John Paskus

MSU Extension; Senior Conservation Scientist

Increasing Student Engagement via Teamwork, Collaboration, and Real World Connections

I am developing a new course focused on advancing large-scale conservation projects across the globe. This presents both challenges and opportunities. Through software, technology, and a collaborative approach, the course will improve students’ skills in teamwork, leadership, peer learning, remote collaboration, group decision-making, and both personal and project-based evaluation.

Project Solution:

Through software, technology, and a collaborative approach to learning, This project will improve students’ skills in teamwork, leadership, peer learning, remote collaboration, group decision-making, and both personal and project-based evaluation. All of these skills are considered critical in today’s complex work environment. This course will be based on self directed teams of students who will be working on real world conservation projects. To facilitate this, students will be introduced and trained on software that facilitates teamwork (Microsoft Project and Teams), communication, and conservation project management (Miradi and Miradi Share 4.5).

As part of this project, we will provide all of the licenses needed for Miradi and Miradi Share 4.5. Miradi is a powerful conservation project software application that facilitates communication, documentation, decision-making, and accountability. By covering the costs of the Mirardi license, all students will be able to equally participate without undo hardship. In addition, all reading materials will be posted online via D2L, so students do not need to spend additional dollars on books.

Teams will provide digital feedback on each member of their team on a regular basis (every two to three weeks). Feedback will be based on several metrics determined by both the instructor and students. Teams will also provide constructive feedback on the other teams in the class on a regular basis (every 4 weeks). Feedback will be based on short prepared presentations. This will provide a peer to peer learning opportunity. Specifically, teams will be evaluated based on their draft Conservation Action Plans and Presentations. Individuals will be evaluated via peer assessments, team contributions, and a final exam. Lastly, course structure, content delivery, and methodology will be evaluated via a digital survey (Qualtrics) at critical milestones during the semester.

Learn more about John Paskus (https://www.canr.msu.edu/people/john-joseph-paskus-jr)