Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Ickert-Bond, Steffi [1], Zaborac-Reed, Stephanie [2], Webb, Campbell O [3].

Additional innovations in teaching a classic flora class asynchronously: virtual herbarium tour, quiz cabinets and taxon concepts.

When making a leap into the asynchronous delivery for an organismal biology course, the fact remains botanists have to look at real plants, but the expertise can be communicated over distance.  In addition to video dissections, and Learning Glass videos we have reported on previously, we have added a few new elements for a biology major’s course BIOL331 - Systematic Botany at the University of Alaska  Fairbanks. For the lab section of the course, a virtual herbarium tour in the online annotation platform ThingLink was developed https://www.thinglink.com/scene/1406090479749038081. Students can explore herbarium specimen images in cabinets that are organized following the Angiosperm Phylogeny Working Group III by order and family. Within the cabinets the digitized specimens are recoverable by their scientific names. Each of the specimens are annotated with key characteristics and microphotographic images to enable students to key out these plants as they would in the traditional face-to face lab based on the physical specimens. Using dichotomous keys students were able to key out unknown specimens in a ‘quiz cabinet’ based on annotated specimen images in ThinkLink. We also developed an assignment on Taxon concept mapping. Plants can be difficult to be consistently identified over time due to differing taxonomic views on the delimitation of a species by different authors.  Taxon concepts, which capture not just the names of plants, but also the history of how those names were used by taxonomists. Using a single name to aggregate herbarium specimens for distribution maps, when that name has differing circumscriptions will draw together a set of collections that do not represent a single coherent hypothesis of a taxon’s boundaries.  This could lead to major problems when mapping taxon distributions especially when searching for range shifts over time. Students in BIOL331 teamed up in groups of three and were given a taxonomic aggregate based on the Panarctic Flora (http://panarcticflora.org/) to use in the assignment. They entered data into a web app we created for taxon concept mapping (github.com/akflora/tcm).  Students commented positively on both the virtual herbarium, the quiz cabinet and the taxon concept assignment as valuable elements of the learning process in this asynchronously delivered flora class.

Related Links:
Homepage of Steffi Ickert-Bond, Teaching subpage

1 - University Of Alaska Fairbanks, Herbarium (ALA) And Dept. Of Biology And Wildlife, University Of Alaska Fairbanks, 1962 Yukon Dr., Fairbanks, AK, 99775, United States
2 - University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 757500, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA
3 - University of Alaska Fairbanks, Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK, 99775, USA

flora class
taxon concept mapping
asynchronous delivery
virtual herbarium tour .

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: EO2003
Abstract ID:695
Candidate for Awards:None

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