Species-focused writing and web contributions to enhance undergraduate biology research skills and learning

10/22/2009 - 10/25/2009

Biodiversity Synthesis Center, The Field Museum,  Chicago, IL, USA

On October 22-24, the Biodiversity Synthesis Center hosted an EOL workshop in conjunction with EOL partner Animal Diversity Web. The workshop goals were to broaden the reach and increase the effectiveness of university students authoring species accounts. A diverse group of 22 participants from four countries assembled to present different programs that involve student authorship and gathering of species data.

The workshop was an effective mix of presentations, group discussions, and breakout groups. In the presentations, we heard about the successful methods of the ADW program and template, diverse ways that faculty implement the ADW template into their courses, methods and strategy of the complementary AmphibiaWeb authoring process, and other projects around the world that involve students of all ages in the collection of species data (including iSpot, High Tech High’s bay surveys, INBio, marine surveys in the Cape Verde islands, and others). The workshop will yield many important products, including instructor workflow models for integrating student authorship of species accounts into different types of courses, a best practices document for instructors and students, a 2010 RCN proposal to NSF, new content and curators for EOL, and increased use of the ADW species account template in the US and abroad.

The workshop was a first for EOL, co-sponsored by the Synthesis, Learning and Education, and Species Pages Groups, and can only be viewed as a great success. Thanks to all who participated in 3 days of lively and highly productive discussion which produced new EOL curators, a grant proposal to NSF, plans for a website to test the broad formulae developed, and a manuscript for publication. Special thanks to meeting organizers Tricia Jones and Tanya Dewey!

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