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A personal, high impact insight from today:

--I have not thought about creating learning objectives from the view of 3-5 years from now. When thinking from this perspective, I found that teh objectives I wrote differed from ones I would write for a syllabus (i.e., scale for "at the end of this course..."); the 3-5 year goals were more general and applied, focusing less on describing specific concepts and vocabulary. It raises an interesting question in my mind: to what degree is a focus on learning basic concepts and vocabulary in a course necessary to achieve more generalized 3-5 year learning outcomes? If students are likely to forget key terms and specific details in 3 years, is it worthwhile to emphasize them in a course? Do they provide scaffolding needed to build the structure supporting the achieveing of long-term outcomes? Or can 3-5 year goals be achieved in the absence of learning the standard, more detailed and specific course-level objectives? I would love to do an experiment to provide insight into these questions--although it may be impractical!

 

Draft big dream goals (written in measureable outcome style) for a unit on Community Ecology and Ecological Webs (within an introductory course on ecology and evolution)

In three years, I hope that students will be able to:

--describe several types of inter- and intraspecific interactions and recognize them occurring in an ecosystem

--apply community-level thinking (a "lens") to the analysis and evaluation fo novel environmental scenarios (e.g., in news stories, personal situations/experiences)

--solve personal-level environmental problems (e.g., pest management in gardens) using relevant ecological knowledge

--explain how community ecology knowledge can be used to help examine societal environmental issues

--interpret environmental and evolutionary patterns using concepts from community ecology

--explain the concept of trophic cascades and its relevance to the management of populations and ecosystems

--explain how human activities influence ecological webs

--explain why they value the role of many species and their interactions for promoting ecosystem services and human well-being

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