GIS Certificate Online Program F.A.Q.
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1. How do I apply to Itasca? What steps do I need to take to enroll in courses?
2. I have completed a GIS course/courses at another institution. Can it be applied to the Certificate?
Yes, pending a review process. You must supply a transcript demonstrating successful completion of the course. Additional documentation may be required (i.e. a syllabus or contact name/number of who taught the course) so we can ensure consistency in content.
3. I have never taken a GIS course but have used it frequently. Can I get credit for my experience?
Yes, pending a review process. In this case, students may petition to receive credit by taking an examination on a course by course basis. For example, if you have extensive mapping experience that you feel matches the content of the course, you may wish to exercise this option. You must pay for the examination and for the credits, but the credit cost is significantly reduced. To pursue this option, contact Timothy.Fox@itascacc.edu directly for a consultation and what steps to take next.
4. Do the credits earned at ICC transfer to other institutions?
We have what are called “articulation agreements” with Bemidji State University and the University of Minnesota at Duluth. Both of these institutions accept the majority of the work completed at ICC directly towards other majors such as GIS, Geography, Land Use Planning, etc. We will also work with any other university to help explain the details of course content and their applicability if you are interested in transferring elsewhere (even outside MN). Ultimately, the transfer of credits from ICC to the receiving institution is not up to us.
5. Do the courses appear as “online” or “distance learning” on my transcript?
All courses are listed on your transcripts the same, regardless of the presentation style (i.e. “on-line”, “distance-learning” or “on-site”).
6. Is special software required and what is the cost? Where do I get it?
You will be required to use ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) ArcGIS software for most courses. ESRI is a world leader in GIS software systems and recognized by most employers. There is no cost to you. During the first week of courses, you will be provided with instructions for downloading and installing ESRI’s GIS software. You will need to install the software on your home computer or laptop to participate in most courses. The software will work for 1 year before expiring. Students who maintain enrollment and progress towards the Certificate, but proceed at a slower pace will be provided with additional instructions to keep their software license current as needed to complete the remaining coursework.
7. What are the computer specifications? Will my laptop work?
The student edition of ESRI ArcGIS software will run on a variety of Microsoft operating systems (i.e. Windows 7 & 8). The software can be run on home computers and laptops alike. You may need to update the service pack (SP) and ensure you have a recent version of internet explorer, depending on how your computer is currently configured. ESRI computer specifications.
8. Will the required software run on Mac operating systems?
Not directly. At this time, ESRI does not support a fully functional GIS for Macintosh operating systems. However, there are programs that can be installed on Mac computers that will allow the Windows based ESRI software to run on your Mac. Check out programs like Boot Camp or Windows Parallel that are designed for this explicit purpose. But please be aware that you should make this accommodation and be setup before classes begin, so you will be ready to go.
9. What textbooks are required and what is the cost? Where can I get them?
Each course will specify if a textbook will be required, the title and author of the text(s). Titles and costs are likely to vary from year to year as new editions are published. You can contact the ICC bookstore for specific information on textbook requirements and costs. You should check with the instructor first, but sometimes texts can be purchased from third party vendors (i.e. Amazon, EBay, etc.) for lower prices. See the College's Bookstore for book lists, bookstore hours and contact information.
10. How long does the Certificate take to complete? Do I need to take more than one course at a time?
The minimum amount of time it takes to complete the GIS Certificate is 1 year (3 semesters) and the most you would take is two classes (6 credits) per semester. You can, however, take one course at a time if you like and still complete the GIS Certificate within 5 semesters. Students may enter in both fall and spring semesters. See the recommended sequence of courses.
11. Can I start in either fall or spring semesters?
12. What is a typical weekly work load in hours?
For each course, you should expect to spend between 6 and 9 hours each week working on assignments, activities, projects and/or otherwise participating in the course. In an online environment, the types of activities may vary somewhat from on-site classes, but the general expectations for participation and work load are the same.
13. What is the duration of the courses?
Fall and spring semester courses span approximately 15 weeks. A 3 credit course therefore has approximately 45 “contact” hours. Summer courses are condensed into a shorter time period (8 weeks).
14. I must travel for work on a fairly regular basis. Can I still complete the Certificate?
Absolutely. One of the significant advantages of online courses is that you can enter and complete coursework at a much more flexible schedule to fit your needs. Typically, work will be available on a weekly basis, beginning on a Monday, and won’t be due until the following Monday. This means you’ll have all week to access and complete assignments. In cases where you may be away from computer/internet access for more than a week, you should contact the instructor to make accommodations.
15. Are there any prerequisites?
You must complete Geography 1204 (Principles of GIS) before any other courses (except Geography 1201—Map Use, Analysis & Interpretation).
16. Do I need to have advanced computer skills?
No, not advanced computer skills. You should, however, have basic computer skills before you begin. These include actions such as creating, saving, copying, pasting, renaming and deleting files and folders; creating/editing Microsoft Word documents; accessing email and sending attachments; using search engines such as Google to find websites, research topics and download files; unzip (extract/decompress) files; install/uninstall software; create/change passwords. Beyond these basic skills, instructors will show you how to create and manage GIS data and projects, specific to ESRI software.