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Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education: Creating the Resources and Growing the Community

Author(s): Anna Monfils1, Libby Ellwood2, Debra Linton1, Molly Phillips3, Joseph Cook4, Joseph Kerski5, Karen Powers6, Tracy Barbaro7, Sam S Donovan8, Robert Guralnick9, L. Alan Prather10

1. Central Michigan University 2. iDigBio 3. University of Florida 4. University of New Mexico 5. Esri 6. Radford University 7. Encyclopedia of Life/Kurator 8. University of Pittsburgh 9. Florida Museum of Natural History 10. Michigan State University

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Version 1.0 - published on 19 Jan 2018 doi:10.25334/Q42Q3B - cite this




Natural history collection specimens and associated data provide unique physical and virtual opportunities to engage students in the practice of science in authentic, place-based lessons. We will present information on how collections, and the data associated with collections, can facilitate student learning and teach valuable skill sets necessary for the 21st century workforce. The talk will highlight ongoing efforts to engage students using museum data and provide examples of current educational opportunities and existing educational modules. We will present results from recent surveys of students working in collections, collection professionals speaking to new skill sets needed for workforce training, and the collections community's insight on future directions in the use of museums in undergraduate education. We will address challenges associated with implementing natural history collection modules into undergraduate education and introduce emerging collaborative efforts to incorporate specimens and associated data into the undergraduate curriculum.

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