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edX

Citizen Science: Gearing Up for Discovery

University of Maryland, Baltimore via edX

Overview

Science is for everyone and citizen science and community-engaged research has demonstrated that non-scientists can contribute in many ways to advancing health and wellness in communities. This course focuses on helping communities, organizations, and individuals make a difference in local public and environmental health by developing citizen science projects.

The 5-module course is asynchronous and self-paced, with approximately 15 hours of content and activities.

This course covers:

• Citizen science overview

• Project planning

• Collecting data

• Managing Data

• Communicating Results

Classes use a variety of instructional methods, including short lectures, activities, interviews, and quizzes.

Syllabus

Week 1:

Discover what citizen science is and how citizen scientists participate in research. Benefits and challenges of citizen science will be discussed, and you will explore how citizen science is used to improve community health and address environmental justice issues.

Week 2:

Learn strategies for planning local, small-scale citizen science projects, with a focus on non-scientists who want to motivate healthy changes in local communities. Learn about the steps to get started, develop a research question, form a planning team, and consider resources needed. Ethical considerations in citizen science will be discussed.

Week 3:

Explore options and strategies for collecting data in small-scale citizen science projects and how to identify the best tools and equipment for a project. Best practices for collecting data and training citizen science volunteers will be covered.

Week 4:

Find out how to manage and organize data collected by citizen scientists and why it is important—whether you are helping students learn about research, or trying to convince local leaders to make changes in your community. Learn the basics of organizing, “wrangling”, storing, and getting your data ready for sharing.

Week 5:

Learn strategies to effectively communicate the results of citizen science research to community leaders, local government, or other audiences. Identify a variety of communication tools and develop a plan based on project goals.

Taught by

Alexa Mayo and Katherine Downton

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