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NEON Data in the Classroom: Using the QUBES Platform and Faculty Mentoring Networks to Build, Adapt, and Publish Data-Driven Open Educational Resources

By Kusum Naithani1, Megan A. Jones2, Kristine Grayson3

1. University of Arkansas 2. National Ecological Observatory Network 3. University of Richmond

Poster on the NEON Faculty Mentoring Network presented at the 2019 BioQUEST & QUBES Summer Workshop

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Evolution of Data in the Classroom: From Data to Data Science (SW 2019)

Version 2.0 - published on 30 Jul 2019 doi:10.25334/GCAJ-9N70 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

neon data fmn poster image.PNG


The successful integration of data­-centric teaching practices plays a major role in efforts to transform undergraduate biology education. Working with authentic data increases student exposure to scientific practices and contributes to the development of quantitative skills. While open access data and resources to incorporate data exploration in the classroom have dramatically increased, the typical barriers (time, training opportunities, and incentives) have imposed limits on broad integration of data­-centric teaching approaches. These challenges are particularly acute for the integration of large-­scale ecological data, where the skills required to manipulate and analyze these data sets can be a large hurdle for both educators and students. We share the outcomes from a partnership between the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis project (QUBES). We have used the online collaborative platform, open educational resources publishing system, and Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN) model of QUBES alongside the full catalogue of NEON data now available to develop and disseminate teaching resources and provide training and community to faculty.

Participants in the NEON Data Education FMN designed and implemented modules across a range of data types and skill levels, from introducing students to large datasets and best practices in managing, summarizing, and conducting basic analyses to advanced code­-based explorations to manipulate, analyze, and visualize NEON data. Through the QUBES platform, faculty also adapted versions of published modules to the appropriate software and skill level of students in their courses. These adapted materials were then republished and shared, effectively creating a similar structure as GitHub where teaching resources can be forked and versioned. Building an online community where faculty can share, modify, and re­publish teaching materials allows for the wider implementation and improvement of data-­centric educational resources. The NEON FMN has been offered for three semesters with 37 faculty participating, resulted in a wide variety of new and adapted teaching modules being publicly available ( We found the QUBES FMN model to be successful in providing online professional development and creating communities of educators without geographic barriers. Our work highlights how this model of curriculum development and faculty engagement has been successfully applied to NEON data for the classroom. 


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Evolution of Data in the Classroom: From Data to Data Science (SW 2019)

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