How do you use ArcGIS Online in higher education?

Discussion created by KatyAppletonUEA on Aug 10, 2015
Latest reply on Sep 16, 2015 by KatyAppletonUEA

I'm really interested to hear from anyone making use of ArcGIS Online at university level, especially for geography or related subjects.


I have used it for 'showcase' type purposes, illustrating the power of GIS to students and prospective students. Here it's great as you can very quickly do things such as travel time and viewshed, and get discuss-able results. What I'm trying to do now is get it into use as an analytical/investigative tool for answering questions within more specific teaching, but I'm finding it pretty limited.


For example, I have a lab exercise where students have water samples from given locations (widely spread across the UK) to analyse. They then try to relate them back to local geology. There are several variants of the freely-available UK geological map that I can add in to AGOL, but they are all essentially just colours - there is no legend, and you cannot query the map features. So, while AGOL means we can work out watersheds very nicely, they can't find out what a particular location's rock type is, which stops the exercise dead in its tracks.


Another example is that the ESRI UK education team have made deprivation data available through AGOL, which is great. I thought it would be interesting to compare this to travel time to various locations/facilities. Students can summarise the travel time results within the deprivation areas, but beyond that (as far as I can tell) they can only do a visual comparison of the layers (highly dependent on symbolisation) when what would be better at this level is a scatter graph plotting one against the other.


Am I approaching things from the wrong direction, expecting AGOL to do Desktop things? Are there other things that AGOL does really well for this kind of teaching that I am missing?