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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Endara, Lorena [3], Neubig, Kurt [1], Majure, Lucas [2], Stull, Gregory [3], Judd, Walter [4].

Using webpages as a tool for teaching plant taxonomy in a laboratory.

An undergraduate course in plant taxonomy has been offered every fall for the last just over 40 year sat the University of Florida. The main objective of this class is to provide the student with an introduction to plant taxonomy including principles of systematic botany, nomenclature and classification, but emphasizing identification. The lectures are accompanied by laboratory sessions with living and preserved material arranged in phylogenetic order, and a handbook guides the student in the recognition of key characters to identify major familial clades within the lycophytes, extant gymnosperms, and flowering plants. A blog site ( was developed to visually aid the learning process and reinforce the important characters observed in class. After each weekly lab session a blog was posted with all the images of the plants and their key identification features that were displayed in the lab. Visitation statistics were registered using google statistics powered by blogspot. A total of 4750 visits were registered during the semester that the blogger was developed, with highest hits before the practical and written exams, but also with significant visitation the two days prior to each new lab session. The predominant use of the blog was on personal computers(predominantly with Windows, Macintosh operating systems). However, mobile media such as Android phones, iphones, ipads followed by other operating systems were also commonly used. Visitation was predominantly from the United States and the Gainesville region, where UF is located, but visitation from other countries and regions was also significant (14.5% of the hits). Our results show that webpages like the blogger we developed can successfully aid the process of teaching and learning plant systematics and can effectively reach audiences of other parts of the world.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Practical Plant Taxonomy Blogger

1 - University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History, 385 Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL, 32611-7800
2 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, P.O. Box 117800, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
3 - University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History and Department of Biology, Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
4 - University Of Florida, Department Of Botany, 220 Bartram Hall, PO Box 118525, Gainesville, FL, 32611-8525, USA

Botany Education
plant systematics

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: P014
Abstract ID:866

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