Shaping the future of undergrad biology education


By EEB
Jul 23, 2013 Bookmark and Share

Ong binoculars

Professor Phil Myers and Tanya Dewey were invited to participate in the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education meeting in Washington, D.C. in August 2013.

The abstract Myers and Dewey submitted to the American Association for the Advancement of Science was selected, resulting in the invitation to the conference, which runs from Wednesday, August 28 - Friday, August 30.

“This is a great honor and we are looking forward to the interesting and compelling conversations that will occur there,” said Dewey, a research program officer for the Animal Diversity Web. “By being invited to the 2013 Vision and Change Meeting, we will be part of conversations on what the future of undergraduate biology education should look like.” Myers was one of the creators of the ADW and is a curator of mammals in the Museum of Zoology.

Partners in the Vision and Change initiative include: the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity (TWD); Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The Animal Diversity Web was constructed to enable active student exploration of real natural history data, supporting critical goals identified by the Vision and Change Initiative (AAAS, 2009). The ADW has been built since 1995 with student contributions of natural history information that are reviewed for accuracy and incorporated into a deeply structured database that allows flexible re-use. The result is one of the most widely used natural history databases online globally, with nearly 4,000 detailed taxon descriptions, and a wide user base, with over one million page views and nearly 300,000 site visitors monthly. Over 70 percent of site visitors use the ADW for educational purposes. The ADW is the only natural history database online that allows flexible querying of all data, making it possible for students and researchers to test hypotheses and replicate patterns of organismal diversity on their own.

ADW data are used to support undergraduate biology education in several ways. ADW species account contributions have become an important part of many organismal biology courses. The ADW interacts directly with over 60 faculty at almost 60 institutions across North America to provide engaging educational experiences that align with curricula in organismal biology courses.

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Myers, Philip

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