Open Collections

UBC Undergraduate Research

The Impact of Experiential, Research- and Community-based Learning in Herbaria on First-year University… Czekajlo, Agatha; Gray, Megan; Lewko, Reed Apr 25, 2018

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
52966-Czekajlo_A_et_al_ENVR_400_Impact_experiential.pdf [ 1.53MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 52966-1.0366159.json
JSON-LD: 52966-1.0366159-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 52966-1.0366159-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 52966-1.0366159-rdf.json
Turtle: 52966-1.0366159-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 52966-1.0366159-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 52966-1.0366159-source.json
Full Text
52966-1.0366159-fulltext.txt
Citation
52966-1.0366159.ris

Full Text

       1 The Impact of Experiential, Research- and Community-based Learning in Herbaria on First-year University Students Agatha Czekajlo Megan Gray Reed Lewko Faculty Advisor: Tara Ivanochko April 25, 2018 ENVR 400                    2  beatymuseum.ubc.ca The Impact of Experiential, Research- and Community-based Learning in Herbaria on First-year University Students  Why Experiential, Research- and Community-based Learning is Beneficial ● Experiential learning provides students with concrete experience to apply classroom knowledge (Katula and Threnhauser 1999). ● It allows students to explore the subject matter more freely, which better solidifies the information (Moon 2006). ● Research-based learning connects hands-on skills with non-standardized scientific problems to teach students critical thinking skills, and drives their curiosity to become better problem-solvers (Bastiaens et al. 2017; Susman 2015). ● Community partnership gives students a sense of responsibility over their tasks while learning more about their impact on and connection with the community (Lenton et al. 2014; Simons and Cleary 2006). A BioBlitz at the UBC Herbarium with First-year Biology Students In collaboration with Bridgette Clarkston (UBC Botany Instructor) and Linda Jennings (Assistant Curator of the UBC Herbarium, Beaty Biodiversity Museum), we created and analysed a list of survey questions to be completed by a portion of a first-year biology course (BIOL 121) students with regard to a ‘BioBlitz’ activity in the Herbarium collections at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum (BBM). A BioBlitz is an intensive activity in which groups of scientists and volunteers survey an area to record all species. The in-person version of this BioBlitz activity was done in the Herbarium with a collection of preserved specimens kept for research use. This activity consisted of two portions; the first being an analysis of several research specimens from the UBC Herbarium collection with students documenting their diversity, variation, and labelling style. The second portion involved the students counting and cataloging UBC Herbarium specimens for their database. A second cohort of students completed an online activity using documented specimens housed on the Pacific Northwest Consortium of Herbaria website. ● Objective: Determine the impact of an experiential, research- and community-based activity in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum Herbarium on first-year students’ knowledge and perception of biological diversity and natural history collections. 3 Methods The impact of this project was tested through the delivery of two surveys (Pre- and Post-Activity) to determine both the effectiveness of two BioBlitz activity versions (online and in-person) in student learning, as well as to determine differences in completing the activity virtually or in-person (Fig. i). A total of 151 participants completed and consented to the Post-Activity survey, with 86 having completed the online activity and 65 having done the in-person activity at the Herbarium. Survey results included in this report were either short-answer or ranking (level of agreement, level of importance). Results from the Pre-Activity survey were compared to the Post-Activity survey results, differentiating between participants who completed the online and in-person versions.  Figure i. Flow chart of the project’s process. 172 students took the Pre-Activity Survey and consented to their responses being used in this study, and then students completed either the online (n = 86) or in-person (n = 65) activity. Finally, all students took the same Post-Activity Survey, with 151 consenting students.  Impact on First-year Student Learning ● Both the online and in-person BioBlitz activities allowed students to learn about biological diversity based on their short answer responses about what they found interesting or surprising about the activity. ○ Notable terms like ‘biodiversity’, ‘diversity’, and ‘variation’ that the students used in their short answers indicates a level of higher learning due to the activity.  ● Most students agreed that they learned something that would be useful to them in the future, regardless of if the activity was completed online (66% agreeing) or in-person (93% agreeing), although there was a higher proportion found for the in-person activity.  ● Students placed greater importance on categories of organization in the herbarium after participating in the activity (either online or in-person) than indicated in the Pre-Activity survey. ○ More students who completed the in-person activity, rather than the online activity, indicated that organizing specimens by collector is ‘very important’, with 35% indicating this after the in-person activity versus 21% after the online activity.  4 About the Authors    Megan Gray My Area of Concentration is Ecology and Conservation, and I have an interest in biodiversity, plants, and agriculture. I have previously taken BIOL 121, have experience with presentations, report-writing, and performing background research of peer-reviewed literature. Through past work and class experience, I have become incredibly organized, dedicated, and punctual when I take on a project.     Reed Lewko My area of concentration is Land, Air, and Water, and I am pursuing a minor in Applied Plant and Soil Science through the faculty of Land and Food Systems. I am interested in plants and love visiting museums. I have taken quite a few first year science courses, including biology, and would love to improve upon the experience for future students who will be taking BIOL 121.     Agatha Czekajlo My area of concentration is in Ecology and Conservation, and I have taken many electives in plant biology and ecology, as well as BIOL 121. I also have experience collecting plant specimens and creating my own herbarium collection. I am organized and detail-oriented, have good time management skills, and can professionally communicate verbally and in writing. 5 Table of Contents Introduction 6 Methods 8 Surveys 8 Analysis 8 Results 10 Discussion 15 Conclusions 17 Acknowledgments 18 References 18 Appendix 19 Pre-Activity Survey Questions 19 Post-Activity Survey Questions 21 In-Person Activity Sheet 23 Additional Tables and Figures 25   6 The Impact of Experiential, Research- and Community-based Learning in Herbaria on First-year University Students  Introduction The University of British Columbia (UBC) is passionate about improving learning for students and incorporates laboratories, field trips, and many different ways for students to provide feedback for instructors and courses. Secondarily, several classes incorporate the Beaty Biodiversity Museum Herbarium at UBC (UBC Herbarium) in their learning currently. However, no prior investigations have been performed to determine whether first-year biology students benefit from handling the research specimens in an experiential learning environment at the UBC Herbarium. The results from the surveys designed in this project may provide important insight into the effect of the BioBlitz activity on student learning.  Experiential, research- and community-based learning have been seen to impact the way students learn. These three methods of teaching differ from each other, but all are very different from the standard style of formal teaching. Experiential or discovery-based learning allows students to apply classroom knowledge and further the learning process, giving them concrete experience in higher education (Katula and Threnhauser 1999). Students often have difficulty making a link between classroom teachings and the real world, and so experiential learning can help to make that link (Katula and Threnhauser 1999). The activities generally are not started with principles or background information, which allows students to begin learning without much formal direction, and the knowledge is more likely to be permanent as they explore the subject matter (Moon 2006).   Textbook memorization is often heavily emphasized in first-year university biology classes, but with hands-on laboratory experiences students can explore the core concepts in the textbook, thereby solidifying classroom learning and engaging students (Susman 2015). Research-based experiential learning connects skills from the lab and knowledge from the classroom with real research specimens, and allows students to think critically about the subject matter (Susman 2015). Bastiaens et al. (2017) states that non-standardized problems help to enhance students’ problem-solving skills beyond what is typically taught in lectures and by doing textbook problems. Research is very important in the sciences, and largely driven by curiosity, so research-based learning can help promote this curiosity (Bastiaens et al. 2017).  By incorporating a community partnership with these alternative methods of student learning, students are given a sense of responsibility over their tasks, which encourages motivation to learn more and develop useful skills for post-graduation (Lenton et al. 2014). Community-based learning benefits students in gaining important connections and the community partner benefits by getting assistance free of monetary charge (Simons and Cleary 2006; Lenton et al. 2014). The experiences gained during a community-based activity has been shown to teach students more about themselves and their role in 7 the community (Simons and Cleary 2006). By performing short-term projects or activities, students see their contribution and feel accomplished in their impact in the community (Simons and Cleary 2006).  Bridgette Clarkston, a first-year biology professor at the University of British Columbia, is seeking to implement these three alternative means of teaching to benefit students who would generally not have access to research specimens until later years, if at all. By collaborating with Linda Jennings, Assistant Curator of the UBC Herbarium, Beaty Biodiversity Museum (BBM), a ‘BioBlitz’ activity has been developed to provide first-year students with an opportunity to practice hands-on learning with museum specimens as well as benefiting the Herbarium in determining what specimens they have. A BioBlitz is an intensive activity in which groups of scientists and volunteers survey an area to record all species, and the in-person activity was done in the UBC Herbarium, which houses preserved plant specimens for scientific research usage. 151 Students were given the option between the in-person or online activity, and of those choosing to visit the Herbarium, 65 were chosen by lottery. These students learned about collections-based research by exploring biological variation, specimen preservation and documentation in the Herbarium, and inventory research collections in-person at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. The remaining 86 students completed an online version of the activity using the Pacific Northwest Consortium of Herbaria. This report outlines the responses from two surveys, taken before the activity (Pre-Activity survey) and after performing the activity (Post-Activity survey) (Fig. 1).    Figure 1. Flow chart of the project’s process. All students took the Pre-Activity survey, and then completed either the online or in-person activity. Finally, all students took the same Post-Activity Survey.   Our objective is the following: ● Determine the impact of an experiential, research- and community-based activity in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum Herbarium on first-year students’ knowledge and perception of biological diversity and natural history collections.   8 Methods The Pre-Activity and Post-Activity surveys were revised from surveys created for Winter 2017 (Term 1) Science One students performing a similar BioBlitz activity in the UBC Herbarium. Science One is a first-year program incorporating the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics, and their previous activity served as a pilot project and basis for the survey design with Biology 121 students. Biology 121 is a first-year pre-requisite course for many upper-year UBC Science courses, taken by most students in the Faculty of Science. Surveys The Pre-Activity survey was written to determine the students’ knowledge and perception baseline before completing either the online or in-person activity. Several formats of questions were created to encourage a variety of thoughtful responses: ● Multiple-choice questions to determine participants’ previous knowledge of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, and how much they had interacted with the specimens prior to the activity. ● Rating of importance or agreement to gauge the participants’ perceptions of the Museum and its functions. ● Short answer questions to learn more about students’ nuanced expectations before, and experiences after completing the BioBlitz activity.  The Post-Activity survey was written in a similar fashion to the Pre-Activity survey (Appendix Pre-Activity Survey Questions and Post-Activity Survey Questions), in order to compare the impact of the online activity versus the in-person activity, and the effectiveness of both activities in student learning. Some additional questions were included that explicitly considered the students’ opinion of the activity (Appendix Post-Activity Survey Questions). A test-run for the two surveys was performed by the authors under the supervision of Bridgette Clarkston to determine any potentially confusing terminology or phrasing in the surveys, and to refine the activity procedure.   Both surveys were released online via Qualtrics software (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) to all students performing the BioBlitz activity. The Pre-Activity survey was due before the in-person activity was performed and the online activity released to maintain integrity. The number of participants that completed and consented to the Pre-Activity survey was 172. The Post-Activity survey was due within a week of the online activity release date to ensure that the activity was fresh in the students’ minds. A total of 151 participants completed and consented to the Post-Activity survey, with 86 having completed the online activity and 65 having done the in-person activity at the Herbarium.  Analysis  Short-answer student responses were assigned coding categories based on common response types (i.e. making specific reference to the specimen, commenting on specimen diversity or variation, 9 etc.). These categories were created independently by the three report authors, and then discussed together to create logical and consistent categories. This allowed us to address our objective both before and after the activity, as well as compare the outcomes between the online and in-person versions of the activity. Some student responses fell into multiple coding categories based on the detail of the response.  Results for short answer and rating (importance and agreement) questions were collected from the Qualtrics software. Students who completed the online activity were separated from those that participated in the in-person activity at the Herbarium by using a differentiating question in the Post-Activity survey. Percent responses were calculated using the respective number of students (n) for each survey version (Pre-Activity, Post-Activity (online), and Post-Activity (in-person)).  The results from three questions are considered and discussed in this report. Two questions are from only the Post-Activity survey and one is from both the Pre- and Post-Activity surveys. These questions were chosen due to their relevance in addressing the project objective and interesting results. These questions are: Q1. What did you find interesting or surprising about working with the research collection? (Post-Activity; short answer) Q2. I learned or did something during the Beaty BioBlitz activity that will be useful to me in the future (Post-Activity; indicate level of agreement, from strongly disagree to strongly agree) Q3. Consider the following statements about how biological specimens are commonly organized in a museum collection (Pre- and Post-Activity; indicate rank of importance, from not at all important to very important): ○ Specimens are organized according to their genus and species name. ○ Specimens are organized by the date they were collected. ○ Each specimen has its own unique identification number. ○ Species are organized according to who collected them. ○ Species are organized based on their relatedness to each other. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Statistics software (IBM Corp. 2017). An ANOVA was performed for results from Q1 and Q2. Paired t-tests were performed between the results from the Pre-Activity, online Post-Activity, and in-person Post-Activity results for Q3. Significance was determined in three different ways. Firstly, with a calculated F-value greater than the critical value. Secondly, with a p-value less than 0.05. Lastly, with a considerable effect size (ηp2>0.005) for ANOVAs, or 95% confidence intervals that do not cross zero for t-tests (independent or paired). Significant difference between certain groups are presented in graphical figures as the symbols * , ⏀, ⌑, △, a, and b.   10 Results    Figure 2. Question 1, column graph depicting the percentage of responses for each response category to the question “What did you find interesting or surprising working with the research collection” for both online activity participants (red; n=86) and in-person activity participants (orange; n=65). Percentages do not sum to 100% because students had the ability to select multiple response categories or no response. No significant difference for all response categories between online Post-Activity responses and in-person Post-Activity responses (based on statistical analysis of category with largest difference between online and in-person responses (specimen-specific): F(1,149)=0.569, p<0.452, ηp2=0.004).    Responses given by students may have been considered as containing more than one response category, as some answers were more detailed than others. After having completed either the online or in-person activity, students’ responses varied in what they found surprising or interesting (Fig. 2). Most students made direct references to the specimens (i.e. ‘Specimen-specific’), with 57% after the online activity and 52% after the in-person activity. They commented mostly about specimen age, the number in the museum, or the locations they were collected. However, there were also a number of students who made connections about the diversity within a species or genus (i.e. ‘Specimen-comparisons’), with 29% after completing the online activity and 22% after the in-person activity. Students performing the online activity were generally impressed with the organization of the online database (10%), while those completing the in-person activity were surprised at the disorganization of the collections in the museum (6%) (i.e. ‘State of organization’). Some students also made direct references to the BioBlitz activity (6% for both activity versions) (i.e. ‘Activity’), and indicated excitement at being a part of scientific research (13% for online, 2% for in-person) (i.e. ‘Research’). Only 3% of the online activity responses referenced the amount of work that goes into maintaining the Herbarium or the online database (i.e. ‘Type & 11 amount of work’), with no responses in this category from those completing the activity in-person. Percentages do not sum to 100% because students had the ability to select multiple response categories or no response.  There is no significant difference between (and within) the online and in-person activities for the ‘Specimen specific’ response category (F(1,149)=0.569, p<0.452, ηp2=0.004). Similarly, there is also no significant difference between (and within) the online and in-person activities for the ‘Specimen comparisons’ response category (F(1,149)=1.089, p<0.298, ηp2=0.007). Statistical analysis could not be conducted on the other response categories between the two activities as the sample sizes are too small. The lack of significant results is due to the effect size being too small between the activities.      Some examples of answers to question 1 are:   “I didn't expect such a high number of specimens in just British Columbia“ - Specimen specific  “The reality of how much organisms can actually vary within a species.”  - Specimen comparisons  “I found it very interesting to physically see and interact with the specimens.” - Specimen comparisons and activity  “Collecting a specimen seems simpler than I imagined it to be.” - Research  “The amount of organization and steps it takes to collect the specimens and store them.” - Type & amount of work and state of organization   The Herbarium also received the benefit of almost 5,000 specimens counted with approximately 90 minutes of total student time during the activity (Appendix Table 2). 12  Figure 3. Question 2, column graph depicting the percentage of combined agreement (‘Strongly Agree & Agree’ level of agreement) or disagreement (‘Strongly Disagree, Disagree, & Neutral’ level of agreement) responses to the statement “I learned or did something during the Beaty BioBlitz activity that will be useful to me in the future” for both online activity participants (red; n=86) and in-person activity participants (orange; n=65). The symbols *, ⏀, ⌑, △, a, and b indicate  significantly different groupings. Significant difference between combined agreement and combined disagreement (‘neutral’, ‘disagree’, ‘strongly disagree’ levels of agreement) for both activities (online: (t(8)=104.355, p<0.001, 95% CI [32.271, 33.729]); in-person: (t(8)=104.355, p<0.001, 95% CI [81.564, 81.559]), as well as if activity versions combined (t(8)=104.355, p<0.001, 95% CI [112.228, 126.172]). Significant difference between online and in-person activities for the combined agreement ((t(8)=36.148, p<0.001, 95% CI [-29.786, -26.214]) and combined disagreement (t(8)=32.275, p<0.001, 95% CI [23.214, 26.786]).    More students agreed that ‘[they] learned or did something during the Beaty BioBlitz activity that will be useful to [them] in the future’ after completing the in-person activity than those who did the online version (Fig. 3). In total, 93% of students who participated in the in-person activity either strongly agreed (41%) or agreed (52%) with the statement, with none of the students strongly disagreeing (Appendix Fig. 1). Of the students who participated in the online activity, 66% either agreed (39%) or strongly agreed (27%) that they learned something useful after completing the BioBlitz. Agreement is much higher with those having completed the in-person activity compared to those who completed the online activity. Of the in-person responses, 5% of students were neutral, 2% of students disagreed, and no students indicated that they strongly disagreed with the statement. In addition, of the online activity participants, 23% were neutral, and 10% either disagreed (8%) or strongly disagreed (2%).   Without grouping the levels of agreement, the results for this survey question can only be considered as descriptive since statistical analysis did not yield a significant difference between the activities for any individual level of agreement (F(8)=3.200, p<0.111, 95% CI [-15.786, -12.214]) (Appendix Fig. 1). In other words, by independently considering the categories of “Strongly Agree”, “Agree”, “Neutral”, “Disagree”, and “Strongly Disagree”, there is no significant difference between any 13 of the five categories. However, if the agreement levels of ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ are combined (combined agreement), there is a significant difference between the online and in-person activity results (t(8)=36.148, p<0.001, 95% CI [-29.786, -26.214]). Similarly, if the agreement levels of ‘neutral’, ‘disagree’, and ‘strongly disagree’ are combined (combined disagreement), there is a significant difference between the online and in-person activity results (t(8)=32.275, p<0.001, 95% CI [23.214, 26.786]).   Additionally, the responses for both activities tends toward the ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ levels of agreement. The amount of combined agreement responses are significantly greater than the combined disagreement responses from the in-person activity participants (t(8)=104.355, p<0.001, 95% CI [81.564, 81.559]) as well as from the online activity participants (t(8)=104.355, p<0.001, 95% CI [32.271, 33.729]). If the two activity types (online and in-person) are combined, there is also a significant difference between responses that are in agreement (‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’) than those that do not (‘neutral’, ‘disagree’, and ‘strongly disagree’) (t(8)=104.355, p<0.001, 95% CI [112.228, 126.172]).      14  Figure 4. Question 3, column graph depicting the percentage of ‘very important’ responses for each statement after completion of the Pre-Activity survey (blue; n=172) and the Post-Activity survey (online participants (n=86) in red and in-person (n=65) participants in orange). The symbols *, ⏀, a, and b indicate significantly different groupings. Significant difference for all statements between Pre-Activity and online Post-Activity responses (t(4)=6.556, p<0.003, 95% CI [-16.798, -6.802), as well as between Pre-Activity and in-person Post-Activity responses (t(4)=5.766, p<0.004, 95% CI [-23.704, -8.296]). No significant difference between the online and in-person Post-Activity responses when all statements are considered (t(4)=1.389, p<0.237, 95% CI [-12.594, 4.194]). Significant difference between between online and in-person Post-Activity responses for the statement ‘species are organized according to who collected them’ (t(8)=18.074, p<0.001, 95% CI [-15.786, -12.214]).   After both the online and in-person activities, more students indicated a higher importance rating for all the statements concerning the organization of biological specimens in a museum collection (Fig. 4). The higher percentage of online Post-Activity responses in comparison to the Pre-Activity responses is significant when considering all the statements (t(4)=6.556, p<0.003, 95% CI [-16.798, -6.802]). Likewise, the higher percentage of in-person Post-Activity responses in comparison to the Pre-Activity responses is significant when considering all the statements (t(4)=5.766, p<0.004, 95% CI [-23.704, -8.296]). More simply, after completing the either activity, students found all means of organization more important than they previously thought. There is no significant difference between the online and in-person Post-Activity responses when all statements are considered (t(4)=1.389, p<0.237, 95% CI [-12.594, 4.194]).   ‘Very important’ responses to the statement ‘species are organized according to who collected them’ is particularly interesting to examine. This statement has the least ‘very important’ responses by students before taking the activity (15%). However, after completing either activity, students identified the organization of specimens by collector in a museum collection as ‘very important’ (21% for online, 35% for in-person). In addition, significantly more students that completed the activity in-person at the herbarium indicated that this method of organization is ‘very important’ compared to those that completed the activity online (t(8)=18.074, p<0.001, 95% CI [-15.786, -12.214]). 15 Discussion  Regarding the survey question “What did you find interesting or surprising about working with the research specimens?”, students who participated in the online activity generally had a higher proportion of answers that were in the categories ‘Specimen-specific’ and ‘Specimen comparisons’ than did the students who participated in the in-person activity (Fig. 2). It is possible that this is due to the fact that in the online activity, students were mainly exposed to scans of specimens that they would observe and measure, with less of an influence from community-based learning. The online activity seems to also have made more of an impact on the students’ notions about research, with 13% of students having completed the online activity mentioning research compared to only 2% of students who did the in-person activity (Fig. 2). This could be due to the background information for the online activity containing content that emphasized research. During the in-person activity, there were many different components emphasized, with one of which being the UBC Herbarium’s usage in research. However, there is no statistical difference between the activity versions for any of the response categories, and both activities were similarly research-based. A larger sample size and possible revisions of response categories could be applied for future analysis.  Students who did the activity in the Herbarium often had comments about the lack of organization in the BBM Herbarium, whereas the students who did the online activity mentioned how well-organized the database appeared to be. The online activity seems to provide a somewhat false sense of organization throughout the museum, because these students are not learning about the physical aspects of it. The students who participated in the in-person activity saw the folders and were involved in organizing them and adding information to the database, which likely differentially impacted them. This distinction emphasizes the critical role of having a community-based activity, as it more effectively translates information about real scientific issues, and benefits the BBM Herbarium as the community partner in improving organization with student help.  Results for the statement ‘I learned or did something during the Beaty BioBlitz activity that will be useful to me in the future’ reflect an overall higher proportion of students gaining relevant and important experience throughout the in-person activity than the online activity (Fig. 3). This indicates that the experiential and research-based components of the activity had a positive impact on participants of both the online and in-person activity versions. However, more participants of the community-based activity in the Herbarium (in-person) agreed to this statement, showing the additional positive impact of having the activity be community-based. Simply visiting museums has been shown to produce a higher level of interest in the contents of said museum (Greene et al. 2014). Therefore, it is likely that visiting the Herbarium and taking part in the cataloguing process had a positive effect on the students’ perceptions of biology. Many students also indicated in their responses that they found the activity to be fun, and not as tedious as they had expected it to be. Having access to research specimens that are typically locked behind cabinets provides students with the opportunity to learn useful skills for the future.  The students’ opinions about levels of importance of the different organizational criteria changed after completing both the in-person and online activities (Fig. 4). It is notable that the 16 proportion of students who ranked the organizational categories as ‘very important’ increased for every category by students who completed either the online or in-person activity. It appears that, by visiting the Herbarium or completing the online herbarium-based activity, students came to understand that organization in terms of all of the criteria mentioned were more important than they had once thought. After the in-person activity, students found that organizing by collector was more important when compared to students that completed the online activity. This difference is likely due to the portion of the activity wherein students interpreted specimen labels and noted the many different pieces of information regarding each specimen, which included the name of the person who collected the specimen.    17 Conclusions ● In response to the question “What did you find interesting or surprising about working with the research specimens?”, many students made specific comments regarding the specimens and mentioned the morphological variation between members of the same species (Fig. 2). These answers showcase that the students have learned about biological diversity through the activities, both online and in-person, thus emphasizing the positive impact of experiential learning.  ● Student interaction with museums has been shown to increase their interest (Greene et al. 2014), and this appears to be the case for the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC, based on student survey responses. 93% of students who participated in the in-person activity thought that the experience of the activity would be useful to them in the future compared to those who completed the activity online, with only 66% agreeing (Fig. 3). This is evidence of a positive impact of the research- and community-based BioBlitz activity that was conducted in the UBC Herbarium. ● Students improved their knowledge about the organizational criteria used in natural history museums, specifically the Herbarium collections in the BBM (Fig. 4). A higher percentage of students indicated that it is ‘very important’ to organize specimens by genus and species names, collection date, unique identification number, collector, and relatedness to other specimens after completing either activity when compared to the Pre-Activity results. Students that participated in the in-person activity at the Herbarium learned more about organization in research, as indicated by a higher proportion of responses as ‘very important’ for organizing specimens by who collected them than students that completed the online version. Only 15% of Pre-Activity responses indicated this organizational method as ‘very important’, compared to 21% after the online activity and 35% after the in-person activity.  ● From the conclusions above, it can be seen that the BIOL 121 students benefited from doing this community-based activity. The UBC Herbarium also received benefit as a community partner from approximately 90 total minutes worth of the activity (Appendix Table 2). The results presented in this report, as well as the benefits provided to the UBC Herbarium, indicate that this experiential, research-based, and community-based BioBlitz activity was successful and worthy of continued support.     18 Acknowledgments We would like to graciously thank Tara Ivanochko, Bridgette Clarkston, Linda Jennings, Gerald Tembrevilla, and Pam Kalas for all of their assistance with this project. Additionally, we’d like to acknowledge that this project was financially supported by the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). We could not have done this without all of your support.   References Bastiaens, E., van Tilburg, J., and van Merriënboer, J. (2017). Research-Based Learning: Case Studies from Maastricht University. Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Print. (pp. 121-134.)  Greene, J.P., Kisida, B., and Bowen, D.H. (2014). The Educational Value of Field Trips. Education Next. 14(1), 78-86.  IBM Corp. Released 2017. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 25.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.  Katula, R. and Threnhauser, E. (1999). Experiential education in the undergraduate curriculum. Communication Education. 48(3): 238-255.   Lenton, R., Sidhu, R., Kaur, S., Conrad, M., Kennedy, B., Munro, Y., and Smith, R. (2014). Community Service Learning and Community-Based Learning as Approaches to Enhancing University Service Learning. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Print. (pp. 8-11.)  Moon, J.A. (2006). A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: theory and practice. New York, NY. Print.  The survey data for this paper was generated using Qualtrics software, Version January 2018 to March 2018 of Qualtrics. Copyright © 2018 Qualtrics. Qualtrics and all other Qualtrics product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of Qualtrics, Provo, UT, USA. https://www.qualtrics.com  Simons, L. and Cleary, B. (2006). The Influence of Service Learning on Students' Personal and Social Development. College Teaching. 54(4): 307-319.  Susman, K.M. (2015). Discovery-Based Learning in the Life Sciences. Hoboken, NJ. Print. (pp. 33-62.)        19 Appendix Pre-Activity Survey Questions  1a. Have you visited the Beaty Biodiversity Museum before? ● Yes, once ● Yes, more than once ● No (Go to Q2)  If yes, under what circumstance(s)? ● Imagine day tour ● Activity for UBC class ● Attended lecture/talk ● Browsed museum ● High school trip ● Other: ______________________________________  If yes, have you seen inside the research collection cabinets (in other words, have the cabinets been opened for you)? ● Yes ● No  1b. What was the most important thing you took away from your previous visit(s) to this museum?    2. What do you expect to gain from your visit to the Beaty Museum as part of your BIOL 121 course?    3. Think about the role(s) of a natural history museum. How important (not at all important, less important, neutral, important, very important) is it to: ● Teach visitors about the history of nature and the evolution of life. ● Teach visitors about current issues in science. ● Maintain collections of biological specimens for scientific research. ● Showcase examples of Earth’s biological diversity (e.g., specific ecosystems or species). ● Allow visitors to see species they couldn’t see otherwise. ● Create curiosity and wonder about the natural world. ● Document historical records of biodiversity.  Any other roles you feel are important?   4. Think about how biological specimens are commonly organized in a museum collection. How important (not at all important, less important, neutral, important, very important) is it that: ● Specimens are organized according to their genus and species names. ● Specimens are organized by the date they were collected. 20 ● Each specimen has its own unique identification number. ● Species are organized according to who collected them. ● Species are organized based on their relatedness to each other.  Other ways you think are important?   5. How important (not at all important, less important, neutral, important, very important) are the following reasons for why a natural history museum would want to have more than one specimen, or even many specimens, from a single species.  ● Capture the natural variation in physical features such as shape, size, colour, etc. ● More than one specimen is necessary in order to include all life stages for some species. ● Include specimens from a variety of locations (region, country, continent, etc.) ● Extra specimens can be sold to collectors or other museums or even at the gift shop. ● Include specimens from different dates (seasons, decades, etc. ● Include specimens from a variety of habitats. ● In case a specimen is lost or damaged, they have a replacement specimen.  Other reasons you think are important?  6. Please indicate your response (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree) to the following statements: ● Individuals from the same species can have different features (like size or colour) when they live in DIFFERENT environments. ● Individuals from the same species can have different features (like size or colour) when they live in the SAME environment.  7. What programs or majors are you considering for your undergrad degree? Click as many as you can. ● Biology (BSc) ● Computer Science (BSc) ● Earth and Ocean Sciences (BSc) ● Environmental Science (BSc) ● Geology (BSc) ● Integrated Studies (BSc) ● Microbiology & Immunology (BSc) ● Applied Biology (BSAB) ● Kinesiology (BKin) ● Natural Resources Conservation (BSCN) ● Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF) ● Food, Nutrition and Health (BSFN) ● Psychology (BA) ● Geography (BA) ● Other: ______________________________________    21 Post-Activity Survey Questions  1a. What version of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum did you complete? ● Online ● In-person at the herbarium  1b. What is one question or curiosity you have about the Beaty Biodiversity Museum (or natural history in general) after doing this activity?   2. What did you find interesting or surprising about working with the research specimens?   3. What did you find challenging or confusing about working with the research specimens?   4. Think about the role(s) of a natural history museum. How important (not at all important, less important, neutral, important, very important) is it to...  ● Teach visitors about the history of nature and the evolution of life. ● Teach visitors about current issues in science. ● Maintain collections of biological specimens for scientific research. ● Showcase examples of Earth’s biological diversity (e.g., specific ecosystems or species). ● Allow visitors to see species they couldn’t see otherwise. ● Create curiosity and wonder about the natural world. ● Document historical records of biodiversity.  Any other roles you feel are important?   5. Think about how biological specimens are commonly organized in a museum collection. How important (not at all important, less important, neutral, important, very important) is it that...  ● Specimens are organized according to their genus and species names. ● Specimens are organized by the date they were collected. ● Each specimen has its own unique identification number. ● Species are organized according to who collected them. ● Species are organized based on their relatedness to each other.  Other ways you think are important?   6. How important (not at all important, less important, neutral, important, very important) are the following reasons for why a natural history museum would want to have more than one specimen, or even many specimens, from a single species.  ● Capture the natural variation in physical features such as shape, size, colour, etc. ● More than one specimen is necessary in order to include all life stages for some species. ● Include specimens from a variety of locations (region, country, continent, etc.) ● Extra specimens can be sold to collectors or other museums or even at the gift shop. 22 ● Include specimens from different dates (seasons, decades, etc. ● Include specimens from a variety of habitats. ● In case a specimen is lost or damaged, they have a replacement specimen.  Other reasons you think are important?   7a. Please indicate your response (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree) to the following statement: ● I learned or did something during the Beaty BioBlitz activity that will be useful to me in the future.   If you strongly agree/agree, can you elaborate?  7b. Please indicate your response (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree) to the following statement: ● Five years from now, I will remember this Beaty BioBlitz activity.  8. Has your interest in biology changed since completing the BioBlitz activity? ● Yes If yes, how so?  ● No If no, why not?  9. What programs or majors are you considering for your undergrad degree? Click up to three choices. ● Biology (BSc) ● Computer Science (BSc) ● Earth and Ocean Sciences (BSc) ● Environmental Science (BSc) ● Geology (BSc) ● Integrated Studies (BSc) ● Microbiology & Immunology (BSc) ● Applied Biology (BSAB) ● Kinesiology (BKin) ● Natural Resources Conservation (BSCN) ● Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF) ● Food, Nutrition and Health (BSFN) ● Psychology (BA) ● Geography (BA) ● Other: ______________________________________        23 In-Person Activity Sheet  24    25 Additional Tables and Figures  Appendix Table 1. Expanded count data of responses (level of agreement, ranging from very important to not at all important) from the Pre-Activity and Post-Activity (in-person and online students) surveys for each statement concerning how biological specimens are organized in a museum collection. The ‘very important’ data was used to create Figure 3.   Specimens organized by genus and species name Organized by the collection date  Each has its own unique ID number Organized by who collected them Organized based on relatedness to each other Pre-Activity Very Important 87 48 76 22 73 (n=172) Important 53 46 52 33 61  Neutral 7 35 13 37 13  Less Important 2 19 8 40 3  Not at all important 1 2 1 18 0 In-Person  Very Important 47 27 47 22 37 Post-Activity Important 15 25 16 17 24 (n=65) Neutral 1 8 0 14 2  Less Important 0 3 0 8 0  Not at all important 0 0 0 2 0 Online  Very Important 64 36 58 20 50 Post-Activity Important 20 36 24 31 30 (n=86) Neutral 2 9 4 17 4  Less Important 0 5 0 16 2  Not at all important 0 0 0 2 0     Appendix Table 2. Number of specimens counted by 68 BIOL 121 students over 3 activity sessions in the BBM Herbarium, with a total time of approximately 90 minutes of student help. Students found 53 specimens not previously recorded in the database. The estimated time to inventory the whole algae collection, with the help of students, is 120 hours.   Inventoried specimens Number counted Percent of database Algae (Saccharina, Laminaria, Macrocystis) 1,295 3.35% Fern 3,628 - Total 4,923 (53 new) - 26  Appendix Figure 1. Question 2, column graph depicting the percentage of agreement responses to the statement “I learned or did something during the Beaty BioBlitz activity that will be useful to me in the future” for both online activity participants (red; n=86) and in-person activity participants (orange; n=65). No significant difference between independent levels of agreement for both activity versions (F(8)=3.200, p<0.111, 95% CI [-15.786, -12.214]).  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.52966.1-0366159/manifest

Comment

Related Items