(Edited on 8 November, 2013)
While I have taken general biodiversity and invertebrate courses at the U. of Alberta a few years ago, I never did get around to taking an entomology course. I have an obvious need to learn more in this area, so it occurred to me: why not design my own?
Cheeky? I know…
What if I took the program outline of a respected university’s Introduction to Entomology course and then proceeded to find how much of that course could be properly filled online from various sources? It struck me as an interesting personal learning project that would useful to share this winter.
But let’s be honest about this. A cobbled-together online course by an amateur naturalist is no contender against an real-life course led by an academic. Gone are the interactions with the prof and classmates, gone are the collecting trips, the mounting and labeling of specimens and the lab work, and gone are the rigorous testing , evaluations and final exams. I’ll try to include some aspects of these: the interactions can take place in the comment section, photographs and videos can substitute for collected specimens and my meager (and isopropyl soaked) collection of insects can perhaps serve as lab specimens for some basic dissections. With any luck some real entomologists will chime in occasionally with suggestions, corrections, photographs, videos and helpful links. I will accept all that are relevant, even gladly accepting guest-posts from any qualified person. Once all the scattered elements of this ‘course’ are complete, I will devote a page to tying the whole program together, and that will be available for all to access.
Note that a well-organized online course already exists: the General Entomology course at North Carolina State University, which is generously offered by Dr. John Meyer. My attempt will draw on resources from a number of sites across the web as well as through any college or university text books that I can get access to. The ultimate purpose is to engage myself in the subject in a more methodical way, rather than the scattered approach I generally take when pursuing other interests.
So what does a basic University level course in Entomology teach? That will be the subject of my next ‘Ento. 101’ post.