Student opinions of higher GIS Programs education

In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, college students across the country have expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of online classes. Many plan to withhold tuition payments, while others are demanding partial refunds. Students are questioning the quality of education because they feel shortchanged with their online classes. 

The “new normal”

Today, all higher education administrators are scrambling to adapt to this new normal.  It has been a period of fast decision making, which has not been easy. Many institutions will not be able to go back to pre-pandemic enrollment levels and continue course deliveries in a business-as-usual basis.  They will be forced to reimagine how they deliver education.

Dissatisfaction in higher education

Aside from the wide dissatisfaction with online learning, students are expressing further concern over higher education in general. A geography student from San Diego State University states, “There’s a lack of software development being taught for GIS and that’s a very important part of the industry. I haven’t had any experience programming or using GIS, which is important in the real world”. Students are not receiving the needed skills and as the job market tightens up, it makes it more difficult for recent graduates to secure a job. In the case of geography students, it’s worth getting a GIS graduate certificate to gain needed hands-on skills. This can open up doors to many fields such as geospatial programming as well as a wider range of jobs in GIS.

Poor undergraduate experiences

Other students report that their undergraduate experience has not adequately prepared them for the real world. In a survey from McGraw Hill Education, only 40% of college graduates feel prepared to pursue a career with their degree. If administrators would survey their clients, students and families, they will see that micro credentialing in hard skills like enterprise GIS will be popular. With our schools temporarily shifting to online platforms, what are your thoughts on the traditional higher education system?

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