Bio-Education takes the next step with BioED
Tuesday, 12 February 2002
THOUSANDS of Australian university students studying in the areas of biology and environment science are set to benefit from a new hi-tech teaching tool developed by the universities of Adelaide, Queensland and Sydney.
BioED is an interactive CD-ROM system that enables students to easily identify thousands of Australian animals, plants and micro-organisms.
Free copies of the CD-ROM, launched today at Adelaide University, will be distributed to every university in Australia.
The BioED CD provides eight separate keys to groups including:
- soil micro-arthropods (segmented invertebrates)
- insect orders
- microscopic fungi
- weeds, and
- urban pests
"There has been a real need for an easy-to-use identification system in CD-ROM form for many years," says Associate Professor Andy Austin from Adelaide University's Centre for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity.
"The CD provides a resource for learning about various groups of organisms with text boxes and some video that provide information on structural characteristic, behaviour, ecology, etc.
"BioED also contains a huge library of digital images and illustrations that would be prohibitively expensive in any printed form."
For instance, the wasp key (part of the work conducted at Adelaide University) contains more than 350 separate images.
In all, there are 500 different groupings representing tens of thousands of Australian species.
"The sheer scale of the material contained in BioED will aid students throughout Australia in the identification of this important part of Australia's biodiversity, and it will help immensely in students' learning," Dr Austin says.
BioED was developed thanks to a $160,000 grant in 1999/2000 from DEETYA's Committee for University Teaching and Staff Development. The project is the first stage of a larger ongoing national initiative that will include other groups of organisms as keys for them are developed.
The University of Adelaide
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