#SUNYCIT Session: Ecology and Earth Science Virtual Field Experiences OERs – Expanding Access to Field Based Research Techniques for Students at a Distance

#SUNYCIT Session: Ecology and Earth Science Virtual Field Experiences OERs - Expanding Access to Field Based Research Techniques for Students at a Distance

During this SUNY Conference for Instruction and Technology presentation, instructors at Empire State College explain how they created virtual field experiences using open educational resources for their Ecology and Earth Science students.Nathan Whitley-Grassi, Audeliz Matias, and Kevin Woo from Empire State College explained that they needed to create a field course with hands-on experience for primarily non-traditional students who were learning at a distance.

Their course lasts 8 weeks and is online except for a 3-day field trip. They explained it is difficult to replicate the hands-on portion of such a course. In their course, they tried to expand access to scientific field-based research techniques for students learning at a distance or with other barriers to access.

They developed Open Educational Resources (OER) based on experiments they do in the lab. In developing the OERs, they wanted to have students demonstrate skills. They also wanted to make the OERs versatile and reusable. They wanted to be able to share OERs with other educators and developed an OER repository. They are also working to share content with Merlot.

They created 6 different OERs that were engaging and accessible. They used mobile technology in terms of digital probes, GPS units, and data collection tools as part of the course. Students collected data and then presented finding virtually.

Lessons learned

It was harder to do than originally thought. The team called in an instructional designer to help develop the document. They Instructional Designer also helped with project management.

They also experienced increased interaction and collaboration with principle investigators who came from different backgrounds.

OERs have to be quite detailed. OERs should be easy to replicate. Details are needed for key elements, technology used, activities and materials, and instructional design.

This was an interesting and important presentation. I personally would have liked to see the actual materials used.

Additional Reading

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube Skype 

One thought on “#SUNYCIT Session: Ecology and Earth Science Virtual Field Experiences OERs – Expanding Access to Field Based Research Techniques for Students at a Distance

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *