Teaching Animal Behavior in the Midst of a Pandemic: A Primer

Face-to-face classes in animal behavior often stress experiential learning through laboratories that involve observation of live animals, as well as a lecture component that emphasizes formative assessment, discussion and critical thinking. As a result, behavior courses face unique challenges when moving to an online environment, as has been made necessary at many institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although online behavior courses may be remote, they can still be interactive and social, and designed with inclusive pedagogy. Here we discuss some of the key decisions that instructors should consider, provide recommendations, and point out new opportunities for student learning that stem directly from the move to online instruction. Specific topics include challenges related to generating an inclusive and engaging online learning environment, synchronous versus asynchronous formats, assignments that enhance student learning, testing format and execution, grade schemes, design of laboratory experiences including opportunities for Community Science, design of synthetic student projects, and workload balance for students and instructors.
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