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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Garrett, Patrick Charles [1], Hoven, Brian M. [2], Peebles-Spencer, Jessica [3], Bowen, Anna [4].

Developing dichotomous keys based on local flora: Improving student learning and increasing engagement in an introductory botany course.

Field botany is an elective course taught by autonomous graduate student instructors and designed to meet one general education laboratory science requirement in the Global Miami Plan for Liberal Education at Miami University. This course utilizes experience-based learning to provide an interpretive introduction to botanical science. The traditional approach to teaching field courses is to utilize commercially available guides to teach, identify, and organize course content. Rarely are field guides specifically designed for restricted geographic regions, resulting in students being required to purchase multiple expensive and bulky guides full of redundant information. Many of these resources contain complex vocabulary and outdated species classifications, presented in formats that are inaccessible to novices. For this project, we created a dichotomous key with a restricted species list specifically designed for the Miami University and surrounding areas. Utilizing simple and engaging language and an intuitive format, we made the guide more accessible to novices. Our field guide drastically reduces the bulk and cost of materials students need for in-the-field learning, and incorporates a notebook for student sketches of each species encountered. By creating a new textbook tailored to our students’ specific needs, we created a more effective learning tool for students enrolled in field botany. This method could easily be adapted for other field classes at other institutions.

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1 - Miami University, Biology, 700 East High Street, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
2 - Miami University, Biology Department, 700 E High Street, Pearson Hall 332, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
3 - Miami University, Biology, 5982 Vereker Drive, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
4 - Miami University, Biology, 700 East High Street

dichotomous keys
field botany
undergraduate education.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 44
Location: Salon 9/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM
Number: 44003
Abstract ID:1084
Candidate for Awards:None

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