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Mentoring undergraduates in cartography and geographic information science: An apprenticeship model

Transactions in GIS

Published online on


Undergraduates' participation in research has been demonstrated to contribute to the development of critical, technical thinking and problem‐solving skills, increase confidence, and enhance interest in research and graduate studies. For fields like cartography and geographic information science (GIS), teaching content should be up‐to‐date. Furthermore, practice plays a key role in daily teaching and learning. Therefore, research participation is of great significance for undergraduates majoring in cartography and GIS. Here a mentoring method is proposed for undergraduates, based on the apprenticeship model which combines mentoring functions and styles. Thirty‐one undergraduates were mentored using the method. An evaluation based on objective outcomes and subjective self‐perceptions showed that the mentoring method was effective: 71% of the subjects contributed to at least one peer‐reviewed paper or software program. Possible factors affecting the mentoring results include the length of time the undergraduates were involved in mentorship and engaged in research. The longer the undergraduates participated in the mentorship and the more time they spent on research, the more numerous their achievements. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in the following areas: Changes in attitudes toward learning and research, enhanced career/graduate school preparation and personal gains. Significant differences in “learning ethical conduct” and “professional skills” were observed between genders.