Fire Ecology

The project team collaborated to develop a new online course as part of the Wildfire Science Program to dually serve students and outreach professionals. The goal was to include interactive learning activities utilizing 360 technology and documentary films. After identifying course topics and learning objectives, the project team began collecting existing content materials (articles, video, etc); once all was collected “content gaps” were identified and determined the need for media deliverables. Learning activities were designed to align with the course topics and learning objectives.

Instructional Challenges

  • New online course to be designed and delivered by three faculty, none of whose expertise was the subject matter content. All came from varying backgrounds
  • 2 of 3 faculty new to online teaching
  • Graduate level course
  • Bring the field experience to online learners

Highlights and Solutions

  • Course topics and learning objectives: This was a new course being co-taught by three faculty from separate areas of expertise. The goal was to bring all expertise together.
  • Learning activities/assignments for course: Learning activities/assignments designed in direct alignment with learning objectives (For ex: Press release assignment)
  • Instructional Video: Developed to bring awareness of the southeast’s new designation as a biodiverity hotspot: From Fire Comes Light
  • Narrated Instructional Video: A short introductory video on the basics of fire ecology to kick off in the first week of the course Introduction to Fire Ecology
  • Virtual Field Trip: Developed to take the online students on their own virtual field trip to compare wildlife habitat relationships with fire managed forests. Sandhills VR Field Tour 
  • 360/VR Software Evaluation: Very specific spreadsheet breakdown of the current (at the time) 360/VR software for use in the development of the virtual field trip
  • Topic banners: Course banners were designed to assist with aesthetics and ease course navigation.
  • Moodle course site: The creation and design of the course site for delivery online
  • Moodle Training for faculty: Two of the three co-instructors had no prior experience with Moodle, so they received group training.
  • Student Video Research Project: Students were asked to choose a research topic and produce a 5-7 minute video on their research topic. This was a course long project.
  • Own Fire Ecology Google Account: Created to house media and course materials

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