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2008 Faculty Development Workshop

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Faculty Development Workshop

Using Continental-scale Data to Teach Undergraduate Ecology

Workshop Dates:

Oct 2-4, 2008


American Association for the Advancement of Science Washington, DC

Workshop Objectives

  1. explore the breadth and scope of continental-scale data;
  2. reflect on the use of continental-scale approaches in the classroom and in independent undergraduate research projects;
  3. generate recommendations to inform the development of NEON’s physical and cyberinfrastructure from the point of view of education;
  4. generate recommendations to inform the development of Phase 2 that will include collaborative faculty and student activities.

Workshop Program

The workshop was organized around two grand challenges identified by NEON based on findings of the National Research Council: (1) climate change and (2) land-use change. These areas were selected based on currently available local and continental data sets since NEON infrastructure is currently being built and is not yet generating data. For the workshop, ESA worked with the data available through EcoTrends, the Forestry Inventory and Analysis data from the USDA Forest Service, and the Land-Use Analysis Package from the US Geological Survey.

Workshop Format

Participants will be divided into five working groups each working with a resource expert. Each group will receive data related to one of the grand challenges and consider the following:

  1. Questions related to use of NEON data by undergraduate educators:
  • How do we use very recent, “uncanned” data available through NEON to teach students to think about large-scale ecology? How do we help them develop systems thinking?
  • How can NEON data be used in the student-active undergraduate classroom?
  • How can NEON data be used in independent undergraduate research?
  • What skills would students need in field sampling or data validation or data analysis?
  • How can ecological forecasting be incorporated into undergraduate education?
  • How would student assessments need to be adapted for collaborative projects?

  • Questions related to use of NEON infrastructure by undergraduate educators:
    • What considerations should be made for educational use of physical infrastructure?
    • What considerations should be made for cyberinfrastructure (especially concerning data access and use of data by students)?
    • What infrastructure characteristics would be needed to facilitate collaborations between undergraduates and faculty mentors at different institutions?

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