Increasingly, the generation of relevant information is the problem since (according to American political scientist, economist and psychologist Herbert Simon) a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
This online course introduces participants to techniques for selecting and processing data to generate meaningful and timely information to support the better management of resources. To improve decision making, the required information, tools, techniques, models and decision-making procedures can be integrated into a user-friendly information processing system called a spatial decision support system (SDSS). In contrast to other geo-information systems, an SDSS provides insight into assessments of tradeoffs between the various options open to decision-makers.
The course is intended for organizations, individual practitioners and spatial analysts with a professional or academic background who support spatial planning and decision-making processes. Although it is interesting for decision-makers to establish a way of thinking for themselves, the course also goes into some practical detail. This course is also attractive to PhD students and researchers who want to work with SDSS.
The contents of the course are structured into the following six lessons:
- Why do we need to support decision-makers?
- Basic views on the decision-making process
- What is the role of spatial decision support systems in the decision-making process?
- Basic principles of multicriteria analysis
- Spatial multicriteria analysis
- Application of the theory of the decision-making process, multicriteria analysis and spatial multicriteria analysis to case studies. Cases from different disciplines can be chosen.
The lessons are related to the main course objectives as follows:
- Lessons 1-3: Understanding the role of spatial decision support systems in the decision-making process
- Lessons 4-6: Justifying and performing spatial multicriteria evaluation in solving spatial decision problems
We find it important to work with exercises and case studies because our teaching philosophy follows a Chinese proverb that emphasizes the step from listening and reading to independent practice.
Therefore, lessons 1-5 each offer new material in the form of video presentations, literature and exercises, whereas lesson 6 does not offer any new material but aims at independent (naturally with guidance) application of concepts and practices.
On completion of this course, participants should be able to:
- explain the principles of decision-making processes and decision support systems
- distinguish between various phases of the decision-making process and their required types of information
- discuss the linkages between GIS and decision support systems
- apply spatial multicriteria decision analysis techniques to combine various layers of information; of different quality, format and type to support the planning and decision-making process
- classify and compare different multicriteria evaluation techniques
- use spatial multicriteria evaluation techniques in proposing an appropriate solution to a spatial problem
- assess and interpret the results of the multicriteria evaluation process.
Our experience is that for these skills to be used in planning and decision-making practice in organizations, it is very important that a critical mass of people in an organization understands the use of spatial planning and decision support systems. An online course means that organizations need not send much staff abroad, yet many can learn.
Spatial planning and decision support systems are applied in many disciplines, ranging from urban planning to integrated watershed management, natural resources management, etc. We focus on methods and methodologies with examples from many disciplines. Therefore, this course is accessible and of interest to many people with different disciplinary backgrounds.
Finally, although examples from developed countries are also used, many examples of applications come from developing countries, which makes the course highly accessible to people from both developing and developed countries.
Upon successful completion of this course you will receive a Certificate which will include the name of the course.
Along with your Certificate you will receive a Course Record providing all the subjects studied as part of the course. It states: the course code, subject, ECTS credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.
If you decide to follow a full Postgraduate or Master's course at ITC, and after approval of the Examination Board, you will be exempted from the course(s) you followed successfully as an online course.
Academic level and background
Applicants for an online course should have a Bachelor degree or equivalent from a recognised university in a discipline related to the course, preferably combined with working experience in a relevant field.
The faculty accepts transcripts, degrees and diplomas in the following languages: Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish. It is at the discretion of the faculty to require additional English translations of all documents in other languages as well.
Success in your studies requires a high level of English proficiency. Therefore, prospective students with an international (other than Dutch) degree must meet the English language requirement. As proof that you meet this requirement, you will be asked in the application procedure to upload one of the requested language certificates:
- IELTS (academic) with an overall band score of at least 6.0 (with a minimum sub-score of 6.0 for speaking and writing) and certificates not older than two years.
- TOEFL iBT (internet-based) with an overall score of 80 (with a minimum sub-score of 20 for speaking) and certificates not older than two years. Please note that the University of Twente does not accept the MyBest scores of the TOEFL test.
- Cambridge C1 Advanced Formerly known as; Cambridge English Advanced (CAE), obtained with an A, B or C grade.
- Cambridge C2 Proficiency Formerly known as; Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) obtained with an A, B or C grade.
Only these internationally recognised test results are accepted. Without a valid certificate, we cannot process your application.
- Ensure you have obtained a valid English test result before the application deadline. If your application is accompanied by a language test score report with a test date after our application deadline, we will not process it. Therefore, make sure to do the test in advance, as it will take time for you to get the official certificate.
- When applying for a scholarship, the language requirements may be different because scholarship providers may have different requirements.
You are exempted from the English language requirement if you hold:
- a relevant bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution in the Netherlands
- if you are a national of one of the countries in this list (PDF)
- a three-year bachelor's degree in Australia, Canada (English-speaking part), Ireland, New Zealand, UK or USA. When your awarding institution is in one of these countries, but your teaching institution was not, you are not exempted. The same rule applies to distance (online) education.
To follow online education you must have basic computer experience, regular access to internet, and e-mail. For some courses, additional computer skills are required (see description of specific course).
Technical requirements online education and assessment
For online education, we formulated guidelines to guarantee optimal performance. For online oral exams and proctoring during online assessments, the webcam and headset requirements need to be met.
GIS and remote sensing
Most online courses, except for the introductory course, require knowledge of, and skills in, working with GIS and/or digital image processing of remotely sensed data.
Candidates are asked to provide proof of identity during the registration process.