Cal Poly Wild
Active-learning and integrating research projects into the classroom have been shown to improve student involvement and engagement. These teaching approaches can increase student success and help decrease opportunity gaps for minority and first-generation students. Cal Poly Wild is a long-term remote camera monitoring program at the Voorhis Ecological Preserve on Cal Poly Pomona’s campus. The goal of the remote cameras is to document the wildlife using the preserve through photos and videos and in this project using that data and technique in introductory biology courses to demonstrate to students a method used by ecologists to study wildlife populations.
1) Establish the technology to virtually monitor and track wildlife in a valuable on-campus nature preserve through Zooniverse.
2) Develop an accompanying active-learning lab activity that emphasizes the scientific process and can be implemented virtually or in-person in biology courses. Students will ask their own questions and seek answers using the data gather from the project.
3) Provide non-majors and majors exposure to local wildlife and ecology field techniques.
An in-class activity and research project developed from Cal Poly Wild will be implemented in a large general education course for non-majors with the potential to reach over 1,000 students and in the future will be used in courses that serve Biology majors such as the introductory series, ecology, and others. The use of camera trap activities and projects within the undergraduate classroom has been successful in allowing students to feel a sense of ownership over projects, develop collaborative skills, fuel their enthusiasm, and provide a field-based learning experience. Students will be assessed in their perceptions towards wildlife, gains in scientific knowledge, comfort in the scientific process, along with other metrics.
Special thank you to the Special Projects for Improving the Classroom Experience (SPICE) Grant from Cal Poly Pomona for their financial support of this project.