O. Schnabel, R. Stopper, L. Hurni

ETH Zurich, Institute of Cartography, Zurich, Switzerland


CartouCHe (Cartography for Swiss Higher Education) is a new e-learning project and internet course, imparting knowledge about the multimedia and internet cartography to advanced students. It was initialised by the three leading universities in Switzerland dealing with multimedia cartography: ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. The motivation within CartouCHe lies in exploiting synergies, increasing the teaching capacity as well as improving the quality by redesigning the existing courses at the three universities on a modular basis to offer high flexibility. That means: flexibility in time and content to be chosen, individually adapted to the students needs, where theory is no longer separated from practical experiences. The learning environment is designed to be flexible to meet the users requirements and to apply learning material either class-accompanied, or, for self-guided studying. Great emphasis lies on adding a surplus value to this way of education, and, the idea is to give the students the possibility to discover web concepts interactively on their own.


To apply such a flexible approach new modular content structures and techniques were necessary. The highly interactive and multimedia-based course consists of three modules (Multimedia Cartography, Location Based Services, and 3D Applications). Each of these modules are made of five to ten lessons and each lesson can have several units. This guarantees in-depth information in small learning units that can be successfully completed step-by-step, as well as guaranteeing high flexibility whereby a clear learning target is defined to the student. In contrary to other projects like GITTA (Geographic Information Technology Training Alliance) one unit consumes only 10 to 15 minutes of the student's time. A further advantage is the storage of the multimedia elements and images in a separate folder, which allows their use in entirely different products or courses as well as the alternative access of each multimedia element via direct link. It was also necessary to focus on the copyright issue. Since the content comes partially from external sources, they are collected at the end of each lesson in a bibliography list to see them at a glance.


The units are based on the didactic ECLASS (Entry, Clarify, Look, Act, Share, Self-Assess, Summary) concept. The eLesson Markup Language (eLML) applied the didactic concept. There, the XML-based content will be transformed with XSLT to HTML pages, including pictures, interactive examples and animations. This flexible open source framework can easily receive the new teaching tools such as user-controlled animation-streams or interactive tutorials. Lecturers, tutors and students are using the web-based learning platforms for teaching and the respective software technologies for the exercises. The whole course is used in the blended learning mode within the curricula of the three participating universities, whereas the blended learning aspect will be mainly applied for colloquia, discussions and exercises.