EcoEvoApps: Interactive Apps for Teaching Theoretical Models in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology [article]

Rosa M. McGuire, Kenji T. Hayashi, Xinyi Yan, Madeline C. Cowen, Marcel Carita Vaz, Lauren L. Sullivan, Gaurav S. Kandlikar
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Theoretical models are fundamental in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), but they can be difficult to teach in undergraduate classrooms because students come in with inconsistent mathematical training and varying attitudes towards mathematics. A promising way to make these models more approachable is to use active learning exercises that allow model exploration and simulation. Thus, we present EcoEvoApps, a collection of free, open-source interactive web apps that simulate various
more » ... al EEB models. By surveying students who used these apps in two remote undergraduate Ecology courses in the U.S.A., we found that using the apps led to considerable gains in students' confidence and understanding of the focal models and underlying concepts. We envision EcoEvoApps as a widely available, equitable tool for students around the globe. Consequently, we have developed EcoEvoApps as a fundamentally collaborative platform, with an aim to build an international community of EEB researchers, educators, and students.
doi:10.1101/2021.06.18.449026 fatcat:ucaj7wqzibbjrhutjqmg7ma6ya