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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Notes

Improving a Field School Curriculum Using Modularized Lessons and Authentic Case-Based Learning


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 36 No. 1, p. 11-18
    Received: May 29, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): reav@unbc.ca
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  1. Roy V. Rea *a and
  2. Dexter P. Hodderb
  1. a Ecosystem Science and Management Program, Univ. of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9
    b John Prince Research Forest, Univ. of Northern British Columbia, P.O. Box 2378, Fort St. James, BC, VOJ 1PO


University course evaluations are replete with student comments expressing frustration with taking time out of work, paying money for, and putting energy into field education projects that lack authentic “real-world” problem-solving objectives. Here, we describe a model for field school education that borrows on pedagogical tools such as problem-based learning, hands-on instruction, field-based education, and teaching through research, and employs modularized teaching in a way that incorporates numerous resource management issues and values into a case study that addresses an authentic forest management issue. In presenting the model, we present data from student comments and course evaluations on the effectiveness of our approach and describe and underscore those elements that have served as the guiding force in refining the field school curriculum that we currently use at the University of Northern British Columbia. Additionally, we make recommendations on how to integrate other key elements into the curriculum that appear to be critical for conducting a successful field school.

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Copyright © 2007. Copyright © 2007 by the American Society of Agronomy