Integrating Authentic Scientific Research in a Conservation Course–Based Undergraduate Research Experience

Amanda E. Sorensen, Lucía Corral, Jenny M. Dauer, Joseph J. Fontaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Core Ideas: Field-based conservation CUREs can engage more students in authentic research. Model-based pedagogy in CUREs allows students to grapple with complexity of scientific research. Post CURE, student assessment shows science skill gains and clarity in professional goals. Post CURE, students are more likely to talk with friends, family, or the public about wildlife conservation. Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have been developed to overcome barriers including students in research. However, there are few examples of CUREs that take place in a conservation and natural resource context with students engaging in field research. Here, we highlight the development of a conservation-focused CURE integrated to a research program, research benefits, student self-assessment of learning, and perception of the CURE. With the additional data, researchers were able to refine species distribution models and facilitate management decisions. Most students reported gains in their scientific skills, felt they had engaged in meaningful, real-world research. In student reflections on how this experience helped clarify their professional intentions, many reported being more likely to enroll in graduate programs and seek employment related to science. Also interesting was all students reported being more likely to talk with friends, family, or the public about wildlife conservation issues after participating, indicating that courses like this can have effects beyond the classroom, empowering students to be advocates and translators of science. Field-based, conservation-focused CUREs can create meaningful conservation and natural resource experiences with authentic scientific teaching practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNatural Sciences Education
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Plant Science
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science
  • Soil Science
  • Education

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