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The Use of Online Citizen-Science Projects to Provide Experiential Learning Opportunities for Nonmajor Science Students

    Author: Donna M. Kridelbaugh1
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    Affiliations: 1: Science Mentor Consulting, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 March 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: 20 Windhaven Ln, Oak Ridge, TN 37830. Phone: 573-587-2741. E-mail: donna@sciencementor.me
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 105-106. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1022
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    Abstract:

    Citizen science is becoming even more accessible to the general public through technological advances in the development of mobile applications, facilitating information dissemination and data collection. With the advent of “big data,” many citizen-science projects designed to help researchers sift through piles of research data now exist entirely online, either in the form of playing a game or via other digital avenues. Recent trends in citizen science have also focused on “crowdsourcing” solutions from the general public to help solve societal issues, often requiring nothing more than brainstorming and a computer to submit ideas. Online citizen science thus provides an excellent platform to expand the accessibility of experiential learning opportunities for a broad range of nonmajor science students at institutions with limited resources (e.g., community colleges). I created an activity for a general microbiology lecture to engage students in hands-on experiences via participation in online citizen-science projects. The objectives of the assignment were for students to: 1) understand that everyone can be a scientist; 2) learn to be creative and innovative in designing solutions to health and science challenges; and 3) further practice science communication skills with a written report. This activity is designed for introductory science courses with nonmajor science students who have limited opportunities to participate in undergraduate research experiences.

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References & Citations

1. American Association of Community Colleges20152015 community college fast facts[Online.] www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/Pages/fastfactsfactsheet.aspxAccessed 3 August 2015
2. American Society for Microbiology2012ASM recommended curriculum guidelines for undergraduate microbiology education[Online.] www.asm.org/images/Education/FINAL_Curriculum_Guidelines_w_title_page.pdfAccessed 3 August 2015
3. Bonney R, et al2009Citizen science: a developing tool for expanding science knowledge and scientific literacyBioScience5997798410.1525/bio.2009.59.11.9 http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/bio.2009.59.11.9
4. Silvertown J2009A new dawn for citizen scienceTREE24946747119586682
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2016-03-01
2017-07-26

Abstract:

Citizen science is becoming even more accessible to the general public through technological advances in the development of mobile applications, facilitating information dissemination and data collection. With the advent of “big data,” many citizen-science projects designed to help researchers sift through piles of research data now exist entirely online, either in the form of playing a game or via other digital avenues. Recent trends in citizen science have also focused on “crowdsourcing” solutions from the general public to help solve societal issues, often requiring nothing more than brainstorming and a computer to submit ideas. Online citizen science thus provides an excellent platform to expand the accessibility of experiential learning opportunities for a broad range of nonmajor science students at institutions with limited resources (e.g., community colleges). I created an activity for a general microbiology lecture to engage students in hands-on experiences via participation in online citizen-science projects. The objectives of the assignment were for students to: 1) understand that everyone can be a scientist; 2) learn to be creative and innovative in designing solutions to health and science challenges; and 3) further practice science communication skills with a written report. This activity is designed for introductory science courses with nonmajor science students who have limited opportunities to participate in undergraduate research experiences.

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