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B.1-4: Development and Assessment of an Online University Course in Waterfowl Ecology and Management

Presented by Lauren H.R. Senn - Email: lhsenn@g.clemson.edu

Online courses offer an opportunity for students who are unable to take an on campus course to gain knowledge in a topic or meet an academic requirement. Clemson University is, to our knowledge the only US institution offering an online course in Waterfowl Ecology and Management. Such a course is needed by wildlife students and professionals unable to matriculate to a campus where this type of course remains offered. After converting a Waterfowl Ecology and Management course from traditional lecture and laboratory to online presentation, we are evaluating the transition and students evaluations of the new online course. The course has been offered in fall semesters since 2017 as an elective in Clemson Universitys online Masters degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and for upper division undergraduates. The format of the course includes 30 video lectures with paired audio transcriptions, and is split into nine modules, each of which includes lecture videos, readings, class discussion, and a quiz. To determine the effectiveness of the online format, the course was assessed using a pre, mid and post course assessment, and a pre- and post-course knowledge assessment. Since 2017, 83 students have completed the course. The Fall 2018 post-course survey had a response rate of 86% (50/58 students). Results indicated that 98% of responding students believed the course increased their knowledge and appreciation of waterfowl, and 94% would recommend the course to others. A paired t-test of students pre- and post-knowledge assessment scores revealed a significant increase in score from the start to the end of the course (pre-test x = 41.6%, post-test x = 66.6%; t54= 9.97; P < 0.0001). Survey analysis will continue in 2019 and annually thereafter. Results from the 2017-2019 classes will provide insight on students perceptions of the new online course, how this course compares to in-person classes, and aid in the development of best practices for future similar wildlife courses.
Session: Who Will Mind the Marsh? 2.0 (Tuesday, August 27,13:20 to 15:00)