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An approach to ecology teaching at University level

Dowdeswell, W.H. and Potter, I.C. (1974) An approach to ecology teaching at University level. Journal of Biological Education, 8 (1). pp. 46-51.

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During recent years, ecology has assumed an increasingly important place in our everyday lives. Widespread awareness of ecological problems by students and the public at large is evidenced by an increasing concern for man's effect on his environment, the conservation of vital resources and the influence of pollution (Mellanby, 1972). Yet, in spite of these changes in outlook, the teaching of ecology in universities has probably been more neglected than any other sphere of biology. The most obvious reasons for this are not far to seek. The subject often appears amorphous and too complex to attempt without considerable fore-knowledge of other areas of biology and experience of scientific methodology (Lambert, 1967). Since ecology concerns organisms in their natural environment, its effective study inevitably poses considerable problems of organisation, particularly where large numbers of students are involved. Similar problems arise in those universities where access to ecological areas is difficult, because they are sited in industrialised districts, or restricted to a winter teaching programme. The paucity of information on suitably tested laboratory exercises simulating various ecological situations makes the problem even more acute. Vacational field courses can act as a partial remedy, but they suffer the disadvantage of being isolated from the lecture programme.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Institute of Biology
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