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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Blake, Jennifer [1].

Using public and social media as assessment tools in undergraduate education.

Using public and social media in the classroom can serve the dual purposes of increasing student engagement and educating the public about science. In an undergraduate class at Rutgers University we used Instagram and Wikipedia as alternative assessment techniques to improve observation, research, and writing-in-the-discipline skills. Students were required to submit photos via Instagram over the course of the semester. Students wrote guided 100-word captions to accompany the image and explain the phenomena, how it related to course material, and why it mattered in the bigger picture. These images were then used as the foundation for the final exam.
To fulfill a writing requirement, students wrote articles for Wikipedia. Instructor-selected gaps in Wikipedia content were provided early in the semester. Students chose a topic, researched it, and wrote a 400-word article for Wikipedia. The educational platform available through Wikied allowed students to learn the guidelines for Wikipedia as well as the computer skills needed to write and edit in the Wiki framework. Over the course of one semester, students added over 10,000 words to Wikipedia, edited 23 articles, and created four new ones. These articles have already had 970,000 views.
While this class was not a botany course, plants lend themselves well to these techniques. Wikipedia, in particular, suffers from gaps in botanical content. Using these public and social media platforms is not only motivating for students, but decreases plant blindness and provides opportunities to educate the public about plants.

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Related Links:

1 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution, And Natural Resources, 237 Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Rd, Cook Campus, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901-8551, USA

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Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 18, Education and Outreach I
Location: Sundance 4/Omni Hotel
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: 18011
Abstract ID:234
Candidate for Awards:None

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