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15 March 2023 Teaching Mammalogy online: lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and their application to the future
Sean Beckmann
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Educators of natural history have long resisted incorporating digital technology into their pedagogy for several reasons, including a perceived loss of biophilia tied to the near-ubiquitous use of digital tools. Simultaneously, a push to embrace educational technology exists for several reasons, including expanding access to educational opportunities, increasing resource availability, addressing diverse learning modalities, and approaching ‘digital natives’ in a familiar space. While the debate continues, the COVID-19 pandemic forced nearly all educators, including mammalogists, to transition rapidly to digital education and to use technology to teach students effectively. While exceedingly difficult in some respects, this pivot to remote learning provided the opportunity to identify and to use online resources to enhance student learning. I propose that this integration of technology into Mammalogy courses resulted in the development of pedagogical tools that introduced students to skills and resources that they may not have accessed in traditional learning environments and that may have enhanced the educational experience of these same students. I present the results of a survey of online mammalogy education during the pandemic, provide examples of pedagogical tools developed during the pandemic, and propose that these tools should be integrated into Mammalogy courses in the future, but not supplant traditional lab and field experiences. These online resources are particularly useful for programs with limited resources and budgets or with limited geographic access to field experiences with live mammals.

Sean Beckmann "Teaching Mammalogy online: lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and their application to the future," Journal of Mammalogy 104(4), 667-674, (15 March 2023).
Received: 15 March 2022; Accepted: 19 December 2022; Published: 15 March 2023
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