Review Comment

[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

November 14, 2014

Gorn, Cindy
[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Cindy Gorn is a very cool person and her classroom environment is one of mutual respect between her and her students. As a result, this is not a stressful class because Cindy is very understanding.

Notice that this course is called GIS: Methods & Case Studies. I didn't really know what that meant when I enrolled, but it means that beyond learning the technical aspect of GIS, you read and discuss the process involved in making maps. It's not the most interesting thing to me, but it's definitely a respectable field that everyone can comment on in one way or another. Also, since this is an intro-level GIS class that focuses on the mapmaking process rather than purely results, if certain portions of your case studies (essentially labs) don't come out the way you intended, you only need to explain what happened.

Overall, I am very happy that I took this course and so pleased that I waited to take this with Cindy. She is adjunct professor and I don't know how long she will be around, but if you get the opportunity to take this class from her, I definitely recommend it.

Workload:

Daily readings (you should aim to read most of them especially since sometimes entire classes are dedicated to discussing them), three case studies (1 or 2 maps and a 2-page write-up), and a final project of your choosing.

October 30, 2010

Aigner, Erin
[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

this class was not "fun" like the other reviewer said (look at all the people who disagree with the review). it is hard for people who arent really computer savvy. its not really teaching you GIS. you basically have to figure out things for yourself (within a short period of time in which an assignment is due. learning under pressure is "fuuuun"). she isnt like a professor= *not a good thing* when you are learning something technical. there is the assumption in this class that everything GIS is intuitive. its really not. GIS is a bit of a clunky system. the software is installed on most computers at columbia. try it out for yourself. its not very intuitive. and this approach was very annoying as several people felt it made them feel like an idiot for asking questions.
anyways she gives you an overview and then leaves you to implement the program projects yourself during the rest of class. yes you have a book that you can follow along with but it does not tell you how to do everything. if you have done any computer programming/html its kinda like that. you mess up on one aspect or line you cant get your program to work. but instead of being something you did wrong this time it will probably be something you did not know existed and therefore did not know to click on. le grand SIGH.
She does try and care though i must say that. this is just a warning to those who think its an easy "A". you get points off if your border is too thick, your dots are too close/too far apart, or its not aesthetically pleasing enough in general etc etc. and yes that is really annoyingly subjective and you only find out about these things after marks have been deducted.

Workload:

you have short homework assignments, relatively short readings every now and then, and a larger project due at the end.

March 03, 2009

Aigner, Erin
[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

First of all this class is amazing. It doesn't even seem like a class it seems more like a very fun and completely non stressful hour and a half I spend two days a week making fun maps. I can't believe I am satisfying my math requirement with this class, the work is very straight forward and Erin offers tons of help both in class and outside. This is just one of those classes that makes me smile I'm so glad I took it instead of one of a litany of sub par math courses. Erin doesn't even seem like a professor she is more like an extremely helpful classmate, the whole environment of the class it great, lots of learning, no stress and maps!

Workload:

Written exercises due weekly that are totally doable and maps that we all work on in class and a final project. Manageable and enjoyable!

January 17, 2007

Connolly, James (TA) Silver_nugget
[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

James is great! He is extremely helpful and available if you have problems at any stage in the class. During the midterm he made labs available to the class and had office hours for days at a time so that we would be able to figure it out. He was also understanding of computer problems and issues with regards to turning things in because he knows that sometimes its hard to figure out problems with the program. By doing all of the labs and things you really are prepared to look at your own research topic for the final. GIS is also really useful for anyone interested in cities because it helps you see them in a different way. Really just a great class.

Workload:

weekly labs that take a couple hours, some reading that isn't really necessary, take home midterm that will take more time than you think so plan ahead for that, and a final project/presentation

January 05, 2006

Connolly, James (TA) Silver_nugget
[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

James was an excellent professor. He did a solid job of explaining the computer program if you just paid attention. The only people I know who had problems were people who didn't pay attention. James was also held numerous office hours - he added extra hours when people were unavailable during the initial hours offered, and during crunch times, added even more hours to compensate for the problem that arose because the program was quite tempermental. This was definitely one of those classes where the professor did more work than the students. I only have two complaints - first of all, there were too many people in the class. It also fulfilled Barnard's quantitative reasoning requirement (which it really shouldn't have), and so the class was a combination of Urban Studies majors who found the class really interesting and then people wanting to fulfil the gen ed requirement and didn't care, thus bringing down the overall excitement that students had for the class. Ideally, the class should have been capped at maybe 20 (I believe it was capped at 30, but James was a softie and left a few more people join), and it should have been limited to Urban Studies majors. Secondly, and this is more a reflection on the nature of the computer program than

Workload:

Four labs that at times required a ton of time, other labs required very little. the computer software was very tempermental, and sometime there would be issues and that would practically double the amount of time it took to do anything.
On midterm - straightforward, and pretty easy if you'd done the readings and kept track of key terms. There was supposed to be a final but it was cancelled. There was also supposed to be a 5th lab, but it was cancelled. James was very flexible with the syllabus because a number of the labs took much longer than they were supposed to because of the labs. Also, there was a final project that culminated in a presentation and a structured 10-15 page paper. James was a very fair grader and always tried to make himself available in the event that people had problems.

December 26, 2005

Connolly, James (TA) Silver_nugget
[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I took it as an elective, but I heard it's a good way to satisfy one of the pesky Urban Studies requirements. James is extremely accessible, knows his stuff really well, and made the projects/labs interesting. GIS is really powerful and a great skill to have though trying at times because of computer crashes and what not. But he went slow enough for all of us to understand the program, gave us a lot of flexibility in our final projects, and graded fairly. Highly recommend!

Workload:

4 labs on urban issues (low income housing, traditional families, poverty, historical preservation), midterm on readings & concepts, final project (10-15 page paper on a subject of your choice... we had to use census data and other info to show our stuff visually and then write up about it).

Breakdown: 40% labs, 35% final project, 25% exam (I think)

November 09, 2005

Connolly, James (TA) Silver_nugget
[URBS V3200] GIS: Methods and Case Studies

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

James is a really good professor - especially for teaching those of us that are technically unskilled a pretty complex and frustrating computer program. I signed up for this class because I think that GIS is a really good program to know how to use, and he really helped us in getting through all of the problems with the program. He is good at creating labs that allow us to approach urban issues using spatial data, and although the readings are extremely dry there is only a small coursepack that is assigned. James has done a lot of work in GIS and it was apparent that he really knew his stuff. He's also really accessible - though his office hours are pretty much the same each week since you have to reserve the GIS lab, he responds pretty quickly to e-mail. Highly recommended - especially for Urban Studies majors who have to fulfil the analysis requirement.

Workload:

5 labs (first 3 were longer than the last 2), Final Project, Midterm and Essay based on readings. Readings for some classes which are really boring but pretty short. Post something on the discussion board for each lab. Fairly graded.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies 2012 Fall TR / 10:10-11:25 AM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies James Connolly 2012 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies James Connolly 2011 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies Erin Aigner 2010 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies Erin Aigner 2010 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies Erin Aigner 2009 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies Erin Aigner 2009 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies James Connolly 2008 Fall TR / 4:10- 5:25 PM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies James Connolly 2007 Fall TR / 4:10- 5:25 PM 1
URSB / URBS URSB URBS V3200: Gis Methods & Case Studies James Connolly 2006 Fall TR / 4:10- 5:25 PM 1