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  1. Ecologists are increasingly using macrosystems approaches to understand population, community, and ecosystem dynamics across interconnected spatial and temporal scales. Consequently, integrating macrosystems skills, including simulation modeling and sensor data analysis, into undergraduate and graduate curricula is needed to train future environmental biologists. Through the Macrosystems EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration) program, we developed four teaching modules to introduce macrosystems ecology to ecology and biology students. Modules combine high-frequency sensor data from GLEON (Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network) and NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) sites with ecosystem simulation models. Pre- and post-module assessments of 319 students across 24 classrooms indicate that hands-on, inquiry-based modules increase students’ understanding of macrosystems ecology, including complex processes that occur across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Following module use, students were more likely to correctly define macrosystems concepts, interpret complex data visualizations and apply macrosystems approaches in new contexts. In addition, there was an increase in student’s self-perceived proficiency and confidence using both long-term and high-frequency data; key macrosystems ecology techniques. Our results suggest that integrating short (1–3 h) macrosystems activities into ecology courses can improve students’ ability to interpret complex and non-linear ecological processes. In addition, our study serves as one of the firstmore »documented instances for directly incorporating concepts in macrosystems ecology into undergraduate and graduate ecology and biology curricula.« less
  2. Abstract There is a clear demand for quantitative literacy in the life sciences, necessitating competent instructors in higher education. However, not all instructors are versed in data science skills or research-based teaching practices. We surveyed biological and environmental science instructors (n = 106) about the teaching of data science in higher education, identifying instructor needs and illuminating barriers to instruction. Our results indicate that instructors use, teach, and view data management, analysis, and visualization as important data science skills. Coding, modeling, and reproducibility were less valued by the instructors, although this differed according to institution type and career stage. The greatest barriers were instructor and student background and space in the curriculum. The instructors were most interested in training on how to teach coding and data analysis. Our study provides an important window into how data science is taught in higher education biology programs and how we can best move forward to empower instructors across disciplines.
  3. null (Ed.)