PS 4-48 - Using data discovery to promote ecological understanding in undergraduate ecology courses: The EcoEd DL and sience pipes collaboration

Monday, August 8, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Kenneth M. Klemow, Biology, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Paul Allen, Cornell University, David Kirschtel, Consultant, Traverse City, MI, Kathleen L. Shea, Biology, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, Arturo Herrera, Education and Diversity, Ecological Society of America, Washington, DC and Teresa Mourad, Education & Diversity Programs, Ecological Society of America, Washington, DC

EcoEd Digital Library ( is ESA’s searchable online catalog of resources for teaching undergraduate ecology. Using EcoEd, faculty can find free teaching resources that are peer-reviewed for quality, scientific accuracy, and pedagogical use. Teaching resources include photographs, figures, tables, articles, laboratory exercises, and Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) modules.  In 2010, EcoEd DL switched to a new web platform to enhance community-building, including use of social media and user feedback of its resources.  In 2011, ESA is partnering with Science Pipes and three other professional societies to develop tools to promote the use and analysis of large datasets in undergraduate classrooms.  The framework that the Science Pipes website (http:/’ provides allows students to access datasets of various sizes and level of complexity, subject them to analysis, and visualize the results without using spreadsheets or statistical software.  Existing data within Science Pipes allow students to analyze and depict broad patterns of species diversity within ecoregions, and access avian data collected by Citizen Science methods.  The collaboration with ESA will expand the range of datasets within Science Pipes.

Results/Conclusions To guide the initiative, ESA has created a Data for the Ecology Classroom Advisory (DECA) panel.  The panel is recommending several ecological datasets to be incorporated into the Science Pipes system.  Datasets are selected according to several criteria: illustrate one or more core ecological concepts, have a level of complexity amenable to incorporation into the Science Pipes system, represent a diversity of approaches, and applicable to introductory lab/ecology courses at the undergraduate level.  The DECA panel is working collaboratively with the Science Pipes team throughout the spring and summer 2011 to identify datasets and test their usability once incorporated into Science Pipes.  Once field-testing is complete, ESA will update the EcoEd site to allow ecology instructors and students access to the datasets.  Complete instructions and opportunities for user feedback will be provided on EcoEd.  As in previous years, EcoEd will continue to accept submissions from faculty who have developed their own visual resources (photographs, figures, tables) or student activities like lab, field and classroom exercises. ESA’s long-term goal for EcoEd is to build and maintain a library that is user-friendly and used by ecology researchers and educators to obtain current information and ideas for teaching resources.

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