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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society



Working towards a better understanding of animal behavior

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Instructors Wanted! Join our Educational Research Team!
Jobs & Postdocs
Posted Jan 28
Instructors Wanted! Join our Educational Research Team!
 
Are you looking for a simple way to bring authentic research experiences into your classroom? Are you searching for activities that are easily adaptable to remote learning? We can help! Squirrel-Net (http://squirrel-net.org) is a group of mammalogists working to broaden access to field-based CUREs (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences) with a focus on sciurid rodents (e.g., squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, etc.). By incorporating research directly into course activities, CUREs provide research opportunities to a wider range of students. We are funded by NSF to support instructors in using our modules in their classrooms and then evaluating the modules’ impacts on student learning! 
 
Each of our four CURE modules uses a different methodology to study squirrel behavior. All modules have been field-tested, and are easily implemented and adaptable for different courses, habitats, and focal species. In each module, students develop their own research questions and collect data on squirrels around their own institution or home on squirrels at or near their own institution using standardized protocols. Students then contribute their data to a national database, building a comparative dataset that includes a wider variety of squirrel species and environmental conditions than could be collected in a single course. The national network also allows students to connect with each other across the country. Our modules can be used on their own or in combination to provide authentic research experiences to your students. All teaching materials, including background information, slide presentations, and student handouts, are now publicly available through our CourseSource publications, linked on our website (http://squirrel-net.org). 
 
By participating in this project, you will be joining a research team to assess the effectiveness of networked CUREs in helping students build knowledge, develop scientific skills, and strengthen their identity as scientists.
 
To participate in our project we request that you:
1) Use one of our modules in one of your courses between Spring 2021 and Spring 2023. 
2) Forward emails with pre- and post-assessment survey links to your students (~10 minutes to complete with optional entry into an Amazon gift card drawing).
3) After running the module, take a single 15-minute instructor survey to share your experiences with the material. 
 
Please click on Request Access on our website (http://squirrel-net.org) with any questions or to join our team. Thank you!
 
Patrice Kurnath Connors
Laurie Dizney
Jennifer Duggan
Liesl Petrson Erb
Liz Flaherty
John Hanson
Hayley Lanier
Johanna Varner
Chris Yahnke



LINK DIRECTLY TO COURSESOURCE: https://www.coursesource.org/courses/an-introduction-to-the-squirrel-net-teaching-modules
 
Table 1.Benefits to participating in Squirrel-Net modules and assessments.
Benefits to students Benefits to instructors
An authentic research experience, not a “cookie-cutter” lab activity. Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) involve more students in authentic research, advancing STEM pedagogy.
A hands-on scientific lab experience, even when learning remotely. Access to four labs, readily adaptable to online teaching.
Connection to a national community of other students working on the same research project. Connection to a national community of instructors, including authors of the modules, who can provide additional support.
Through exposure to data from local/regional/national squirrels, an increased awareness of species and ecosystem diversity. New teaching lab(s) to add to your curriculum that is fully developed and vetted at numerous institutions.
Access to a national database of student-generated data, enabling the testing of creative and interesting student-driven hypotheses. Access to a national database of student-collected data, allowing students to test broader hypotheses compared to data collected in one place or at one time.
Experience with data analysis and interpretation. Access to Squirrel-Net’s equipment loan program for running modules. 
Field and/or behavioral observation experience with small mammals to use on a resume or job interview. Evidence of service outreach and teaching development for merit and retention decisions.
Participation in a national science community!