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  1. Abstract

    Online educational videos have the potential to enhance undergraduate biology learning, for example by showcasing contemporary scientific research and providing content coverage. Here, we describe the integration of nine videos into a large‐enrollment (n = 356) introductory evolution and ecology course via weekly homework assignments. We predicted that videos that feature research stories from contemporary scientists could reinforce topics introduced in lecture and provide students with novel insights into the nature of scientific research. Using qualitative analysis of open‐ended written feedback from the students on each video assigned throughout the term (n = 133–229 responses per video) and on end‐of‐quarter evaluations (n = 243), we identified common categories of student perspectives. All videos received more positive than negative comments and all videos received comments indicating that students found them intellectually and emotionally stimulating, accessible, and relevant to course content. Additionally, all videos also received comments indicating some students found them intellectually unstimulating, though these comments were generally far less numerous than positive comments. Students responded positively to videos that incorporated at least one of the following: documentary‐style filming, very clear links to course content (especially hands‐on activities completed by the students), relevance to recent world events, clarity on difficult topics, and/or charismatic narrators or species. We discuss opportunities and challenges for the use of online educational videos in teaching ecology and evolution, and we provide guidelines instructors can use to integrate them into their courses.

     
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  2. Barnard, Daron (Ed.)

    This report provides a broad overview of the 2019 Undergraduate Biology Education Research Gordon Research Conference, titled “Achieving Widespread Improvement in Undergraduate Education,” and the associated Gordon Research Seminar, highlighting major themes that cut across invited talks, poster presentations, and informal discussions.

     
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  3. Since the Industrial Revolution began approximately 200 years ago, global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) has increased from 270 to 401 µL L−1, and average global temperatures have risen by 0.85°C, with the most pronounced effects occurring near the poles (IPCC, 2013). In addition, the last 30 years were the warmest decades in 1,400 years (PAGES 2k Consortium, 2013). By the end of this century, [CO2] is expected to reach at least 700 µL L−1, and global temperatures are projected to rise by 4°C or more based on greenhouse gas scenarios (IPCC, 2013). Precipitation regimes also are expected to shift on a regional scale as the hydrologic cycle intensifies, resulting in greater extremes in dry versus wet conditions (Medvigy and Beaulieu, 2012). Such changes already are having profound impacts on the physiological functioning of plants that scale up to influence interactions between plants and other organisms and ecosystems as a whole (Fig. 1). Shifts in climate also may alter selective pressures on plants and, therefore, have the potential to influence evolutionary processes. In some cases, evolutionary responses can occur as rapidly as only a few generations (Ward et al., 2000; Franks et al., 2007; Lau and Lennon, 2012), but there is still much to learn in this area, as pointed out by Franks et al. (2014). Such responses have the potential to alter ecological processes, including species interactions, via ecoevolutionary feedbacks (Shefferson and Salguero-Gómez, 2015). In this review, we discuss microevolutionary and macroevolutionary processes that can shape plant responses to climate change as well as direct physiological responses to climate change during the recent geologic past as recorded in the fossil record. We also present work that documents how plant physiological and evolutionary responses influence interactions with other organisms as an example of how climate change effects on plants can scale to influence higher order processes within ecosystems. Thus, this review combines findings in plant physiological ecology and evolutionary biology for a comprehensive view of plant responses to climate change, both past and present. 
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