Integrating authentic scientific research in a conservation course–based undergraduate research experience

Natural Sciences Education
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Abstract

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.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Integrating authentic scientific research in a conservation course–based undergraduate research experience
Series title Natural Sciences Education
DOI 10.4195/nse2018.02.0004
Volume 47
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher American Society of Agronomy
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description e180004