Drones Invade Villanova Curriculum as New Fall Course Gets Underway

Aerial shot of GEV students with a drone at Willow Creek Farm Preserve.
Image via villanova.edu.
Aerial shot of GEV students with a drone at Willow Creek Farm Preserve.

For the first time this fall, Villanova University students could take a one-credit course on drones, writes villanova.edu.

Before that, drones were confined to a lecture in a Geo-Techniques course. Students mapped out a flight plan over Mendel Field, flew the drone, snapped a few pictures and processed the images in a lab.

The new course, offered through the Department of Geography and the Environment (GEV) teaches the history of drones, how to fly them, image processing and other information students need to receive their unmanned aircraft system (UAS) license.

The course was designed by Stephen Strader, PhD, assistant professor of GEV, and Michele Gandy, GIS lab manager.

For the final week of the course, students flew their unmanned craft over blueberry patches at the Willow Creek Farm Preserve in Collegeville to identify how healthy the crops were.

“It might look green to us, but with the different cameras we have on the drones, like near-infrared, we’re able to see what’s really going on,” Gandy said.

Strader said the course shows students the possibilities offered by the unmanned flight technology.

The goal is a three-credit course, offering licensing and devoted to research projects.

Read more at Villanova.edu about the new focus on drones.  

You can find out more about Willow Creek Farm Preserve in this video.