By Jill Nugent, PhD student, Texas Tech University
“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge” ~Carl Sagan
In the landscape of online higher education, faculty seek to engage students in learning science content and process skills and also aim to foster science literacy for all students.Citizen science can provide a great modality to facilitate student engagement and student learning in science.
In addition, the online science lab course can be a natural fit for implementing citizen science programs into the existing curriculum, and citizen science programs offer an excellent option for open-ended lab and field investigations.
Since citizen science projects typically involve real-world issues, questioning, making observations, investigating, monitoring, recording evidence, and more, they can help to model the true nature of science and can immerse students in the exciting process of science.
Below are helpful websites that provide information on existing citizen science projects that can easily be implemented into the online science lab experience:
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology Citizen Science Projects
- Citizen Science Central: Find a Project
- Journey North: a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change
- SciStarter searchable online project database
- In addition, you might even have an aspect of your own scientific research that could lend itself well to a citizen science project to implement with your own students!
Some more additional exemplary resources for further reading on citizen science include the following publications:
- Citizen Science: Public Participation in Environmental Research
- Guide to Citizen Science, available online
- Birds, Butterflies, Bullfrogs, and Beyond: bring Biology to Life through Citizen Science, Coming Soon in 2013 from NSTA Press and Cornell Press!
Filed under: science education