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Online Content for Experiential Learning of Tropical Systems


OCELOTS collaborations provide novel opportunities for connections among networks and organizations in a way that will integrate efforts and ‘float the boats’ for all communities. All communities are interested in providing engaging online educational resources that enhance undergraduate biology education (UBE) and foster inclusion. The coordinated activities will drive innovations in our model for creating, adapting, and disseminating innovative online modules (OERs), as we learn from our agile, iterative, collaborative process and share advances across networks. For specific activities, see information about individual collaborating organizations. Credit for figure: Nadav Gazit.

The OCELOTS collaborations


Gala is an open-source platform that enables authors to easily and collaboratively create and adapt engaging, user-friendly online, open-access modules. Participants in OCELOTS collaborate with personnel at Gala to integrate software enhancements as needs arise in creating online modules.

Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation

ATBC (Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation) is the largest and oldest academic society for tropical biology. ATBC is dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems and has almost 900 members from 65 countries. ATBC’s members will provide leadership in creating, adapting, and disseminating OCELOTS online modules. 

Ecological Society of America

ESA (Ecological Society of America). This oldest and largest professional society for U.S. ecologists has ~8,000 members. This collaboration involves incorporation of the 4DEE framework into OCELOTS modules. We will also hold an OCELOTS workshop at ESA’s 2023 Life Discovery – Doing Science education conference and convene in-person workshops in conjunction with ESA annual meetings.

Organization for Tropical Studies

OTS (Organization for Tropical Studies) is a consortium of ~50 universities, colleges, and research institutions from seven countries on four continents. OTS’ mission is to provide leadership in education, research, and responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. The OTS model for education will be infused into the OCELOTS online modules through participation of the OTS community in OCELOTS, thereby enriching the OCELOTS modules and providing a model for other disciplines.


QUBES (Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education & Synthesis) provides a platform that supports Open Education Practices that allows hundreds of materials to be used, modified and re-posted with attribution, thus increasing the use and value of materials. QUBES supports OCELOTS’ online workshops (Incubators and Faculty Mentoring Networks, FMNs), and hosts the project management website for OCELOTS modules.

Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners

NCEP (Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners). Led by the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), NCEP has pioneered improved access to high quality, locally relevant OERs and training in science pedagogy for conservation educators and practitioners. Information about OCELOTS activities and online modules is shared with NCEP’s network of ~4,500 educators; their website receives >30,000 page visits/yr. Members of the NCEP team have participated in OCELOTS working groups.

Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education

BLUE (Biodiversity Literacy in Undergraduate Education). This Research Coordinated Network focuses on digital biodiversity data and data acumen. Recent efforts have leveraged the Extended Specimen concept to engage students virtually in experiential learning with large complex biodiversity data resources. The BLUE Network reaches a global community of researchers, data scientists, and science educators. The BLUE and OCELOTS networks are co-developing and facilitating implementation of online educational resources and co-hosting workshops that utilize a network of data resources to address global questions.   

Howard Hughes Medical Institute-BioInteractive

HHMI BI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute-BioInteractive). This NGO provides free educational resources for general biology instruction, including several interactive modules that can support the teaching of tropical biology concepts. HHMI personnel have participated in an OCLEOTS Workshop. Planned activities include co-hosting one Incubator workshop for creating new modules and helping participants incorporate BioInteractive resources and tools into creation of online modules that leverage authentic scientific stories and data sets.

Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub

MBDH (Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub). This is an NSF-funded network of partners who are investing in data and data sciences to address grand challenges for society and science. MBDH raises awareness of OCELOTS within its 12-state region through its communication channels and assists with outreach to its stakeholder communities where appropriate. The MBDH also encourages the project to participate in its meetings and webinars to present results and opportunities for engagement, particularly with students, trainees, and early-career researchers. For more Information visit: the MBDH Learning Innovation Program.


IINSPIRE LSAMP (Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation). This NSF-funded Midwest STEM alliance for innovation in research and education is a network of higher education institutions, leaders, faculty/staff, and industry and community partners, focused on the success of underrepresented minority students in STEM. This alliance has strong connections with community colleges in Iowa and a network of alliances across the US. Planned activities include collaborating to identify community college participants in workshops and serving on the Steering Committee.

Organization of Biological Field Stations

OBFS (Organization of Biological Field Stations). Their mission is to help member stations increase their effectiveness in supporting critical research, education, and outreach programs. OBFS pursues this goal in a manner that maximizes diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability, and transparency. Anticipated collaborative activities include workshops that enable researchers to bring the flavor of their field research into online modules and live exchanges between students and researchers.

Quantitative Biology at Community Colleges

QB@CC (Quantitative Biology at Community Colleges). This RCN-UBE (Research Coordinated Network in Undergraduate Biology) has teams of math and biology faculty developing modules to address some very specific quantitative skills identified by their community. OCELOTS will collaborate with QB@CC to create a module specific for Introductory through upper-division courses. One Faculty Mentoring Network workshop will be for 2- and 4-year college faculty to modify OCELOTS modules for their needs.

High-throughput Discovery Science & Inquiry-based Case Studies for Today’s Students

HITS (High-throughput Discovery Science & Inquiry-based Case Studies for Today’s Students). This RCN-UBE (Research Coordinated Network in Undergraduate Biology) project seeks to improve student quantitative skills and participation in high-throughput discovery. HITS will collaborate with OCELOTS in implementing quantitative tools into online modules on Gala.