Stories from our Network: Alison Hale at U. Pittsburgh

Alison Hale - QUBES mentor, University of Pittsburgh

The Setup

Context:  Population Biology

Class Size: 34 students 


I am planning to use the DryadLab Extinction module in my Population Biology class this fall. Population Biology is an upper level course at Pitt with 34 students. Ecology is a prerequisite. At the beginning of the semester, I surveyed my students to get a better understanding of their math background, confidence, and attitudes. In terms of background, the majority of students (90%) have taken (or passed out of) Calculus I. Nearly half report high confidence in their ability to interpret mathematical models and the majority (94%) believe that math ability can improve with practice.


I am devoting one class period to Extinction. It follows a class devoted to life history traits, which I think works well given that the students are asked to examine various traits of artiodactyls and associate them with extinction risk. I am considering assigning students a chapter out of “Essentials of Conservation Biology” to read prior to class on Vulnerability to Extinction. My students will be using Radiant to analyze the data.

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