CSCI-84IS: Geographic Information Systems

Updated 2019.01.07

Spring 2019 Syllabus


Tom Kleen, Heelan Hall 274, 279-5411,

Office Hours

Mon, Wed: 10-11; Tue, Thu: 2-3; Fri: 9-10



Textbook (required)

The textbook is GIS Tutorial Basic Workbook 1 for ArcGIS 10.3.x, available in our bookstore. It comes with a trial copy of the software that you may install on a personal computer (good for 180 days). The software is also available on first two rows of computers in HH112 only (we have a lab license, not a site license). You can also get an activation code from me to install it on your personal computer.

Course Learning Outcomes

The objectives for this class are:

1.    Learn mapping software as a tool in the research and analysis of many human interests.

2.    Learn how to use the basic functions of ArcMap (drawing maps).

3.    Learn how to use the basic functions of ArcCatalog (working with data).

4.    Learn how to draw useful maps.


I expect you to:

1.    Be honest.

2.    Do assigned readings and tutorials.

3.    Attend class every day and arrive on time.

4.    Complete the assignments on time.

Evaluation methods

Weekly homework assignments, an end-of-term project, and a final test.


Your grade will be based on:

1.    Homework assignments (50%)

2.    Chapter Tutorials (15%)

3.    Project (15%)

4.    Final test (20%)

5.    The following grading scale will be used:
























We will have two weekly hands-on assignments. Assignments must be on time. The drop box closes at class time on the due date. If you do not get the assignment in the drop box before it closes, you will not be able to hand it in and you will receive a 0. Each student is allowed one late assignment. The late assignment must be put in the Late Assignments drop box before the next assignment is due.


We will have one test at the end of the semester. Before missing class on the day of a test, you must clear it with me before the test, and you must have a very serious reason for missing the test. If you are sick, you will need a note from the school nurse or a doctor. If you miss a test without clearing it beforehand, you will receive a 0 for that test. Leaving a voice-mail or an email without a reply is not considered clearing it beforehand. You must talk to me.

Course withdrawal

Withdrawal deadline before the institution of penalty grading is April 2. After the withdrawal deadline students may withdraw, but will receive a penalty grade of WP (withdrawal passing) or WF (withdrawal failing). Withdrawals are not permitted during finals week.


I expect you to be here every day. See attendance, test, and homework policies. Print out this document, sign it, and hand it in next class.

Administrative withdrawal policy

Students who do not attend class for two consecutive calendar weeks are subject to administrative withdrawal.

Title IX Educational Act

Info on the BCU Sexual Harassment policy.

Academic Honesty

Homework is an individual activity, and each student is expected to turn in an original work. "Working together" is not allowed. Do not give your assignment to another student so that he can "see how it is done". Any student found turning in work which is not his or hers, or sharing work with another student will be failed for the course. If you are having problems completing homework assignments, please see me for help. I am usually in my office when I am not in class and frequently check my email. There is no such thing as "extra credit."

Disability Statement

Persons with disabilities who need accommodations should initially contact Jeanene Sampson (Heelan Hall-108 or 712-279-5562) to discuss needs. Documentation of the disability is required.


The instructor retains the right to clarify and/or to emend the contents of the syllabus, provided that students are given reasonable and timely notice of such adjustments.

Course Schedule

We meet Fridays at 10:00 a.m. The time for the final test is on our home page.

Cell phones & other electronic devices

Please keep cell phone usage out of the classroom. It is considered a nuisance in a business situation for private cell phone usage to interfere with the work environment; the same rule applies to the learning environment.

Cell phones should be turned off or set to silent upon entering the classroom. If there are medical or other reasons leave your phone turned on, let your instructor know at the beginning of class. Phones ringing during class are disruptive to the other students in the class.

Computer use during lectures

You may use your computer during a lecture for the purpose of taking notes. You may use your phone for purposes described by the instructor. You may not use the computer to play games, surf the Internet, email, IM, tweet, etc.