Open source content management as a basis for community-engaged web mapping - Glenn Brauen

Open source content management as a basis for community-engaged web mapping and experiential learning (2021 Canadian Cartographic Association Confernce )
Presenter: Glenn Brauen

In recent years, post-secondary educators have increasingly expanded student learning experiences integrating community engagement, the application of discipline-specific objectives, and the development of competencies. Adopting an experiential lens within geographic curricula, learning is enhanced when students are encouraged to consider models and their experiences and understandings of places represented in those models, critically comparing and contrasting the two.

Community engagement provides such opportunities as students apply their knowledge and skills to topics identified as important outside of their campus context but experiential learning can be designed in a variety of ways. Experiential learning attempts to juxtapose concepts and direct experiences and encourage the adaptation of those concepts through experimentation and reflective observation (Kolb 2015). Geography and web mapping provide excellent disciplinary foundations for just such engagements.

This presentation will provide an overview of an open source, rich multimedia web mapping platform designed to support experiential learning or community-integrated learning exercises, focusing on platform features that support course-based exercises. Based on Drupal, a flexible, widely-used web content management system, the software supports complex information models, a variety of data types, multimedia attachments, relationships between information elements, and flexible search and information display capabilities.

The Drupal community has developed a number of extensions to the software to store geographic information and to create interactive web maps showing subsets of application content. Other system features useful for tuning a web mapping site for use in a course include fine-grained, role-based access permissions; controls that allow students to keep their work unpublished within the web site while still allowing instructor access for marking purposes; and revision control for all content created on the site.

This presentation will show a demonstration system and will discuss ongoing work and future prospects for the project. Work referenced: Kolb, D. A. (2015) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson FT Press.
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