ecoEd training: digital platforms for environmental science

ecoEd is an innovative training and skills development program for university lecturers, researchers and industry professionals. The program is designed to enhance the translation of Australia’s digital research infrastructures to the EcoScience community by educating and upskilling the next generation of environmental scientists and managers.

ecoEd is a partnership between NCRIS projects the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL), ecocloud, the online platform for the ecosystem science community, the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The collaborative education program delivers training to ‘ecoEd champions’ who form a network of enthusiastic professionals. These champions receive extensive training in the suite of online tools developed by the NCRIS projects and ABARES for exploring and analysing spatial biological and environmental data.

The program provides the champions with the resources and knowledge required so that they can confidently re-deliver the teaching program in their own institutions.

In doing this, ecoEd is enabling first-rate science education in Australia and increasing the capacity of the research community to advance science and deliver outcomes that benefit the nation and underpin the sustainable use of our ecosystems.

Open-access lecture and workshop materials

All ecoEd materials are downloadable and openly available for reuse. The materials currently include lectures and workshop handouts for the following topics:

  • 10 Eco Data Things: a suite of activities to explore issues surrounding management of research data, specifically for people working with ecological data.
  • Biodiversity Data Quality: addresses different aspects of data quality, and how to select biodiversity data that is fit for your purpose using the Spatial Portal of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA).
  • Australian Ecological Data: explores how to obtain and use spatial data from the suite of tools of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) with a practical exercise on obtaining data using the TERN AusPlotsR package.
  • Species Distributions & Climate Change: addresses the fundamental aspects of modelling species distributions and how a changing climate might affect biodiversity, and how to run these models in the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL).
  • Multi-Criteria Analysis: covering several aspects of multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and how to apply this knowledge in a free spatial software tool (MCAS-S).
  • Environmental Microbial Diversity: explores how to assess the complexity and abundance of specific taxonomic groupings of microbes through combining DNA sequencing technology with bioinformatics approaches using Galaxy Australia.
Meet eight new ecoEd Champions

Eight new ecoEd Champions received training in Canberra from 11-13 December 2018. The three training days included an intensive program during which the champions were introduced to the concepts behind biological and environmental data access, management, visualisation and analysis.

“Even for someone without a lot of GIS experience, the tools are easy to use and I will certainly use some of the ecoEd modules in my teaching,” said ecoEd Champion Pieter Poot of the University of Western Australia.

“I really like the participatory approach that enables people to be more involved in the process of analysing data and decision making,” said fellow champion, Tom Barrett of New South Wales’ Office of Environment and Heritage.

  • For more information on ecoEd please visit the website or contact Dr Chantal Huijbers.
  • Click here to download lecture and workshop materials for six key ecosystem science topics.

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