Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological and Environmental Sciences (MSBES)

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Brian Maynard

Abstract

An analysis of methods and practices in online instruction of hands-on plant identification skills illustrates the efficacy of teaching techniques utilized in collegiate plant materials courses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The implementation of safety precautions across the globe necessitated distance learning and hybrid distance learning in response. Questionnaires were distributed to instructors and students of courses in biology, botany, ecology, environmental and wildlife science with focus on plant materials science. Course strategies most effective in pandemic learning include setting up a strong foundation in communicating with students pertaining to course structure and technological proficiency while providing students with independent project opportunities to identify plants and return to the course to report independent progress. Most frequent methods and most effective methods utilized in course development and delivery were determined through matrix table, multiple-selection, and Likert scale analysis. Results document the unique pandemic experience and illuminate the clearest path to optimization of the teaching and learning of hands-on plant identification courses in the digital age across natural science disciplines.

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