Using ecological research data in undergraduate courses has many potential benefits for student learning, increased understanding of the scientific process, and providing meaningful opportunities to develop and practice quantitative skills. As ecological datasets continue to become larger and more complex, faculty may need additional support to both build their own skills and teach effectively with research data. This poster reports on the design, implementation, and outcomes of two faculty mentoring networks (FMNs) collaboratively developed by the Ecological Society of America education community and the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) project. FMNs are semester long online communities of faculty working toward a set of shared goals. The two FMNs discussed here brought together participants with content specialists and pedagogy mentors in an online environment. In both communities faculty focused on the customization, and classroom implementation of data rich teaching materials from the Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) project. The two communities differed in that one FMN included a face-to-face workshop component while the other interacted entirely at a distance. To assess the effectiveness of these two FMN models we collected data from faculty participation in the community activities and surveys conducted at several points during the collaboration.
Participants in the “Scaling Up” FMN included 15 faculty and 4 mentors. This group met for a one day workshop as part of the Life Discovery Conference. The workshop time was used for a variety of teambuilding activities, training on the collaborative technology tools on QUBESHub, and practice working directly with the TIEE module datasets and analyses. The “Data Discovery” FMN included 13 participants and 3 mentors. This group met entirely online. Several short tutorial sessions were provided to help the faculty in this group learn how to effectively use the QUBESHub collaborative tools and to discuss TIEE modules. Participants in both groups were widely distributed geographically and taught at a wide range of institution types. In the “Scaling Up” FMN 4 participants planned to implement 1 modules, 10 participants planned to implement 2 modules, and 1 participant planned to implement 3 modules. In the “Data Discovery” FMN 2 participants planned to implement 1 module, 7 participants planned to implement 2 modules, and 3 participants planned to implement 3 modules. Measures of faculty participation including, meeting attendance and assignment completion show no significant differences between the groups. Analysis of data on faculty attitudes, and module use are ongoing.