Abstract Detail

Conference Wide

Montgomery, Benjamin [1], Farrah, Kate [1].

Teaching Online Botany Laboratory for Non-majors.

While traditional laboratories allow students to cultivate enthusiasm for botany by handling, examining and growing plants, these hands-on laboratories often present barriers for non-traditional students. At the same time, student engagement and enthusiasm may suffer if an online laboratory involves little more than clicking through photographs or interacting with simulations. The goal of this workshop is to introduce a best-of-both-worlds approach to online and distance-education non-majors botany laboratories. In this workshop, I will share the teaching materials developed over three years of teaching the course, allowing participants to easily develop courses at their home institutions. In the one-credit corequisite for online Botany and Society lecture, students grow plants at home, explore their natural environment and engage with digital tools that use real-world data. The course is asynchronous with weekly due dates. I designed the exercises to have learning outcomes relevant to general education; these include learning to make careful observations, to understand the scientific method, to interpret data, to follow protocols and safety procedures, and to communicate in writing. The exercises also address botany-specific objectives, such as learning to use dichotomous keys, caring for plants, recognizing stages in a life cycle, understanding Mendelian inheritance, and how plants affect and are affected by climate change. During the workshop, I will introduce the course structure in more detail and share an example of the laboratory kit that students pick up that I mail them at the start of the semester. The kit includes living material (e.g. Coleus, materials for a non-seed plant terrarium, living fern gametophytes), as well as supplies (e.g. iodine solution for starch detection, tubes for DNA extraction, safety equipment, a ruler and fabric measuring tape, etc.). I will also introduce digital botany tools that are the basis of some exercises (ITree, USA National Phenology Network, etc.¬), and we will brainstorm other digital tools. We will discuss ways to establish a sense of instructor presence and student community, which are both important for successful online learning. I will demonstrate use of Padlet as an interface for students to easily share photographic evidence of their work with the instructor and other students, so students can collaborate on data collection and see that their classmates are accomplishing similar tasks. We will conclude the workshop by completing some digital and hands-on laboratories, so participants can experience how instructors and students engage with the material.

1 - USC Upstate, Natural Sciences & Engineering, 800 University Way, Spartanburg, SC, 29303, United States

none specified

Presentation Type: Workshop
Session: W09, Teaching Online Botany Laboratory for Non-majors
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM
Number: W09001
Abstract ID:5
Candidate for Awards:None

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