GEO592 UAV-Based Field Research first offered Fall 2017(offered every Fall thereafter as GGY429/529: Aerial drone applications in the geosciences)
The UAV-Based Field Research course will prepare students with the basic tools to go from drone to product. The class covers basics of remote sensing and photogrammetry, small UAS rules and regulations as per the Federal Aviation Administration, the hands-on operating procedures to get 3 different types of UAVs flying and collecting data and basics of data processing post-flight. Stay tuned for photos of this semester's experiences in the field and more!
GGY 281 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (Fall 2013, Spring 2014 and every semester thereafter)
EVS281 is an applied class that provides a hands-on overview of vector and raster data models, basic geoprocessing and geosptial analysis and intro to field (GPS) data collection techniques. Since I am very keen on applied learning experiences and I have recently collaboratively secured funding from the UNCW eTEAL center, I have been incorporating more and more field mapping and data collection components into my EVS281 course. The images above were captured during the Fall 2014 UNCW forest trails mapping applied learning experience during which students were divided into groups and they mapped all the trails in the UNCW campus forest using Trimble Juno SB GPS devices and Lenovo tablets running ArcPad and paired with GPS devices. Each semester offers a different applied learning experience in this class!
GGY480/GGY 592 The Human Footprint on the Landscape (Spring 2014), renamed GGY435 Environmental Geography in the future
The Human Footprint class is a socio-environmental immersion into understanding impacts humans have had on the natural environment, ranging from changes in the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, cryosphere.
During Spring 2014, we had an amazing group of students who worked very passionately on creating a Prezi of human impacts on basins worldwide that are experiencing different degrees of conflict around water resources allocation (click to follow link). Using existing databases, online mapping resources, and current literature, we explored water-related conflicts and delved into the hydro-climatic, geomorphologic, and biotic characteristics of large river basins, including the Colorado, Usumacinta (Guatemala), the Nile, the Orange (South Africa), the Aral Sea (Syr Darya and Amu Darya), the Pearl River (China), the Murray-Darling (Australia) and the Solomon Islands watersheds. Our main goal was to explore current cooperative water management strategies in the face of global climate change and to understand how humans have been modifying these specific river basins and, ultimately, to extract some lessons learned and ones in progress. This class also resulted in the presentation of a poster entitled "H2Oh No!: Rebalancing the Water and Political Power Equation", presented at the Center of Support of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Undergraduate Showcase. University of North Carolina Wilmington. April 2014.
GGY480/GGY592 Water Resources: Science and Policy (Fall 2014, every other Fall afterwards)
In this applied learning course, we use the latest scientific understanding to analyze issues of water availability, access, allocation and scarcity from a hydrologic, legal, socio-economic, political and management perspective. Students complete a series of watershed explorations meant to immerse them sequentially into multifarious aspects of water resources science, policy, management and emerging issues. These weekly explorations culminate in a term project that is presented in a multi-media fashion. The class also includes guest speakers, a water privatization debate, a fieldtrip to the water and wastewater treatment plants in the Wilmington NC area (photos above), and other applied learning components.
GGY473 Regional and Environmental Land Use Planning (Spring 2015, every other Fall afterwards)
This applied learning course aims to equip students with a broad knowledgebase primarily focused on landscape components and processes. Throughout the semester, students develop the necessary land use analysis and management skills in order to help guide land use decision-making, stakeholders engagement processes, and minimize/mitigate conflict between natural and built systems in an effort to produce more sustainable land use patterns and plans. Specifically, students select a region, assess the historical and present environmental and land use planning conditions, and conduct research on a projected or potential future land use or environmental planning issue using acquired land use plans, spatially-explicit databases and GIS modeling and other appropriate resources and methods, including stakeholder phone or in-person interviews. Below are some examples of original projects that resulted from our Spring 2015 class that were presented by GGY473 students at the UNCW Spring Research Symposium.
GGY 522 Remote Sensing in Environmental Analysis (Spring 2016 and every spring thereafter)
This course provides an introduction to the acquisition and utilization of remotely-sensed data in geographical and environmental research. The different sensors used to collect this information along with the widely varying techniques employed to analze and display these remotely-sensed data are being developed at an astounding rate. In this course, the predominant focus will be on the interpretation and application of data from space-borne imaging systems (eg: MODIS, Landsat, SPOT, WorldView, AVHRR). The goal of this course is to facilitate students’ understanding and use of remote sensing data from a spatiotemporal perspective. Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of remote sensing principles and methods through applications in geography and environmental science. In addition, direction will be given towards how remote sensing may be applied to students’ research and towards hands-on skills for processing, analysis, display and communication of remote sensing data.
Teaching has always been a passion for me. I believe that, in the age of the ever-proliferation of information, the role of educators is rapidly changing. Our main task goes beyond showing students how to access and apply information, but rather to instill a sense of curiostiy and cognitive dissonance in how they conceptualize the world. This ultimately leads to the best learning experiences for our students, preparing them to be critically-thinking citizens of the planet. I directly involve students, both undergraduate and graduate, in applied projects and facilitate their active participation in various stages of research, thus hoping to contribute creating useful and unforgettable experiences throughout their college or graduate career.
I always strive to present the larger implications for any given topic and my work and research experience in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia become precious in presenting a variety of contexts and situational examples. I believe the classroom setting should be both strict and fun; that the teacher should be willing to help and always encourage student initiative. Finally, I believe that the way we educate younger generations is of utmost importance in how we, as a global community, will be able to address the global challenges we are facing with global climate change and its associated impacts, especially in the water resources and land management arenas. I have previously taught courses such as Introduction to Physical Geogrpahy (at Western Kentucky University and University of Florida), Data analysis (WKU), The Human Footprint on the Landscape (UF), and, during my two years at Southern Oregon University, I taught Introduction to Earth Science, Remote Sensing, Geomorphology, Water Resources, Geographic Information Science, and Sedimentology. The classes presented above are classes I am currently teaching at UNCW.