Open Access Publications

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Open access publications by faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students from the Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories.


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    Learning from the Trees: Using Project Budburst to Enhance Data Literacy and Scientific Writing Skills in an Introductory Biology Laboratory During Remote Learning
    (Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, 2021-12-01) Lichti, Deborah; Mosley, Pamela; Callis-Duehl, Kristine
    Citizen science projects can be used in college laboratory settings to allow students to gain hands-on experience in research during emergency remote learning. During the 2020 spring semester, we used the citizen science project, Budburst, in our introductory biology laboratory during the COVID-19-induced emergency remote learning period. The instructors were able to quickly adapt the project for emergency remote teaching because of the versatility of citizen science projects. The goals of this paper are to describe the project the students completed and to determine which data literacy and scientific writing skills were gained through the process. The students were provided with the research question: “How does temperature affect the phenophases of your trees?” Students collected their own data and downloaded Budburst data sets from the website to compare between years and to connect their results to long-term temperature data sets. The final project was a scientific paper based on their findings from both data sets. After the semester, a subset of papers was scored by two researchers using a previously validated rubric designed to evaluate students’ research skills. We evaluated students’ higher-order thinking by investigating their ability to develop a prediction statement, and to improve their qualitative skills by developing graphs, statements on the limitations for methods and results, and alternative explanations for their findings. We saw that using citizen science during remote teaching enabled the students to gain authentic research experiences and continue to improve their skill set even if they could not be in the laboratory.
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