INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE EDUCATION

Keyword: online biology

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Research Article
Virtual Coverboarding: Using Local Biodiverity to Engage Science Majors
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2279, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/12016
ABSTRACT: There is a current need to develop engaging, informative online activities for science majors and potential future citizen scientists, particularly given the increase in the online teaching environment following COVID-19. Given this potential for online teaching to continue to increase, it becomes ever more essential to provide undergraduate students with methods that allow students to remotely access common methods used for sampling species while still engaging students in learning about local species diversity. This study assessed the potential for an interactive, online course-specific website to connect and inform first-year undergraduate biology majors (pre-health majors to environmental science) on local leaf litter species diversity. The website included species encountered as part of an ongoing on-campus biodiversity monitoring project using coverboards. Students navigated to the website, answered questions on the types of organisms, and completed a short survey. The survey questions reviewed whether the website was engaging and informed students on campus biodiversity of both reptiles and arthropods. Students overwhelmingly responded positively that the website was helpful to advise them on local species and their natural histories and engaged and piqued their interest. Therefore, we recommend incorporating course websites as teaching tools to catalog local species to teach undergraduate biology majors.