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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Fundamentals of GIS by University of California, Davis

4,809 ratings
1,495 reviews

About the Course

Explore the world of spatial analysis and cartography with geographic information systems (GIS). In this class you will learn the basics of the industry’s leading software tool, ArcGIS, during four week-long modules: Week 1: Learn how GIS grew from paper maps to the globally integrated electronic software packages of today. You will install ArcGIS on your computer and learn how to use online help to answer technical questions. Week 2: Open up ArcGIS and explore data using ArcMap. Learn the foundational concepts of GIS, how to analyze data, and make your first map. Week 3: Make your own maps! Symbolize data and create an eye-catching final product. Week 4: Share your data and maps and learn to store and organize your data. Take Fundamentals of GIS as a standalone course or as part of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialization. By completing the first class in the Specialization you will gain the skills needed to succeed in the full program. Students who need an ArcGIS license will receive a non-commercial, 1 year student license for participation in this course and specialization....

Top reviews

May 16, 2021

GREAT COURSE TO JUMPSTART FOR ANY NEW LEARNERS IN THE FIELD OF GIS. It is extremely helpful to learn the basics & the projects help any new learners to understand what kind of work is done in ArcGIS.

Oct 4, 2020

I finished the course, I do not know why it indicates to me as if I had not finished\n\nI would like answer, please. My email:\n\nWhy don't answer me?\n\nRegards\n\nVictor Ramon

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1301 - 1325 of 1,458 Reviews for Fundamentals of GIS

By Oliver P

Oct 7, 2019

I enjoyed this course and was glad I did it. The material was explained clearly and the subject was covered in the right amount of detail.

I felt there are a couple of areas with room for improvement.

1. With the "Summarise this lesson" type sections, whilst this seems like a good learning tool, it just a shame it clutters up the same discussion space as technical questions. It makes it hard to scroll through and look for solutions to common problems, or help othes, as they get buried by the volumes of lesson summaries. Also I suspect it crowds out the space from getting help from the instructors, I didn't see much instructor involvement in the forum.

2. I found the early stage quite hard going just because of housekeeping issues with how to manage .mpk files, file structure and where to store the various file types. I realise some of this was covered in week 4, but it would still have been very helpful to have a bit of a talk or a document on opening the mpk files, managing things like home directories, default directories, linked folders, version control etc. Seems to me quite a fundamental part of using arcGIS that needs some good discipline.

Looking forward to the next course.

By Luis R M

Jun 10, 2017

The course is excellent and I have no words to thank you for the guiding level of detail, breakdown of the basics, provided throughout. However, I recommend to increase the number of peer reviews of our assignments to 3 or 4 reviewers, and discard the outliers. I personally disagree with one my graders and posted a comment mentioning his grading deficiency but received the downgrading nonetheless. It's unfair after so much effort to be stuck with an unfair downgrading. There should be a quality control that allows prevention or revision of grader's shortcomings. In my specific case as a reviewer, I downgraded the same person above for the opposite reason he downgraded me, but I explained the reasons in the comments section. He evaluated my work hastily based on what he applied in his assignment instead of following directions. I hope you'll read my comments and provide feedback.

By Brian E O

Jun 14, 2021

The professor is wonderful; he explains everything in a way that's easy to understand yet is not dumbed down. I learned a great deal in this course and I'm looking forward to the next one. I would have given 5 stars but for 2 reasons:

(1) The professor either does not read the forums or just does not respond to questions, so there needs to be a way to contact him with questions. We cannot rely solely on our peers to help with any issues we have, as they are still learning, just as I am.

(​2) The grade for the final project is based on peer review. I considering dropping another star and rating this course as 3 stars due to this. What is the point of doing a project where the only feedback comes from other students who are at the same level as I am? I expected more from a UC Davis course; specifically, that I would receive some kind of feedback from a professional.

By Gregory B

Mar 20, 2016

Great course with engaging material and enthusiastic and experienced instruction. The materials, lectures, assignments, extras, links, etc. were excellent. Only two negative aspects occurred. The first was the initial lack of materials with which to follow the instructors as they went through various processes in ArcMap in their lectures. However, this was remedied quickly and materials were provided. The second was the instructional material for the week 2 assignment, which lacked the step-by-step detail and polish of the assignments from other weeks. This may have been due to the course being new and somewhat unrefined. Overall, the course was extremely helpful and well worth the time and money. I intend to continue on and complete the entire specialization.

By Chantel K

Dec 2, 2020

I really liked the structure of the class and it's flexibility. I liked that there were assignments with step by step instructions that were not required. This allowed for the opportunity to practice new tools, but without the stress of grading. The reason I am only giving a four star rating is because the grading system for the final assignment. I liked the quiz section that you needed to enter attribute data into, but did not like the peer review system. There is so much variation between people. I literally received 100% from one individual and 0% from the other with no feedback to as why they graded the way that they did.

By Kelsey D

May 11, 2020

Good, easy to understand course overall, but I don't feel like I really learned how to use the software until the final project where I had to figure out how to get the result I wanted on my own. That being said, I think the videos and the optional assignments were good for giving me an idea of how to get to my final result. I do wish there were additional small assignments in the class where you had to figure things out on your own rather than being walked through the process step-by-step.

By Sarah C

Jan 24, 2021

Great course which covers a wide range of GIS applications and very thorough assignments along the way. Quizzes also have detailed feedback to enable you to check your progress. However personally I would have preferred more explanation about why something is done or the underlying concepts. I still feel like I have quite a shallow understanding of GIS. Also very focused on the professor's interest - hydrology in California. Nevertheless I still really enjoyed the course and learnt a lot.

By Hebatallah E

Apr 21, 2019

The course is great in the aspect of practice and hand on experience ! I liked the most how the instructor focused on doing examples in the videos and encouraging us to try them out on our own. Not to mention the practice assignments and the extra reading to additional practice.

The course also was successful in engaging the learners in discussion forums and lesson summaries.

I think its the perfect start to learn GIS and get the initial concept on how to navigate this area of analysis

By Kristin P

May 7, 2020

Great beginners course for GIS for those who are working full time or have other schedules which limit their ability to go to a physical class. The only recommendation I would have is to have a better method to troubleshoot issues (i.e. more teacher or moderator interaction). Since this course has you applying what you learn through video, it can be tough to watch a video and do the work on your own. Otherwise, I learned a lot of great skills that I can now apply to my job!

By Brayden R

Jan 5, 2021

This course was my first ever from the Coursera community! I really enjoyed learning more about GIS. This was the perfect course, for me, because I needed a course that could help me gain a better understanding about the fundamentals of GIS, as they pertain to using ArcGIS, specifically. The assignments and videos were helpful, and paralleled the material. I am now more confident with ArcGIS, and look forward to taking another course under the specialization in the future.

By Bernard T

Apr 26, 2020

I thought that this was a very good introduction to GIS course. However, there were a few times the instructions to course work was vague. But, using the forum and Google, I was able to figure out the practice work. The final project was very challenging. We were asked to do things that were not discussed in the class. It was an assumption that students had knowledge of querying databases. Overall, I will recommend this course to those looking to get started in GIS

By Gokce S

Jan 9, 2019

Making the online features of ArcGIS mandatory components of the final assignment may pose a barrier to some people. In my case, I am learning ArcGIS for my work and have been using the software on an offline work server (my personal computer could not meet the minimum system requirements for ArcGIS and often crashed). So, I was not able to add the elements like basemap to my maps, which made it a big challenge for me to pass the final assignment.

By Pankhuri M

Oct 31, 2016

This course gives a good overview of GIS. It helps in becoming familiar with ArcGIS software and also teaches a lot of fundamentals that can be generally applied to different GIS products as well. But looking at the expenses of using ArcGIS for commercial purposes, it would have been great had there been some sort of additional, optional demonstrations of other products.. For a small-medium business, ArcGIS doesn't seem viable at all.

By Gourab M

Dec 23, 2020

Thanks, Mr Nick.

This 'Fundamentals of GIS' course is really helpful for me as a beginner. I gain basic knowledge about GIS and learn the basic important regular useable tools of ArcGIS. The final peer graded assignment is really challenging to me and grows more interest for me to learn more and achieve more. I enjoyed it while learning. Thus I failed some of my assignments but I never quit. Never quit.

Thanks, Coursera.

By Aubrie B

Jun 15, 2020

I really enjoyed this course and I learned a lot. My only critique is that most of the lectures were about specific processes and tools in ArcGIS, but they were not necessarily created in such a way that students could follow along in ArcGIS easily. I think it would be easier to learn and remember all of the processes if each lecture were more structured around the student going through the same actions as the lecturer.

By Ryan J

Mar 12, 2019

I would give this course 4.5 stars if I could. It is a great course and I feel like I really grasped the basics of GIS and using ArcMap after I completed it. The only reason that I gave it 4 stars is that it would be nice if there were an intro course like this that was a little more geared towards people who already have some basic knowledge of SQL and relational databases so that the course could move a little faster.

By Jason M

Sep 13, 2016

I found a number of the lessons were light on content, but I have guilty knowledge having used ArcMap on and off for the past few years. A lot of the meat of this course is replicated in similar or only slightly more detail in the follow-on class in the specialization. If you have experience with GIS or Arc I would strongly recommend skipping this class and moving directly to GIS Data Formats, Design and Quality.

By Kevin B

Mar 22, 2020

I really liked the instructor and his style, and the course was layout well. But pay attention in the lectures and do the assignments. I'm not giving 5-stars because I feel that a little more lecture time should have been dedicated to using ArcMap to do spatial joins, as well as having a few more examples, each with different end-goals for the joined columns.

But the course is very good, and I'm glad I took it.

By Caroline V

May 16, 2020

I enjoyed this course and thought it was a great intro to GIS. Instructions and videos were thorough and I feel like I have the tools I need to move on to the next course. Sometimes it felt like there was less focus on more challenging topics (like spatial joins) and more on topics like exporting documents. This is an intro course though so I understand we were trying to cover a lot at a basic level.

By Natasha K

Nov 17, 2016

Contains a lot of great content through videos and demonstrations that are easy to follow and in depth enough to understand the concepts. Would be great if there was a way to contact the professor or someone within Coursera to help with technical issues, as I ran into quite a few of those along the way and did not have anyone to reach out to (not a problem with the actual course, just the courser

By Rifqi A S

Aug 11, 2020

This course is not lying about being fundamental, and it's a good thing! I was struggling to find a course to start GIS, and I am genuinely relieved to have found this specialization. Although I couldn't give a full star because of it not using ArcGIS Pro, but this course splendidly covers what is essential to start with GIS.

Thank you very much for Nick Santos and team to make this available!

By Hilary W

Jun 1, 2017

I found the course tutorials and materials really good and clear. I found achieving what I wanted on ARC GIS much harder than I thought it would be, so it was re-assuring where they indicated that people would re-watch the tutorials more than once (Can't tell you how many times I had to watch them to get some elements of the course!!). But encouraged to go on and do the next one.

By Christiane

Apr 26, 2020

Comprehensive introductory course, providing links, ways to approach troubleshooting when learning online/by yourself plus background information. The videos that accompany the weekly assigments provide insights into the learning material that is actually being used in the assignments. By taking the weekly quizes one was enabled to assess their own learning process. Thank you!

By Antje C R

Mar 30, 2020

The guided assignments were excellent. In the lectures, however, I sometimes missed the forest for the trees. Since this course is for novices to GIS, an overall "roadmap" covering the forest of functions in ArcGIS would be helpful.

Nick Santos presents the materials in a clear, low-key manner, while conveying a good deal of enthusiasm - I enjoyed listening.

By Jon W

Jan 16, 2021

Very well organized course. Nick is fantastic. It would help if the peer review process could be streamlined, as it is rather tedious. I burned a week waiting for peer reviews. My recommendation to other students is to always be taking multiple courses at a given time so you can focus on the other course while waiting for blocking issues.