The bachelor degree programme ‘Geo Media & Design’ at HAS University of Applied Sciences will be renamed ‘Applied Geo-Information Science’. This is a logical consequence of the further development of the study programme, which has been in existence since 2012. This successful programme delivers on average around 50 graduates each year into a professional field that has grown enormously in the area of data science in recent years.
Michiel Jellema was interim study programme director of Applied Geo-Information Science in 2019/2020 year and worked on the further development of the programme together with a project team. “The reason for renewing the programme was that the professional field in which our graduates end up has developed enormously in the field of data science,” Michiel explains. “This is a relatively new interdisciplinary field that focuses on the creation of value from data. This value creation leads to information, and this information, together with the available knowledge of an organisation, can in turn lead to smarter, better, faster predictions and thus to better (information-driven) decisions.”
Data science circle
“In practice, we often work with a data science circle, in which the collection, analysis and visualisation of geographical data is key. Students on the current Geo Media & Design study programme specialise in one of these aspects. In the renewed curriculum of Applied Geo-Information Science, they study the entire datascience circle. The current specialisations will be bundled in the new programme. This makes it easier to connect with the professional field, as well as with post-graduate programmes.”
The project team has extensively tested the new curriculum in the professional field, but also among students. The following text has been sent to students on the new curriculum:
‘This study programme will enable you to provide insight into spatial issues relating to current topics such as climate change, urbanisation, flooding and biodiversity. You will achieve this by analysing and monitoring geo and other data, and applying IT, big data and visualisation technology. This enables you to convert data into information and develop apps and online applications that help the user find an answer to these current social issues. And this is how you will contribute to a better world.’
The name now reflects the content
Students indicated that the name Applied Geo-Information Science reflects the content of the study programme better than Geo Media & Design. This is why this name will now be used in communication regarding the programme. At the same time, HAS University of Applied Sciences has started looking into changing the name officially.
The new curriculum is based on two pillars: educational and professional innovation. Michiel: “As far as educational innovation is concerned, Applied Geo-Information Science is becoming a testing ground when it comes to flexible and adaptive education. We offer a standard programme that is the same for all students. There is also a flexible programme, in which the students themselves decide on the content within the frameworks set by the programme. This gives students more control over their own learning process.” The new curriculum will start on 1 September 2021, and the first new students will join the Applied Geo-Information Science programme. The current curriculum is also being partly revised in the meantime, in response to this development.
As far as professional innovation is concerned, this is mainly about knowledge development. HAS University of Applied Sciences is growing from a university of applied sciences to a centre of expertise and, in this role, is actively working on social issues in the field of agriculture, food and the living environment. Datascience is now indispensable in this respect. Professors within universities of applied sciences are taking the lead when it comes to knowledge development. HAS University of Applied Sciences is currently exploring the possibilities of setting up a lectureship in data science.
An important role is also played by the GeoLab, a physical lab on the premises of HAS University of Applied Sciences in 's-Hertogenbosch. Michiel: “The GeoLab is part of the Datalab Agrifood. This is a physical and virtual practical environment in which data scientists, IT specialists and specialists from the agrifood domain work together with upper secondary vocational education, Higher Professional Education and university students when it comes to the agrifood sector. For example, projects but also minors. We want to further intensify this cooperation within the new curriculum, but also launch new initiatives to develop the GeoLab into a valuable meeting place for students, lectureships and the professional field, where innovative location-driven projects are carried out.”