News / iSchool signs Memorandum of Understanding with Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada


A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recently signed between the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences and Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada. Athabasca is known as “Canada’s Open University,” and is dedicated to the removal of barriers that restrict access to and success in university-level study and to increasing equality of educational opportunity for adult learners worldwide. The School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh (the iSchool) has been educating information professionals for more than 100 years and has introduced a very successful online Master’s degree program that has graduated more than 400 students. The iSchool also offers a number of courses in the online environment which are not part of a distance degree program in order to make our academic expertise more widely available.

This MOU particularly focuses on the iSchool’s efforts in Geoinformatics, which is a significant research endeavor for the School and one of the popular Specializations in the Master’s Degree Program in Information Science and Technology. The research agenda and course work look at the unique knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate the design, development and deployment of complex systems and applications in a rapidly emerging geoinformatics profession. Graduates of the Geoinformatics specialization will be able to deploy and manage geoinformation systems in industry, conduct research in geotechnologies, and pursue PhD research in geoinformatics. As part of this MOU, courses taught at the iSchool will be evaluated for inclusion into relevant programs of study at Athabasca University.

In particular, the two schools will look at jointly developing and implementing online courses in the Geoinformatics discipline which would incorporate expertise from both institutions. Additionally, the Memorandum mandates the exchange of educational and scholarly materials as well as collaboration on a number of research and special projects. More information about the program at Athabasca can be found at

The iSchool also has a partnership with Siam University, the University of Mysore in Bangalore, India as well as with the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT). Such international programs are critical to providing meaningful research and educational experiences for faculty and students in the information science field, mirroring the globalization of the IT industry.