This website presents an undergraduate class project for GEOB 270 Introduction to GIScience in the Department of Geography at UBC. The aim of the project was to make a GIScience contribution to inform debate around British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

The project, undertaken by nearly one hundred students, used open science principles and open data. Over twenty teams of students conducted independent analyses of different subsections of the ALR to try to measure how much agricultural land is actually in the ALR. Do official estimates of agricultural land used by the province and media actually refer to agricultural land or just everything within the administrative boundaries of the ALR? If roads and other non-farm uses are permanent within the ALR boundaries, can we subtract these spatial entities and get a more accurate estimate of actual farmland?

The students’ final reports, maps, and spatial data provide an open resource for people interested in BC’s agricultural lands. Team subsection data, aggregated provincial data, team reports, and an instructor data analysis are all available for download on this website under Creative Commons licensing.

This website provides a brief overview of the project process and the three groups of outcomes from the project:

  1. What are the actual results of the analyses conducted during the project?
  2. Were the learning outcomes for students achieved through this type of GIScience project?
  3. What lessons learned can be taken away for instructors implementing open pedagogy projects?

From the instructor standpoint, this class project and website represent an attempt to implement open pedagogy principles for achieving student learning outcomes in GIScience courses. Open pedagogy engages open resources (e.g. open data) and open approaches to research (e.g. open science) to create effective learning design. In this case, we based the learning around an opportunity to make an authentic, real-world contribution to an issue that is often brought up in our provincial politics. It is a move towards learner-centered assessment and away from disposable assignments.

Participants in this project include: