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Experiences in Developing a Learning-Centered Natural Resources Curriculum
The objective of this article is to describe how faculty members in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University have begun making the transition from teaching-centered to learning-centered classrooms. Specifically, it outlines the coordinated approach that has been taken to incorporating active and collaborative learning strategies in a group of six integrated courses in the forestry curriculum. Other topics include the curriculum, the integration of learning-centered pedagogy into the curriculum, the cooperative skills and interactive strategies that were emphasized, and student responses to this pedagogical shift. Survey data collected from students indicated greater student awareness of how their own learning occurred, the importance of interaction with both peers and faculty for their learning, and an increased level of interaction with college faculty than students had previously experienced. Student ratings of this set of courses also indicated that the learning-centered curriculum was effective in engaging them as learners, improving their communication skills, prompting their curiosity to know more, helping them apply fundamental principles to new problems, and developing the ability to think critically.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Graduate / Professional
Type of resource:
  • Text:
    • Journal article
  • Educational theory and practice
  • Environmental science
Technical requirements:
Adobe Acrobat reader
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 2003, American Society of Agronomy.
DLESE Catalog ID: EVAL-TLKT-000-000-000-217
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: The Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education

Author: J. Thompson
Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Iowa State University

Author: Steve Jungst
Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Iowa State University