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Getting Your Hands Dirty Field Courses at Athabasca University Field Courses at Athabasca University Robert Holmberg 16 May 2005 Alberta Introductory Biology.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting Your Hands Dirty Field Courses at Athabasca University Field Courses at Athabasca University Robert Holmberg 16 May 2005 Alberta Introductory Biology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting Your Hands Dirty Field Courses at Athabasca University Field Courses at Athabasca University Robert Holmberg 16 May 2005 Alberta Introductory Biology Association Robert Holmberg 16 May 2005 Alberta Introductory Biology Association

2 Science = study of real things in a time frame = study of real things in a time frame

3 Biology = study of living organisms in their natural habitats = study of living organisms in their natural habitats

4 Abstractions of Biological Reality Abstractions of Biological Reality

5 Abstractions of Biological Reality 1. Live organisms in captivity

6 2. Dead organisms & tissues Abstractions of Biological Reality

7 3. Photographs & videos Abstractions of Biological Reality

8 4. Drawings & simulations Abstractions of Biological Reality

9 5. Text & oral descriptions Abstractions of Biological Reality

10 But now a few words about my sponsor …

11 primarily distance education continuous enrolments + students work at own pace = asynchronous delivery

12 575 courses, 23 degree programs 29,542 students 56,784 course registrations 106 full-time part-time faculty part- time tutors * 2004 data

13 Student Ages

14 * 2004 data Student Distribution

15 Field Components Compulsory BIOL 321: Wild Flowers BIOL 345: Ecology Compulsory BIOL 321: Wild Flowers BIOL 345: Ecology Optional BIOL 201: World Ecology* BIOL 206: Biological Laboratories* BIOL 342: Animal Behaviour* BIOL 495/6: Biology Projects Optional BIOL 201: World Ecology* BIOL 206: Biological Laboratories* BIOL 342: Animal Behaviour* BIOL 495/6: Biology Projects

16 BIOL 321: = plant taxonomy 3-credit, 2nd year 9-day field workshop plant collection Wild Flowers

17 T. (Lochan) S. Bakshi

18 U of Cs Kananaskis Field Station – Barrier Lake

19 Q: Why go to the mountains for flowers? A: differences in flowering dates at different altitudes

20 My question: Why go to the mountains in summer if this is what you get ?

21 started in 1986 held 16 times since Wild Flowers Workshop

22 Number of students / year ~12 (range = 8-19)

23 Workshop = field work … … and lab work.

24 One limitation = lab space

25 Distribution of Students of BIOL 321: Wild Flowers

26 3-credit, 2nd year 4 home labs 4-day workshop

27 Home Labs Temperatures and Microclimates Intra- and Interspecific Competition Predator-Prey Modeling Sampling with Quadrats Temperatures and Microclimates Intra- and Interspecific Competition Predator-Prey Modeling Sampling with Quadrats

28 Field Ecology Workshop Just some dumb bunny Just some dumb bunny first run 1976 as an option for BIOL 201 Ministik Hills Field Study Centre, Tofield U of Cs Kananaskis Centre for Environmental Research first run 1976 as an option for BIOL 201 Ministik Hills Field Study Centre, Tofield U of Cs Kananaskis Centre for Environmental Research

29 Field Ecology Workshop now at our headquarters in Athabasca

30 Habitat 1: meadow

31 Habitat 2: forest

32 Habitat 3: lentic (pond & lake) Habitat 3: lentic (pond & lake)

33 Habitat 4: lotic (river & stream)

34 Day by Day Schedule & Objectives

35 Day 1: Physical Factors instruments - precision vs. accuracy temperature water/humidity nutrients of soil & water e.g. N, P, K wind/current pH O 2 & CO 2

36 Day 2: Terrestrial Producers quadrats & transects productivity collection & preservation identification ecological terminology

37 Day 3: Terrestrial Consumers Day 3: Terrestrial Consumers sampling methods (various nets & traps) ethics & legalities of collecting preservation & identification kinds of consumers trophic levels

38 Day 4: Aquatic Consumers & Summary Day 4: Aquatic Consumers & Summary sampling methods preservation & identification food chains & webs

39 Medical Emergencies

40 Determining Students Skills Prior to the Workshop

41 BIOL 495/6: Biology Projects 3-credits each, 4 th year = undergraduate thesis student initiated & designed usually external project supervisor mainly library projects some lab and field projects 3-credits each, 4 th year = undergraduate thesis student initiated & designed usually external project supervisor mainly library projects some lab and field projects

42 Biology Projects Conducted in the Field bee behaviour duck nesting goose feces ptarmigan feeding trout populations plants of river delta bee behaviour duck nesting goose feces ptarmigan feeding trout populations plants of river delta

43 Biology Courses at AU BIOL 235 Human Anatomy & Physiology 526 None BIOL 204 Principles of Biology I 342 Home BIOL 230 Human Physiology 280 None BIOL 401 Cell Biology 92 None BIOL 341 Human Genetics 88 Home BIOL 205 Principles of Biology II 73 Home BIOL 325 Microbiology 71 4 day lab BIOL 345Ecology12 4 day field BIOL 321Wild Flowers0 8 day field BIOL 495/6 Biology Projects 2 Optional * 2004 data

44 Contact Robert Holmberg Centre for Science Athabasca University Athabasca, Alberta T9S 3A3 Telephone: Robert Holmberg Centre for Science Athabasca University Athabasca, Alberta T9S 3A3 Telephone:


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