Citizen science


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Improve Student Engagement and Learning in Online Science Courses: Using Real-World Data & Citizen Science Projects

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  • While teaching F2F classes, I got my students involved in experiential projects every semester. Typically these involved semester-long water-sampling and analysis; stream discharge measurements, aquatic insect studies, etc.
  • We also did experiential projects during the winter
  • The only college assigning Citizen Science project s I could find online is Bard College.Great statement by their president
  • First project I participated in. It only used participants’ computers during inactive time. There was no active involvement by the participant. Using 1000’s of computers provided quite a bit of computing power
  • Classifying galaxies
  • Hanny is a participating teacher from Holland who discovered an unusual object that was named Hanny’svoorwertp – meaning Hanny’s objectSmall galaxy that acts like a large reflection nebula, which shows the reflected light of a bright quasar event
  • Site with several citizen science projects
  • Cancer Research UK and the Zooniverse use volunteers to help to classify archive cancer samples.Volunteers examine images with tiny tumor samples from a huge dataset. Each sample in the database has been stained to highlight the differences between ordinary cells, such as white blood cells, and irregular, cancerous cells. One slide has around 120 tumor samples, but these are broken down into 16 sections so the public is looking at a tiny subsection of the full dataset when they view each image on Cell Slider.
  • Anyone who watches birds, from backyards to city streets to remote forests, can help researchers better understand birds and their habits.
  • Climate scientists need help classifying over 30 years of tropical cyclone satellite imagery. The global intensity record contains uncertainties caused by differences in analysis procedures around the world and through time. Scientists are enlisting the public because patterns in storm imagery are best recognized by the human eye.
  • Global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change
  • Timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants (plant phenophases)
  • Competitive game dealing with protein folding - several discoveries have been made discovery by protein folding game players
  • Gamers Solve AIDS Puzzle That Baffled Scientists for a Decade
  • Picture Post is a part of the Digital Earth Watch (DEW) network. DEW supports environmental monitoring by citizens, students and community organizations through digital photography and satellite imagery.
  • This study aims to utilize modern non-invasive tools in the search for the tomb of Genghis Khan, thus shedding light on Mongolia's rich historical heritage and enabling conservation and education of this rapidly changing landscape.
  • Great catalog of citizen science projects
  • Example page
  • Example of one of the many articles on Citizen science – explaining some projects
  • NASA has several citizen science projects
  • Mobile phones are ideal data gathering/recording devices
  • Example app: reporting road kills
  • Creek Watch is an iPhone application that enables you to help monitor the health of your local watershed.What’s invasive - Volunteers can use the app to look up lists of the top invasive species in their area, created by National Park Service rangers and biologists. If they spot a plant or animal from the list, they submit a geo-tagged observation, with optional picture and text notes, so that scientists can locate, identify, study try to remove the species. 
  • Citizen Science Maps Asteroid Craters like the Pros
  • Data needs to be checked via random sampling, statistical analysis and comparison among data gatherersMechanisms for Data Quality and Validation in Citizen Science
  • A “google” search on “virtual” geology field trips will bring up PPTs, film clips, from many well-know geological destination.This is an example from BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK AND SURROUNDING AREA Erosion field trip A. Wallis, St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, FL: A Phenomenological, Evaluative Approach to Developing Ecology Virtual Field Trips for Undergraduate, Non-Major College Students“Abstract: other dissertations compared use of real vs virtual field trips
  • Geology of North Cascades National Park, WA are clickable and show photographs, detailed explanations of geological history
  • Field experiences can be designed for any course. Dr. Jim Brown of Ocean County College in New Jersey teaches a variety of online biology and microbiology courses at the undergraduate level and provides a “mini” capstone experience at the end of each course. This provides an opportunity for the student to integrate the skills, methodology, and knowledge gained throughout the semester and culminates in a project in the form of a paper to analyze and evaluate the experience.
  • imageJ- developed by NIH - open source image processing software – lots of tutorials available on the internet
  • Can download sea ice data from this source -
  • Example project:
  • Results of Hudson Bay Sea Ice changes from 1978-2010
  • Source for Climate data
  • Results of Hudson Bay temp changes from 1978-2010Comparing this graph to the changes in sea ice distribution clearly shows as temperature increased, sea ice extent decreasedStudents could discuss how these changes affect human populations as well as local wildlife, like polar bears, etc
  • ImageJ tutorials
  • Global climate change data resource
  • NIH searchable data bases
  • IRI/LDEO Climate Data Library
  • v/nchs/tutorials/NHANES/using/index.htm
  • Citizen science

    1. 1. Improve Student Engagement and Learning inOnline Science Courses: Using Real-World Data Peter Jeschofnig, Ph.D. Institute for Excellence in Distance Science Education eLCC Conference, April 10-12, 2013 Breckenridge, CO
    2. 2. Experiential Learning
    3. 3. Experiential Learning - winter
    4. 4. The most terrifying problem in Americanuniversity education is the profound lack ofscientific literacy… while we’ve found ways toeducate scientists in the humanities, the reversehas never really happened.” • Leon Botstein, President, Bard College
    5. 5. The Citizen Science program introduces students tonatural science and the ideas of the scientificmethod. It is designed to promote science literacyand focuses on the theme of infectious diseases,the importance of infectious disease in acommunity, and the impact that infectious diseaseoutbreaks and subsequent management canhave on our global society. The curriculum allowsstudents to conduct a laboratory experiment,analyze a scientific problem, and model potentialsolutions to that problem.
    6. 6. What is Citizen Science?Scientific research conducted, in whole or inpart, by amateur or nonprofessional scientists.
    7. 7. SETI@home1999- Space Science Laboratory – Univ. of California, Berkeley
    8. 8. Hanny’s VoorwerpSmall galaxy that acts like a large reflection nebula, which shows the reflected light of abright quasar event
    9. 9.
    10. 10. Cell Slider
    11. 11.
    12. 12. Cyclone data analysis –
    13. 13.
    14. 14. of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants (plant phenophases)
    15. 15.
    16. 16. Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game
    17. 17.
    18. 18. Search for Genghis Khan’s Tomb
    19. 19.• Helps scientists & volunteers find each other
    20. 20. Scistarter search page
    21. 21.
    22. 22.
    23. 23. Data Collection via Mobile Phone• Numerous free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android – GPS – Photos – Notes
    24. 24. Splatter Spotter: The Road Kill Reporter &Wildlab Bird Apps
    25. 25. Creek Watch & What’s invasive
    26. 26. Crater classification verification
    27. 27. Why potentially bad data?Volunteer error (inexperience)Deliberate sabotage
    28. 28. Providing a “Field Trip” Experience
    29. 29. Geology of N. Cascade National Park
    30. 30. Capstone field experienceDr. James Brown –Ocean County College
    31. 31. What data?Data from a wide variety of scientific disciplines & in many forms and formats
    32. 32. ImageJN.I.H.-developed image processing software
    33. 33. National Snow & Ice Data Center
    34. 34. Hudson Bay Sea Ice Study
    35. 35. Hudson Bay Sea Ice Study
    36. 36. Hudson Bay Sea Ice Changes 1978- 2010 Hudson Bay Sea Ice Changes 1978- 2010 1.00 0.90 y = -0.015x + 30.64 0.80 0.70 Area 10^6 km^2 0.60 0.50 0.40 Series1 0.30 Linear (Series1) 0.20 0.10 0.00 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 Year
    37. 37. Earth System Research Laboratory Temperature Time Series
    38. 38. Hudson Bay Temp Changes 1978 - 2010 0 Nov 1978 - 2010 Temp 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 y = 0.132x - 273.0 -2 -4 -6 Temp oC -8 Series1 -10 Linear (Series1) -12 -14 -16 -18 Year
    39. 39. Resources ImageJ Web Site
    40. 40.
    41. 41.
    42. 42. IRI/LDEO Climate Data Library
    43. 43. World-wide science data bases• news/2009/08-04-09-2/• global-bridges-across-science-databases/•• _databases_and_search_engines•
    44. 44. International open-access data••••••••••
    45. 45. ResourcesLots of resources on the internet:Here are two – remember that many links become obsolete with timeTips on Using Research Data in the Classroom Time Data Projects
    46. 46. Q&A
    47. 47.