|Development of Field-based Labs for Two Large Introductory Ecology Classes
Ecology happens outside, yet the third year ecology teaching in the Faculty of Science currently occurs entirely indoors. As a consequence, many undergraduates struggle to apply abstract concepts learnt in lecture to the natural world around them. In other universities, students often report that field labs greatly increased their understanding of ecology. UBC-V should be ideally situated for ecology field labs, as it is surrounded by forests, streams and ocean.
However, field labs were lost from third-year ecology courses (in Biology) over twenty years ago, as enrollments in these courses outpaced TA funding. This TLEF grant would allow us to reintroduce field labs into our introductory ecology courses (Biol 304 with 650 students and Biol 306 with 250 students) by (a) field-testing of new labs by undergraduates in advance of their implementation, essential with such large class sizes (b) development of identification keys and simple materials by undergraduates, and (c) development of internet-based applications to allow compilation of field data from hundreds of students.
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Diane Srivastava, Associate Professor, Zoology, Faculty of Science