We support undergraduate and graduate student learning in several ways:
The Animal Diversity Web is a highly structured database with a consistent format, which makes it possible for students to make informative comparisons across taxa. The database structure also makes it searchable, enabling users to find information on a set of species they identify, such as particular taxonomic groups, geographic areas, or taxa with particular characteristics. Students can explore patterns and relationships, learn how to frame and answer scientific questions and, with the help of a good teacher, experience the excitement and satisfaction of doing science.
In collaboration with professors across the country and with support from the National Science Foundation, we have compiled a series of active learning activities that use our advanced query engine (Quaardvark) and are suitable for a wide range of classes.
Presentations about Quaardvark:
An essential feature of the ADW is student authorship of species accounts. Students conduct a literature review, learn considerable detail about the biology of a species, and compile and share their research with site visitors worldwide by making it part of our permanent database. Student work is highlighted on our respected and widely used site and is often provided as a writing sample for graduate school and job applications.
Your students can write species accounts as part of a “writing in the discipline” or literature synthesis project in your course. Our web-based template ensures a consistent format for accounts, help pages suggest content and sources, and our workspace management system allows you to manage and review all of your student’s work. Faculty contributors get editorial attribution on taxon pages that are successfully published. For more on the benefits of the ADW taxon contribution process in biology courses, see a recently published article by Chris Yahnke: Animal Diversity Web as a Teaching & Learning Tool to Improve Research & Writing Skills in College Biology Courses. Chris Yahnke, Tanya Dewey, and Phil Myers. September 2013. The American Biology Teacher, 75(7), pp. 494-498. (file in shared folder: Yahnke-et-al-ABT-2013.pdf)
You can also challenge students to document typographical and other errors in our species accounts and have them submit corrections with the appropriate references. Similarly, have them compile and annotate lists of more recent references for us to post.
The Animal Diversity Web serves as an online encyclopedia of biodiversity. We provide thousands of species accounts about individual animal species. These may include text, pictures of living animals, photographs and movies of specimens, and recordings of sounds. There are hundreds of descriptions of taxa above the species level, including phyla, classes, orders and families. Hyperlinked pages and images illustrate the traits and general biology of these groups.
Ask your students to review descriptions of particular classes, orders, or families before introducing them in your lectures.
Suggest that students review ADW information before exams.
You and your students may incorporate ADW images and diagrams in slide presentations. However, you typically may not post such presentations on the web without explicit permission (see our Conditions of Use).
The ADW is especially rich in Mammalogy resources. ADW provides a way to make the contents of research museums available globally for teaching and research. Photographs of scientific specimens are available for representative species from almost all mammal families. We've also included several hundred Quick Time Virtual Reality Movies of skulls. These allow the user to "rotate" the specimen, providing an excellent impression of its three-dimensional structure. We've written in depth about and illustrated many of the characteristics of interest to students of mammals. An important goal for the future is to expand to cover other groups of animals and include other media such as animal behavior video.
Some of the mammalogy special topics pages have been translated into Spanish by Cecilia Morgan, available on her site.
Have you used the Animal Diversity Web in your course? Please let us know what you and your students thought by filling in this form.
If you have developed exercises using ADW or Quaardvark, please send us a copy for consideration for posting on the site for others to use.