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Stories about birds and teaching ornithology by Dr. Kerri Cornell Duerr

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Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Words by Dr. Kerri Duerr, assistant professor of biology...

Here begins my adventure into teaching ornithology with a twist.  Sure, the content of my course about birds is the same: birds are dinosaurs, anatomy and physiology, the physics of flight, etc.  But the approach to teaching students how to communicate observations about birds in the field and results from scientific study of birds has flown to new levels.

TWEETSPEAK: Bird biology and bird blogging is an interdisciplinary approach to teaching Ornithology and the Essentials of Digital Media.  In these classes, students will become fluent in the science of all things avian, and communicate the learning process to a lay audience through blogging.  They will become citizen scientists and contribute to online databases (e.g., eBird).  They will also learn by serving their community; they will work to establish the Westminster College campus as an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary.  And along the way, they will blog about their experiences.

Surely, I can’t ask of my students anything that I am not willing to try, learn, or execute.  And so begins my own adventure in blogging about birds and teaching ornithology.  My motto is to “keep it simple, scientist”.  This blog will not be fancy with lots of bells and whistles, but hopefully it will give you a new lens in which to view science education.  Follow along with my students this semester, and colleague Brad Weaver (Faculty of Broadcast communications at Westminster College), on this new endeavor.

Follow and read more about the Tweetspeak Cluster Course, here. 

View photos from the course.