Citizen science and global biodiversity
Citizen science and global biodiversity

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Citizen science and global biodiversity

Week 1: What is citizen science?


In this week you will be introduced to citizen science projects and activities, which will give you an opportunity to appreciate the benefits of becoming a citizen scientist and joining citizen science communities.

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In October 2009, six-year-old Katie from Berkshire, England, saw an unusual furry moth on her windowsill at home. Curious to find out what it was, she showed it to her dad who helped her take a photo and posted it on the then new citizen sized platform, Within 24 hours, the iSpot online community confirmed it to be the are the most Leaf Notcher, a species never previously seen in the UK and Europe.
This example of citizen science demonstrates its power. Anyone can get involved, make discoveries, and contribute to scientific knowledge, while at the same time being able to engage with and learn about science. This first week of the course looks at the growth of citizen science and how it contributes to scientific knowledge. I hope you are inspired to get involved.
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • understand the role of citizen science as a tool for scientific investigation (enquiry) and research
  • describe the practice, growth and development of citizen science
  • recognise how citizen science engages the public with science
  • understand how, when and why citizen science supports biological recording (environmental monitoring).

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.


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