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Maps & Geospatial: ArcGIS Online

This guide provides an introduction to using ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS Online enables the creation of web maps, web applications, and geospatial analysis projects to communicate with broad audiences related to spatial topics.

For Instructors: Integrating into Classroom Assignments

This website includes examples of approaches for incorporating maps and geospatial information and software using into university-level classroom assignments. These approaches and examples can be modified to fit into specific assignment goals and discipline content.

The examples can apply to individual or group assignments.

Sample topics:

  • Selecting a topic of own interest/class relevance to gather narrative text, media, images, video, and include map content
  • Map content can be created within the Story Map application or within ArcGIS Online to include in the StoryMap
  • Map content examples related to map tour options and express maps can be used within the Story Map application without prior experience with Story Maps or ArcGIS Online

Sample learning objectives for assignments

These sample learning objectives represent a selection of possible learning objectives instructors may want to consider in relation to their classroom assignment. Consider additional learning objectives in relation to class specific goals and outcomes.

  • Develop geographic content related places of interest from texts and/or supplemental datasets
  • Integrate media, narrative, and map content in on online storytelling platform
  • Identify geospatial content for location or region of interest
  • Identify geospatial content for topic or theme of interest
  • Synthesize geospatial content for location or topic together
  • Visualize geospatial content related to location data and/or geographic areas
  • Analyze geospatial content to identify trends and make inferences

Sharing options for ArcGIS Online content and ArcGIS StoryMaps

  • Instructors can determine whether ArcGIS StoryMap content is to be shared primarily within the Penn State ArcGIS Online account within a class group, the Penn State ArcGIS Online Account organization, and/or publicly available to be linked from other content and viewable/usable by general users.  
  • ArcGIS Online Group Information: Any user is able to create groups within ArcGIS Online and add members to the group. For groups to have the ability for content to be shared to the group for collaborative editing (multiple member editing option), contact a Penn State ArcGIS Online organizational account administrator. This enables any member to the group that shares content to the group to be able to edit content within the group. This group editing option is needed for multiple individuals to be able to edit a StoryMap. However, unlike other web applications with multiple co-authors editing at the same time, a similar option is not present in the StoryMap application. 

Individual and Group Assignment Examples

Example: Individual ArcGIS Story Maps

An introductory language class of 25-35 students are completing an ArcGIS StoryMap individually related to international tourist locations. A class group can be created by the instructor and students can share ArcGIS Online StoryMap applications, along with associated web maps to the class group for viewing and review by class instructor and classmates.  

Example: Group ArcGIS Story Maps

An upper-level health and human development class of 30 students are completing an ArcGIS StoryMap related to international regional demographics and health topics. A Penn State ArcGIS Online organizational account administrator creates a class group with group editing enabled by all members of the ArcGIS Online group. Students can locate this group via searching for the group within the ArcGIS Online account and request to join and the group managers (instructor) approves. An alternative approach is for the group manager (instructor) to add the members to the class group.