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Research on teaching statistics and R programming

We are recognizing the value of teaching statistics simultaneously with the programs that will provide plentiful opportunities to our students. However, programs such as R require basic levels of programming that most life science undergraduates do not have. Both statistics and programming are hard subjects that present a high intrinsic cognitive load. 

I used the framework for instructional design provided by cognitive load theory to design a series of homework assignments to teach R in statistics courses. I tested the effectiveness of these assignments using student grades and surveys.

This research was supported by the Public Scholar Initiative at UBC and the CIRTL network

You can find our event on engaging education for the public good here.

Relevant publications: 

Successful integration of data science in undergraduate biostatistics courses using cognitive load theory.

Guzman, L. M., Pennell, M.W., Nikelski, E., Srivastava, D.S.

CBE-Life Science Education. 18(4), ar48-es5.



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Teaching conservation data science in Colombia

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Through my training I have developed and taught courses in data science and statistics. I have now partnered with Ecodiversa Tropical, an non-profit organization devoted to the conservation of biodiversity in Colombia, to develop training modules on conservation data science for undergraduate students. Our first set of workshops can be found here. We were recently funded by the Experiment Foundation.

Developing data science tools for conservation

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A major barrier for conservation practitioners is to find and interact with the data collected by researchers. I developed an interactive web app that farmers, gardeners and conservation practitioners can use to explore plant-pollinator networks of British Columbia, and to figure out which plants to plant to enhance pollinator habitat you can see the app.


Relevant publications: 

Closing the research-implementation gap using data science tools, a case study with pollinators of British Columbia

Guzman, L. M., Kelly, T., Morandin, L., M'Gonigle, L.K., Elle, E.


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