It started innocently enough. A collaborative research course taught at one university led to conversations about graduate teaching among colleagues residing at different universities.
Exploratory meetings followed and, before any of them quite realized it, six faculty members at three universities spanning four time zones across the U.S. were teaching a graduate course together.
The course "Where is Conservation Science in Local Planning?” was offered during the spring 2007 semester, integrating inquiry-guided, collaborative, and computer-mediated learning approaches.
Jan Thompson, Iowa State University, and her colleagues (both graduate students and faculty) describe how and what course participants learned, in the 2009 issue of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
Two faculty at each of the three universities worked collaboratively with 26 graduate students to examine local planning policies and practices related to conserving biological diversity. They used electronic communication in a “blended learning” environment to facilitate collaboration among dispersed participants.
“I’ve led several similar graduate courses at North Carolina State University,” says George Hess. “The new twist was distance collaboration with students and faculty at two other institutions, Iowa State University and the University of Washington. Collaboration among colleagues across great distances is becoming increasingly common, and experiencing this should be part of graduate education.”
The faculty members were never all in the same place at the same time before the course was launched. They developed the course using the same technologies they expected to teach with, allowing them to work out many “technical difficulties” before students joined the conversation.
Although she has long used collaborative learning in her face-to-face, undergraduate classroom, Thompson was pleasantly surprised at how well the computer-based technology supported collaboration among participants at the three campuses.
"Faculty and students were able to plan for learning, develop and implement a research project, and communicate about scholarly products largely using computer-based media," says Thompson.
Based on pre- and post-course questionnaires, students reported significant increases in communication skills, particularly in understanding how communication fits into collaborative problem solving and anticipating information needs of collaborators.
“Having diverse perspectives, both in an interdisciplinary sense and in a regional sense, also really enriched this experience,” according to Hess. “It sometimes felt like herding cats, but we had very good results in terms of learning and scholarly products. I think we are all looking forward to designing and conducting similar courses in the future.”
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://www.jnrlse.org/pdf/2009/E08-0008.pdf. After 30 days it will be available at the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education website, www.jnrlse.org. Go to http://www.jnrlse.org/issues/ (Click on the Year, "View Article List," and scroll down to article abstract).
Today's educators are looking to the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, http://www.jnrlse.org, for the latest teaching techniques in the life sciences, natural resources, and agriculture. The journal is continuously updated online during the year and one hard copy is published in December by the American Society of Agronomy.
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.
Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine