Auffret AG, Ekholm A, Hämäläinen A, Jonsell M, Lehto C, Nordkvist M, Öckinger E, Torstensson P, Viketoft M, Thor G
AoB Plants 14 (1) plab079 [2022-02-00; online 2021-12-23]
The COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020 forced a rapid change in university teaching, with large numbers of courses switching to distance learning with very little time for preparation. Courses involving many practical elements and field excursions required particular care if students were to fulfil planned learning outcomes. Here, we present our experiences in teaching field botany in 2020 and 2021. Using a range of methods and tools to introduce students to the subject, promote self-learning and reflection and give rapid and regular feedback, we were able to produce a course that allowed students to achieve the intended learning outcomes and that obtained similarly positive student evaluations to previous years. The course and its outcomes were further improved in 2021. We describe how we structured field botany as a distance course in order that we could give the best possible learning experience for the students. Finally, we reflect on how digital tools can aid teaching such subjects in the future, in a world where public knowledge of natural history is declining.