DL


Fox, David P.


Assistant Professor of Geography


(PhD candidate [ABD] Geography, University of Kansas)
MA Geography, University of Missouri, 2001
BA Geography, University of Missouri, 1993

Office Location

Parkville Campus: Findlay-Wakefield Science Hall (SC), Room 004

Office Hours

M/W 12:00-1:30; T/R 9:00-11:30; or by appointment

Daytime Phone



Web Page

Semester Dates

March 18 - May 12, 2013

Class Days

As determined with the Internship Supervisor at the sponsoring institution

Class Time

As determined with the Internship Supervisor at the sponsoring institution


Permission of the instructor (Ideally student should have completed GGP350 and GGP355)

Credit Hours



Required: Managing Geographic Information Systems (2nd Edition), by Nancy J. Obermeyer and Jeffrey K. Pinto.
Guilford Press, 2008.
ISBN: 1-59385-635-0

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

Students are encouraged to utilize ESRI's virtual classroom and potentially complete some of their online courses as deemed appropriate with the guidance of their Internship Supervisor and/or the Instructor.  Many of these courses are free and can be completed in a short period of time.  See for details.

The student is also strongly encouraged to ask his/her supervisor about GIS books or user resources which they may recommend and to obtain these, if deemed appropriate, in consultation with the instructor.  In addition, students are encouraged to investigate possible books available by various publishers that are closely related to the type of work done at the student's cooperating organization for the GIS internship.  ESRI Press, in particular(, has many books available that contain exercises and information about using ArcGIS software in a wide variety of industry fields.

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Course Description:

GGP450 Internship in GIS: The student arranges to work in a professional environment. Internship duties will be based on the needs of the cooperating business/organization. Prior to the beginning of the internship experience, the student and the students intended job supervisor must jointly prepare an internship proposal specifying the objectives to be accomplished. The proposal must be submitted to the instructor and approved before any internship work takes place. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor, student
should have completed GGP350 and GGP355.  3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

As an internship experience, this is a fundamentally different type of course than a traditional lecture-based one. Regardless of whether this was being conducted as either a “face-to-face” or strictly “online” course, there would be no regular class meetings for “lecture.” Instead, the primary learning period for each week is the time during which you are logging internship work hours at the cooperating organization (typically, 15 hours per week over an 8 week period). Thus, in many respects this is essentially an independent study course during which you are expected to learn the practical application of GIS concepts and skills as well as perform meaningful GIS-related work for a business, organization, or governmental agency under the guidance and direction of an approved supervisor who works for the organization. 

Since the particular knowledge and skills that you will be expected to gain during this course are primarily dependent upon the needs of that organization, much of the specific information obtained by each student will be highly individualized. Furthermore, since the internship supervisor will be the person who is most knowledgeable of the specific skills and information that you must know in order to successfully complete the tasks/projects assigned during the internship experience, he/she effectively serves as the direct instructional resource person for the course. The faculty instructor, therefore, largely serves as an indirect instructional resource person for the student. While the instructor will gladly assist with responding to questions from the student pertaining to the internship work, the supervisor is the primary individual with whom you will work most closely in order to ensure that you are learning the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the assigned projects/tasks for the cooperating organization.  

With all of the above in mind, it is important to understand that there are some common goals and outcomes that can be gained regardless of the specifics of the internship experience. Each student enrolled in this course should learn a great deal from the “on-the-job” experience about how to evaluate GIS tasks and activities, from a job management perspective, as well as the expectations and responsibilities that are entailed in being a GIS professional. Therefore, the assigned readings and discussion activities are included to provide a common base from which to direct and develop these more general goals for the course.  

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply GIS concepts and skills to "real-world" problems and situations.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to make maps and other documents using GIS software to the satisfaction of an approved internship supervisor.
  3. Evaluate the GIS tasks and activities performed in a work environment using terminology and concepts appropriate to the field.
Class Assessment:

A minimum of 120 clock hours of internship work experience at an approved institution must be completed.  If the required minimum number of work hours is not verified by the supervisor, the student's final grade will be reduced by 5% for each hour that the student is short.

Internship Proposal Form – The student must submit the internship proposal form (see attachment below), which contains a summary of the purpose/rationale for the internship position and a list of the specific objectives to be accomplished.  The form must be developed jointly by the student and his/her supervisor on the first day that the student reports to the cooperating organization to log internship clock hours and must be submitted to the instructor for approval no later than Friday of week 1.  Worth 4% of the course grade.

Daily Work Journals – The student is expected to use the “Journal” page provided under each weekly section of the course website to keep a journal (i.e., “log book”) summarizing the activities and work performed on each day that you log work hours for the internship.  You should post a new entry (i.e., response) on this page at the conclusion of each internship work day. The purpose of the journal entries is threefold: 1) To keep the instructor posted on the particulars of your internship progress to date, 2) To help enhance your daily learning by asking you to recite what you have done to others (i.e., the instructor and potentially other students), and 3) To provide you with a set of notes from which you can draw upon at the conclusion of the course as you reflect back on your experience for the Core Assessment. Your posts will be checked by the instructor at the conclusion of every 2-week period for a total of 8 journal scores for the course. See the grading rubric in the course website for additional details on the requirements of these posts.  Worth 32% of the course grade (4% for each week).

Weekly Discussions – The student is expected to participate in weekly discussions as indicated in the course website. The discussion questions are designed to facilitate the student’s ability to connect the required textbook reading with his/her internship experiences.  The purpose of the discussion posts is to promote understanding of the various issues involved in working within the GIS field as well as encourage interaction and shared learning among the students enrolled in the course. See the grading rubric in the course website for additional details on the requirements of these posts.  Worth 16% of the course grade (2% for each week).

Supervisor Evaluations – The instructor will arrange with the student’s internship supervisor to complete a brief evaluation form during the midterm and final weeks (4 & 8). The purpose of the evaluations is to ensure that the student is satisfactorily meeting the needs and performance expectations of the supervisor and the cooperating organization. Unsatisfactory ratings by the internship supervisor will affect the amount earned for each of the evaluations (see grading rubric in the course website for details). Worth 8% of the course grade (4% for each evaluation).

Work Portfolio (Core Assessment, Part 1) – The student must submit an electronic "portfolio" using the Dropbox feature in the eCollege website for the course containing samples of the maps or other documents that he/she created during the internship work.  The student is responsible for notifying his/her supervisor early in the semester that samples of the work performed will be needed to submit to the instructor and to obtain permission from the supervisor to share these documents with the instructor.  The portfolio is due by Friday of the final week.  Worth 20% of the course grade.

Reflection Paper (Core Assessment, Part 2) – Near the conclusion of the internship, the student must write a 5-6 page paper (at least 1250 words) regarding his/her experience. The student is expected to summarize what he/she learned about the practical application and implementation of GIS in the particular area of experience, discuss specific examples of GIS concepts and skills that were utilized, evaluate the major challenges he/she encountered in performing the assigned GIS tasks, and critique his/her own performance and learning.  The paper is due by Friday of the final week and should be submitted using the Dropbox feature in the eCollege website for the course.  Worth 20% of the course grade.


The course grade is determined by weighting the number of points awarded for each assessment, which are then weighted using the percentages indicated above.  

Final grades will be based on the following percentage cutoffs: 
  A = 100-90% 
  B = 89-80% 
  C = 79-70% 
  D = 69-60%   
  F = 59% or less

SPECIAL NOTE: Any unsatisfactory ratings on the student’s final supervisor evaluation will reduce the student’s final grade by 5-10% per rating, depending upon the severity of the unsatisfactory rating.  In addition, if the required minimum of 120 internship clock hours is not verified by the supervisor, the student’s final grade will be reduced by 5% for each hour that the student is short.  

Late Submission of Course Materials:

The student is responsible for completing assigned internship projects/tasks by any deadlines that are given by his/her supervisor at the cooperating organization.  Failure to do so will most likely result in unsatisfactory ratings by the supervisor, which will in turn lower your final grade.

Daily Journals and Weekly Discussions will be graded for timeliness as indicated on the grading rubrics provided in the course website for these items.  All other assessment items will be penalized by 10% for each day they are late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Students are expected to continuously challenge themselves to learn as much as possible and to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.

In addition, it is the student's responsibility to learn and fully comply with any workplace rules, policies, and expectations that the supervisor and the cooperating organization may have (i.e., dress code, e-mail usage, phone usage, etc.).  

The student will have a midterm and final evaluation completed by his/her supervisor and any unsatisfactory ratings regarding any aspect of the student's performance during the internship will reduce the student's final grade. 

The student should also be aware that he/she may be administratively withdrawn from the internship course for failing to log activity within the course website (per Park University policy) OR for repeated reports from the supervisor of severe problems with the student's attendance or performance.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:






Ch. 1 – The Continuing Need for a Management Focus in GIS

Ch. 2 – Geographic Information Science: Evolution of a Profession

Ch. 14 – Ethics for the GIS Professional

Internship Proposal Form; 

Daily Journals; 

Weekly Discussion


Ch. 3 – The Role of Geographic Information within an Organization’s IT

Ch. 4 – Keeping the G in GIS: Why Geography Still Matters

Daily Journals; 

Weekly Discussion


Ch. 5 – GIS and the Strategic Planning Process

Ch. 6 – Implementing a GIS: Theories and Practice

Daily Journals; 

Weekly Discussion


Ch. 7 – Organizational Politics and GIS Implementation

Daily Journals;

Weekly Discussion


Ch. 8 – Economic Justification for GIS Implementation

Ch. 9 – Sharing Geographic Information across Organizational Boundaries

Daily Journals; 

Weekly Discussion


Ch. 10 – Metadata for Geographic Information

Ch. 11 – Policy Conflicts and the Role of GIS: Public Participation

Ch. 13 – Legal Issues in GIS

Daily Journals; 

Weekly Discussion


Ch. 12 – Ensuring Qualifications of GIS Professionals

Daily Journals; 

Weekly Discussion


Ch. 15 – Envisioning a Future

Daily Journals; 

Weekly Discussion; 

Work Portfolio (CA, part 1);  

Reflection Paper (CA, part 2)


Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 97

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:

Internship Proposal Form due during Week 1Bibliography:


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Last Updated:3/6/2013 4:48:09 PM