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Teaching An Experiential Field Course Via Online Participatory Science Projects: A COVID-19 Case Study of a UC California Naturalist Course
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  • Laci Gerhart,
  • Christopher Jadallah,
  • Sarah Angulo,
  • Gregory Ira
Laci Gerhart
University of California Davis

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Christopher Jadallah
University of California Davis
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Sarah Angulo
University of California Davis
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Gregory Ira
University of California Davis
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Experience and training in field work is a critical component of undergraduate education in ecology, and many university courses incorporate field-based or experiential components into the curriculum in order to provide students hands-on experience. Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden shift to remote instruction in the spring of 2020, many instructors of such courses found themselves struggling to identify strategies for developing rigorous field activities that could be completed online, solo, and from a student’s backyard. This case study illustrates the process by which one field-based course, a UC California Naturalist certification course offered at the University of California, Davis, transitioned to fully remote instruction. The transition relied on established, publicly available, online participatory science platforms (e.g., iNaturalist) to which the students contributed data and observations remotely. Student feedback on the course and voluntary continued engagement with the participatory science platforms indicates that the student perspective of the experience was on par with previous traditional offerings of the course. This case study also includes topics and participatory science resources for consideration by other faculty facing a similar transition from group field activities to remote, individual field-based experiences.
30 Jun 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
01 Jul 2020Submission Checks Completed
01 Jul 2020Assigned to Editor
03 Jul 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
26 Oct 20201st Revision Received
27 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
27 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
27 Oct 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
29 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
27 Jan 2021Published in Ecology and Evolution. 10.1002/ece3.7187