A free course from the Open University, Citizen science and global biodiversity, deals with the importance of biodiversity. It explores how anyone can contribute to and be involved in identifying and recording wildlife, as a citizen scientist. It looks at what citizen science is, and how citizen science facilitates public involvement in scientific research activities as individuals learn and build skills.
Traditional biological keys are introduced and online recording is demonstrated using citizen science techniques and practical activities using the www.iSpotnature.org platform. The course goes on to demonstrate how, once a species is identified, web resources can be used to research its ecology. The role of citizen science is illustrated through a number of case studies from across the world. Finally, the course concludes by exploring the impact citizen scientists are having on recording biodiversity around the globe.
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- observe, record and analyse biodiversity
- join the iSpot community and learn from real examples how organisms are identified
- undertake observations and post these to the iSpot website
- use identification keys and other online aids to identification
- understand the use of a microscope as a tool to aid identification.