ESA’s News and Views Blog: Creating the potential to integrate students and professional ecological discussion

Attention all professors, teachers, teaching assistants, and tutors- the ESA has launched one of the first professional science blogs. The News and Views Blog will feature a series of ecological discussions based upon provocative journal articles and posts by ecologists on current issues or events in ecology. ESA is seeking to expand the discussion beyond established ecologists –  we also want to hear from students of all levels –  the more diverse the input, the healthier the debate. Blogs (short for web logs) have traditionally been viewed as an individual hobby, but are currently being incorporated into professional websites, for the purpose of creating a space for thoughtful debate on current events in ecology.

Thus, we are calling on all those involved in education to use this blog as a resource in the classroom, in one of any number of ways. For example, most university classes have “discussion sections,” in which the professor or tutor runs a small class for the purpose of discussing a lecture topic in depth. The potential exists for the teacher to incorporate ESA’s blog into discussion. Students could visit the blog site, review the blog’s post and comments, then make a thoughtful comment of their own. For extra fun, the student could be required to cite other journal articles in their response. To complete the exercise, the students could then bring the comments back to the next class to discuss. It will be a great way for students to get involved in the professional side of ecology!  It provides the opportunity to read primary research, interact with other ecologists, and provide innovative and valuable contributions to a thoughtful discussion.

How will you use ESA’s new blog feature? Now is the time to use the blog for all its worth: we want to hear your comments and suggestions for this idea of incorporating blogs into classroom discussion.

Contributed by Alisha Dahlstrom, ESAÂ Policy Intern