Marking Observations for Credit

Hello Geographers:

Just a reminder -- To earn credit, all observations must be captured by Friday, December 8th at 11:59 PM and include the following:

1. All species are identified

2. All observations are marked as "captive/cultivated" if not found in the wild

3. All observations have at least a relative location indicated (absolute preferred but not manditory)

4. All observations need to be connected to the class project via iNaturalist "WKU GEOG 227 - Fall 2017"

Also, there should not be an over abundance of captive animals and plants (i.e. zoos, aquariums, flower shops, etc)

Posted by egreunke egreunke, November 18, 2017 02:51 PM

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Coming from outside, I am finding a serious failure in upholding of stipulation 2, particularly in woody plants, and particularly around the three sites of Bowling Green town, the Western Kentucky University campus, and the Baker Arboretum. I've had to tag probably over a thousand obviously cultivated plants from these sites as 'Not wild', when this should already have been done by the students, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by nutcracker 5 months ago (Flag)
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To add on to the comment by nutcracker, I've also noticed hundreds of consistently incorrect IDs from around the campus. Not only are they usually cultivated (and not marked as so), but the IDs usually represent the first recommendation by the AI that recommends species. It would be helpful if the students could make the effort to try and label the plants they find in broad categories (such as dicots or grasses) rather than an incorrect species because they just hit the first thing that pops up. For example, I've seen quite a few posts labeled as Laurel sumac that 1) do not even resemble a laurel sumac and 2) are outside the sole range of Southern California. While I do appreciate the effort of getting students into iNaturalist, it would be helpful if they understood the goal of iNaturalist from an accurate data collection perspective.

Posted by rynaturalist 5 months ago (Flag)
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To add to the comments above, I've had to flag many observations of plants and animals that violated copyright or were taken from someone else.

Posted by jbroadhead 5 months ago (Flag)
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Thank you for your feedback. It is very much appreciated.

I will be going through their observations as well and making sure they are marked captive/cultivated.

Since the project is tied to a grade, it's clear some students have tried to cheat the system. I appreciate those of you that have helped to identify the copyright infringement, and other issues.

Posted by egreunke 5 months ago (Flag)
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Thanks! I've just tagged another batch of conifers from the Baker Arboretum as planted. That place really ought to be posted as 'out of bounds' as it isn't a place to look for naturally occurring plants; everything there is planted.

Posted by nutcracker 5 months ago (Flag)
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I second the above comments. There are a lot of copyright infringement issues in addition to inaccurate dates/locations. I'm not sure how much information you put out about including accurate and honest observations, but if this was my university, the copyright infringement would be grounds for an academic misconduct hearing and failing the project.

If you do this again, I would recommend emphasizing the implications of falsifying observations to your students, which would hopefully reduce the workload of volunteers on iNaturalist. The fewer things we have to flag as not wild, date/location inaccurate, copyright infringement, the better.

Posted by malisaspring 5 months ago (Flag)
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I am going to send them all a warning email now, as they have until 11:59 pm to clean up observations, etc.

I thank you all so much for your work with iNaturalist.

Posted by egreunke 5 months ago (Flag)
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Sounds good!

I would note that it looks like a few of them got their accounts suspended, so they might have a hard time fixing anything.

Posted by malisaspring 5 months ago (Flag)
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I, too, appreciate the utilization of iNaturalist in the classroom, but whew, this is waaaaay too many observations required from the students. Next time, I suggest emphasizing more on quality than quantity.

It’d be good for each student to watch the introductory videos on iNaturalist too. There are LOTS of helpful videos and great help content:
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/video+tutorials

Also, it’d be really helpful to read the teacher/professor’s guide:
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/teacher's+guide

Many of us curators just had a really good discussion sparked by @cmeckerman and his class’s projects. They’re quite good and well curated, especially by the professor, although there are still students that act like students and try to cut corners.

Hopefully some of this guidance is helpful! :)

Posted by sambiology 4 months ago (Flag)
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another thing, re #3: what do you mean by relative location? If you are having students guess where things are, PLEASE show them how to use the uncertainty circle (for instance if they only know they saw a tree within Bowling Green the circle should surround the entire city limits). if you map things in the wrong place without doing this, you are containating the site with bad data!The main purpose of iNat is to connect people with nature but it is also often used for research and applied ecology and land management so mapping things arbitrarily can do harm t others using the site.

If they use the app it should tag location for them so that will help. But I have seen some in the wrong place, like several observations mapped at some cave which are obviously in a nursery. When I see these i flag them as not mapped in the right place and it withdraws them from research grade, so if you want the data to actually have value rather than instead doing harm to conservation please make them fix it.

Posted by charlie 4 months ago (Flag)

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