EGU General Assembly 2023
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Why are you taking the course? Oh, remote sensing interests me…

Katja Kuhwald, Kim-Cedric Gröschler, Florian Uhl, and Natascha Oppelt
Katja Kuhwald et al.
  • Geography, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany

This is the most common answer to a common question at the beginning of the semester. Teaching remote sensing skills at university often is associated in physical geography but also geoscience studies. Thus, the topics with which we teach remote sensing skills are often related to these subjects. In undergraduate courses, the thematic interests strongly vary among students. In advanced master courses, students with various thematic and technical backgrounds (geo sciences, computing science, economics, ecology, law, politics etc.) may join remote sensing classes. Additionally, the number of students increases. From the teaching perspective, we aim to address the varying student needs and backgrounds and enable them to further develop their technical skills and have to cope with these challenges. In this presentation, we want to present two practical formats of currently taught remote sensing classes.

In all classes, we work with freely available satellite data (Sentinels, Landsat, MERIS, MODIS etc.) and software (SNAP, QGIS, GoogleEarth, Sentinel-Hub and other browser-based tools). The first class is designed for undergraduate students (geography and related subjects, e.g. geosciences) who have a theoretical remote sensing background (lecture). After completing the class, the students should be able to independently conduct and document a remote sensing processing routine and evaluate results. To this end, the class is split in a part with instructions and a second part with independent work. First, the students work in groups through a modular online implemented course for ten weeks. The modules chronologically follow a basic routine to finally classify land use/ land cover in a study area. The modules contain theoretic background, prepared data, short videos on software usage and broad instructions. To assure the learning process, the students conduct self-tests after completed modules and participate in a weekly on-site tutorial. After completing all modules, they have to independently assess a flood event without detailed instructions and write a fictious report for a catastrophe response unit. Students positively evaluate the split structure, free division of work, videos and self-tests with feedback. Otherwise, they wish more time for asking questions and discuss issues of understanding in the on-site tutorials.

The advanced master course “Remote Sensing Applications” is open for students with a basic, practical remote sensing knowledge coming from different master programs. After completing the class, the students should be able to independently process, analyse and discuss remote sensing data and combine them with additional data to work on a geo-/study-related topic (geology, coast, socio-economic, climatic etc.). To this end, we selected New Zealand as study area. Within on-site classes, the students work on the topics geothermics, urban heat islands, droughts, forestry and cloud computing with non-prepared satellite and other data. For the final project, they select a research topic on their own and present their analyses and results in a storymap. Students highly appreciated choosing an own topic for the examination and discussing them in the whole group.  

Here, we aim to reflect the presented classes with the community to further improve our current “solutions” for challenges in teaching remote sensing.

How to cite: Kuhwald, K., Gröschler, K.-C., Uhl, F., and Oppelt, N.: Why are you taking the course? Oh, remote sensing interests me…, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-6530,, 2023.