Hot tip for biology teachers struggling with distance education
Are you teaching a class on biodiversity, on ecological research or global change? Have you had problems finding relevant material for self-study and/or distance education? Then here is a promising lead.

Researchers from the Research Centre for Ecological Change (REC) at the University of Helsinki have just announced a new web-based teaching package for use by all schools. The package was published in Finnish and Swedish in the spring, but has now been launched in English at www.studyingbiodiversity.fi .

The new website is aimed at secondary and upper secondary school students – and, of course, anyone else with an interest in biodiversity. 

The pages are based on ten short, 3-5 minute video clips, around which the researchers have built a wealth of additional material to support teaching. Each of the ten sections works both individually and as part of the larger whole. 

Under each chapter, there are three types of materials through which the user can: find out more and read scientific articles on each theme; delve into the topic through short assignments; or find topics for their own research – some larger, others smaller. All parts work both in the classroom and for independent work. The video clips are narrated in Finnish, but have subtitles in English.

The project is based on the Research Center for Ecological Change, which is a center of expertise for five professors and almost 60 researchers. The young postdoctoral researchers within the Centre have been particularly active in reaching out with their work. The website presents research results and approaches emerging from the Centre. Together, they give an idea of how research is done, who does it and how one can find reliable information on global change.

Funding for the project was provided by the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, whereas the wider Research Centre REC is funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. Web designer Janne Koivistoinen implemented the website, in collaboration with Manuel Frias. Bess Hardwick made the translation into English.

Further information on the web: