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We often get asked “I’d like my students, staff or faculty to use ArcGIS Pro, what is the best way to distribute the download/executable to them”? This applies to any other Esri application that needs to be downloaded and installed, such as CityEngine, ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcMap, etc. There are a few ways to accomplish this, and our recommendation is to use your institutional file share system. In addition, as of the April 2020 release of ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro can now be downloaded directly from ArcGIS Online from a user's Profile page>My Settings>Licenses. This could be an option just for the ArcGIS Pro executable.  


Using your institutional file share system method also applies for distributing licenses/single use provisioning files, however, this depends on the application.


The recommended way of licensing ArcGIS Pro is through a named user account in an ArcGIS Online organization, even in lab environments. 


If you are licensing ArcMap, since named user licensing is not available for ArcMap, please share the same single use license file with everyone (which times out in 1 year), via your institution's shared file system. Please avoid ordering 1-year individual EVA software codes for your students when licensing ArcMap. We are moving away from them. Sharing a single license file is a preferred method and it alleviates administrative hassles. 


  •      Use your institution’s file share system – this could be Box, Google Drive, shared drives, whatever method is typically used to distribute files. Advantages are:
    •      One location for accessing the executables that can be used by everyone in the organization (this makes it easy for ArcGIS administrators, instructors and students).
    •      It can be behind the same single-sign-on (SSO) as your ArcGIS Online organization, LMS or other business systems – makes it easy for students, staff and faculty to simply login with their known enterprise credentials and download.
    •      Potentially faster download speed.


  •      Use My Esri – this could be an involved process if one wants to provide Download access to many students, staff and faculty. We generally discourage it for the reasons below – and of course exceptions apply.
    •      This involves an invitation to My Esri initiated by the administrator.
    •      Depending on whether the My Esri account is already in the system, there may be additional interaction to Request Permission (for Downloads in this case).
    •      There are a couple of notification emails that would go out to students, staff, faculty who are being given those permissions, such as “your permissions request has been received”, or “your request has been approved” notifications.
    •      This can be burdensome for administrators (to have to manage the requests), for instructors (to have to instruct their students where to go to download), and for students (to have to navigate My Esri to get to downloads).
    •      From Administrator standpoint, this does not scale well for increased number of users.


  •      Use trial downloads – we discourage this method, as it has students creating additional accounts that can be confusing with any other My Esri or ArcGIS Online accounts they already have. In addition, the purpose of ArcGIS trials is not meant to be for student use, rather, for Esri customers to evaluate products for purchase. 

Feel free to share feedback.

My new article in Geospatial World magazine is entitled Why GIS in Education Matters.  My goal was to reach a global audience of readers through this magazine with a message that they would be able to take to their own communities, schools, colleges, and universities to encourage the deepening and widening of spatial thinking through GIS in those educational institutions, and beyond those institutions, to libraries, museums, and after-school clubs and university clubs.  I begin the article with a reminder and a brief history of why mapping has long been valued.   I then discuss the chief reasons why GIS merits inclusion as a framework and a toolset, not just in GIS programs, but in sociology, mathematics, geography, engineering, health, business, environmental, planning, and other programs and subjects.  I focus on how using GIS as an instructional tool opens the door to inquiry, content, skills, and perspectives. 


After reviewing the progress of how GIS is used in education around the world, the article returns to the essentials:  GIS is a powerful tool for analyzing the whys of where, and for understanding our changing Earth:  Students use GIS to understand that the Earth is changing, think scientifically and analytically about why it is changing, and dig deeper:  Should the Earth be changing in these ways?  Is there anything that I should be doing or could be doing about it?  This captures the heart of spatial thinking, inquiry and problem-based learning.  It empowers students as they become decision-makers to make a difference in this changing world of ours.


It is my hope that the article will be useful to many throughout the educational system, to geomentors, to GIS professionals, and beyond. 

GIS in education - Photos by Joseph Kerski

All photos by Joseph Kerski.

Esri Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 MOOC News


Change is afoot! I want to update you about changes to how you register for our courses and the latest course schedule. That map above? It's one of the maps you make in the Cartography. MOOC. 


Registration: Smoother than Ever


Esri MOOCs are now managed like other Esri training courses. You’ll find them in the Esri training catalog. Here’s a link for MOOCs by date


Once signed in to Esri training site with your Esri credentials, you can find your course and register with a single click. I encourage you to check which e-mail address is associated with your Esri credentials. Many e-mails sent to MOOC students bounce due to inactive e-mail addresses. Most individuals can review and change your e-mail address by clicking on your name at the top right to open the menu and then selecting Profile and Settings. If you are part of an ArcGIS Online organization you may need to contact your organization’s administrator.


Remember that registration closes at the end of the second week of each course. We cannot enroll students after registration closes. My advice: when in doubt, register! There are no downsides to registering: it’s free and no notation is ever made on your training record unless you complete the course. If you do not start the MOOC or complete only part of it, the MOOC will simply disappear from your My Schedule page after it closes.


System Check


Earth Imagery at Work and Cartography. require ArcGIS Pro. All students registered for those courses should have a computer that can run the software. MOOC students are provided with software and a named user license; the license is revoked when the course closes.Here’s a test to see if your computer can run ArcGIS Pro


2018 Third and Fourth Quarter MOOCs


Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps: Sept 5 – Oct 3, 2018 (four weeks; all content opens on the first day)


John Shramek, who helped develop and has been teaching The Location Advantage MOOC, will teach this offering. While much of the course has not changed and focuses on building apps without any programming, John enhanced the exercises to introduce students to Survey 123 and Operations Dashboard.


Cartography.: Sept 5 – Oct 17, 2018 (six weeks; new content opens each week)


This is the second offering of the course from Ken Field, Edie Punt, John Nelson, Wes Jones and Nathan Shephard. Student feedback suggests this course, which highlights ArcGIS Pro’s cartographic features, is also a great introduction to the software.


Earth Imagery at Work: Oct 31 - December 12, 2018 (six weeks; new content opens each week)

Kevin Butler leads students through scenarios highlighting how imagery is used in a variety of disciplines including disaster response, agriculture and commercial business. Students are often surprised at how many imagery exploitation tools are available in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro.


2019 First and Second Quarter MOOCs



Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps: February 6 - March 6, 2019 (four weeks; all content opens on the first day)


Cartography.: April 10 - May 23, 2019 (six weeks; new content opens each week)


Earth Imagery at Work: April 10 - May 23, 2019 (six weeks; new content opens each week)




The training site includes MOOC Common Questions and a form where you can ask specific questions. 


Educators can contact me directly via GeoNet or e-mail at


I’ll see you in class!


Adena Schutzberg

MOOC Program Manager

The 2018-19 school year marks the third year for Esri's "ArcGIS Online Competition for High School and Middle School Students." It is also the second year for Esri's "Teacher Video Challenge." Both "tests" deserve serious consideration.


The student competition offers a lot of opportunity. In participating states, students (singly or as a team of two) do research and submit a presentation in the form of a Story Map or other web app. This can be done as part of school or outside of school (e.g. individually or through a club), but gets submitted through the school (high school for grades 9-12, middle school for grades 4-8). A school can submit up to five entries to the state, which chooses up to five each HS+MS projects to receive $100. These ten get national recognition, and one each at HS+MS get entered into a final competition, and a trip to Esri's User Conference in San Diego, CA, to present to GIS users from around the world.


School Competition diagram

The teacher challenge lets K12 educators describe their use of ArcGIS Online. Teachers create and share their own one-minute video as an entry, and Esri chooses one story per month for a more in-depth video interview, with a $500 honorarium. This collection shows the breadth of content areas, grade levels, teaching styles, school environments, and implementation strategies through which teachers can engage ArcGIS Online. Past awardees range from more traditional to decidedly non-traditional situations, but all teachers demonstrate real craftsmanship as educators.


Teacher Video Challenge awardees

ArcGIS Online has vast capacity, but even at its most basic it can be enormously powerful. In both the student and teacher challenges, what matters is implementation. It's far more impressive doing powerful things with basic tools than basic things with powerful tools. Learners and leaders who understand their focus area deeply make impact. See how by looking at the collection of student winners and teacher challenge awardees. Then plan your entries!

The Esri MOOC team has transferred the certificates  of completion earned during 2014-2017 from the Udemy platform to the Esri training website. MOOC students can visit their My Learning Activity page and sign in with their Esri credentials to view them.


Our programmers transferred nearly 30,000 certificates, but some are not yet linked to the correct student's Learning Activity page. If you believe a certificate for an Esri MOOC you completed on the Udemy platform is missing from your page, contact us via the form at the bottom of this page. Please include your name, your username and the name and date of the course. We'll find it and add it to your page.


In addition to printing the PDF certificates, the MOOC team encourages educators and students to link to them from CVs, resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles via their unique public URLs. For example, here’s the certificate for the first Esri MOOC I completed back in 2016. 



We look forward to awarding more certificates of completion in the third and fourth quarters of 2018!

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