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An Adaptation of "Plants in the Human-Altered Environment (PHAE)" for 100% Remote Learning at East Stroudsburg University

Author(s): Emily Rollinson

East Stroudsburg University

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PHAE is a project to compare effects of landscape alteration intensities on plant diversity. This adaptation modified and extends the modules to suit fully remote learning (data collected independently by each student with minimal equipment).

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

Version 1.0 - published on 11 Dec 2020 doi:10.25334/1C9D-VK81 - cite this

Adapted from: Plants in the Human-Altered Environment (PHAE): EREN-NEON Flexible Learning Project v 1.0


Students in BIOL 423/523 Plant Ecology at East Stroudsburg University (conducted the Plants in the Human-Altered Environment research project in Fall 2020. This is an upper-level undergraduate and graduate master's level course. This semester was fully remote learning at ESU, so this Flexible Learning Project was used to incorporate elements of field ecology and quantitative skills in the laboratory component of the course. Because the semester was fully remote, each student had to carry out data collection independently, without access to research equipment found in our campus classrooms and laboratories.

The PHAE project was implemented to give students experience in field ecology, field sampling design, data collection, plant identification, and data analysis. 

This resource includes my modifications to the PHAE modules to add alternative sampling methods to accommodate students without access to equipment like DBH tapes, meter tapes, etc., as well as adding a module that compares the class data to NEON Woody Vegetation Structure plot data.

Posted here are:

1. A narrative reflection on the implementation of the PHAE Flexible Learning Project at ESU in Fall 2020.

2. Powerpoint slides describing the implementation and recommendations for modification of the project.

3. The modified PHAE module instructions used at ESU.

4. A series of videos demonstrating the use of the iNaturalist and Go Botany platforms for students to identify the tree species in their plots.


The PHAE modules were adapted here to add alternative instructions and additional clarification on field methods for students working 100% remotely and independently, without hands-on in-person demonstrations from the instructor or access to research equipment from the university. A new module was added incorporating NEON data.

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