The corona version of a Field-based course “Introduction Marine Ecology”

Six weeks before the start of our course our Dutch prime minister announced that the Netherlands was going into lock down in response of the global COVID19 pandemic. to prevent study delay for WUR students we decided the course to continue – in contrast to other field courses that were cancelled – and put all other running business aside to redesign our course. Pre-covid this course had a heavy field component with students learning to setup experiments in the field on the island of Texel, followed by lab analysis, and live lectures. So what did we change? Here an impression of some of the major redesigns. A special thank you to all students for their enthusiasm and praise – and for enduring the sometimes not ideal setting/design flaws of this redesign 🙂 Happy summer.

Currently we are preparing for a more long term COVID friendly version of this course and other courses, just to make sure to be prepared for what might be coming.

Lectures were pre-recorded – and followed by a live Q&A session with a (guest) lecturer where questions of students (submitted through microsoft forms) were answered live in Brightspace (online learning environment) virtual classroom. + students can view the lectures when an how they want – lecturers were talking to a blank screen and missed the interaction with students

Field-excursions were translated into 7 online tutorials enriched by movies that introduced fieldwork techniques, movies of the system, and real data sets to analysis. 

A home “windowsill” experiment with Salicornia still gave the students “green feeling” and a moment to get away from theirs screens to work with real plants.

For their own experiments some students found very creative ways: see this nice article about a student of the course that performed an experiment in her parents wine cooler