Forestry 386 Lab – Aquatic Ecosystems and Fish in Forested Watersheds


Role: Laboratory Instructor, UBC, Forestry Department
Details: 2 independent lab sections per week ~ 40 students per section, 6 labs total, 1 final lab exam
Dates: Jan – April 2010 and 2011 (I also assisted instructing in 2009)

The forestry 386 lab is a required component of a 3-credit lecture-based course entitled “Aquatic Ecosystems and Fish in Forested Watersheds“. The lab is designed to supplement the course lectures which examine stream, lake and wetland ecosystems, and their connections with riparian systems, land-use practices and forest management. In the first 3 lab sessions, students are introduced to fish taxonomy and learn to identify 14 families of British Colombia freshwater fish. The last 3 labs focus on riparian management, stream assessment and restoration ecology. One field trip is taken to a local fish bearing stream where students participate in stream assessment observations and discussions of stream ecology and restoration.

Teaching responsibilities: As the primary lab instructor, my responsibility was to organize and facilitate each lab session. This involved preparing lecture material, instruction during the lab sessions, creating and facilitating in-class lab activities, coordinating the class field trip, and administering and marking lab/course midterms and finals. I worked to enhance lessons from previous years by introducing more multi-media content, including more opportunities for class participation as well as introducing into each lecture a brief section called “Science in Action” where I would highlight current graduate research projects relevant to the course material. In addition, I have helped to improve the organization of the course by developing structured lesson plans and teaching guide documents for use in future years.

Course Website
My Reflections
Lab Lesson Plans (PDF file)
TA Instructional guide I developed (PDF file)
Student Feedback (PDF file)

Conservation Ecology – Curriculum design and program development (Vancouver Aquarium)


Role: I played a primary in the creation, development, and piloting of this new school program. The program is now offered at the Aquarium and was presented at the National Marine Educator’s Association Conference in July 2008 and received rave reviews.

Program Description: The program encourages students to look more closely at how humans are affecting marine ecosystems. Students begin their journey by learning the natural characteristics of three different ecosystems – rocky reefs, kelp forests and coral reefs – through a series of demonstrations with props and gallery observations. In the second half of the program, students return to the classroom to build model ecosystems like the ones they just observed. Then, they are given a range of scenarios to “develop” their ecosystems where they are encouraged to strike a balance between economics and the environment.

Role in program development: After a some time participating in group brain storming meetings, I took on the leading role in researching curriculum needs, outlining program learning objectives, and designing interactive lessons. I created the hands-on activities and student instructions for each ‘ecosystem station’ and built the props and learning materials required. I also wrote the initial volunteer training documents and trained a group of volunteers to help deliver the program as a pilot to several visiting classes.

Program education guide and training manual (I wrote) (PDF File) 


Vancouver Aquarium French and English School Programs


Role: Coordinatrice des Programmes Scholaires en Francais (2 programs), and coordinator for 2 school programs in English

Details: ~ 25-35 students per program, 4-8 programs/week, 2h programs

Dates: 2006 – 2007 (Programs run Sept – June)

Description: The programs I was charged with facilitating were:

Les Invertébrés de la Colombie Britannique (BC Invertebrates) (gr. 5 – 7): Students study live specimens from four of B.C.’s major marine invertebrate phyla and explore the ecology of local seashore animals in the Wet Lab classroom. Conservation issues and stewardship opportunities are also discussed.

Les Merveilles de la Mer (Water Wonders ) (gr. K-4): Students have s a hands-on opportunity to explore the underwater world by observing, discussing, and touching live aquatic animals in the Aquarium’s Wild Coast, Tropic Zone, and Treasures of the BC Coast. They learn about the importance of water and conservation actions we can do to help aquatic animals.

The Art of Experimental Design (gr. 8-12): This program guides students through the scientific method using live marine animals. Using hands-on activities, students learn to develop a hypothesis, design an experiment with a control, identify experimental variables and the importance of repeating an experiment.

Invertebrate marine biology (gr. 10 -12): Same as BC invertebrates (above), but with more detailed content for older students.

Coordinator / instructor responsibilities: My principle responsibility was to ensure the effective delivery of each school program I coordinated. This first involved recruiting, training, and supervising a diverse team of volunteers who helped to instruct each program. During the programs I would organize student/teacher greeting and entry, give the primary lesson introduction, often instruct one of the small groups during interactive station rotations, and ensure volunteers were instructing their groups sufficiently. Time outside of program delivery was spent designing and implementing continuous volunteer training opportunities, liaising with school teachers to promote and market programs, and developing educational resources and documents for teachers to compliment the program curriculum.

School programs website
Program training guide for volunteers – Les Invertébrés (I wrote) (PDF File)
Program training guide for volunteers – Les Merveilles (I wrote) (PDF File) 


Conservation 451 – Integrated Field School (Aquatic module)


Role: Course TA in the field (primary instructor for amphibian ecology module), UBC, Forestry Department

Details: 6 days total, 3 full days instructing field labs, ~30 students ( 5 students/section and 2 sections/day), deliver 1 evening lecture, create and administer oral exam, write questions for written exam

Dates: Nov 1-7 2009, Oct.31-Nov. 6 2010

Description: The aquatic module of CONS 451 is a one-week intensive field course held at the UBC Malcom Knapp Research Forest. Over the week students rotate through 3 field sites learning lake limnology, fish ecology, aquatic invertebrate biology, stream assessment, and amphibian sampling and conservation. Topical lectures are given each evening and students collect data that is used to write a scientific report. For the amphibian module that I TA’d, students collect field data and compare amphibian and zooplankton communities (food web interactions and top-down effects) between two lake systems. Students also conduct 2 terrestrial amphibian surveys and exposing them to different species and research methods.

Teaching responsibilities: My role as a TA primarily involved the facilitation and instruction of the amphibian sampling and assessment field site. This first involved initial site preparation (setting traps, preparing canoes, checking transect locations). Lakeside instruction involved introducing students to amphibian biology and conservation, demonstrating sampling techniques, facilitating students in their execution of amphibian sampling (3 techniques used) and aiding with specimen identification and questions. I also gave the evening lecture on amphibian biology and conservation, and facilitated the amphibian section of the oral exam.

“Jenn was very knowledgeable and approachable, I really appreciated her genuine concern for student learning and her sense of humor” – CONS 451 student

“Keep her! We like her. She is such a good TA even better than some of the profs I had” – CONS 451 student

Course Website
My Reflections
Instructional guide I designed to help TA lesson planning (2010 / 2009) (PDF File)
Student Feedback 2010 (PDF File)

Special Topics in Molecular Biology (Foundation course)


Role: Course Instructor, Quest University Canada

Details: First year course (with some upper year students), 3.5 weeks, 3 hrs/day, 5days/week, 17 students

Dates: Intensive, Feb. 1 – Feb. 29 2012

This course is geared toward students who have an introductory background in gene expression. We explore in depth some chosen frontiers in cell and molecular biology. Students become familiar with some of the most current tools used in molecular research and dive into the areas of cancer biology, conservation genetics, regenerative medicine, and evolutionary genetics. We study the function of cells and the principles of genetics to understand how cells become cancerous, how the immune system fights invasions, how infectious diseases are transmitted, how embryos develop, how stem cells work, how genes and tissues are cloned, how natural selection operates, and how micro- and macroevolutionary processes occur. Emphasis is placed on understanding the scientific process and interpreting experimental research. Students become comfortable with the use of primary research literature, formulating hypotheses, analyzing data, designing experiments, discussing results, working in the lab, and presenting ideas.

Teaching responsibilities: I had sole responsibility for developing course content and pedagogy. I researched and selected course content, structured all the lesson plans, designed assignments (e.g. two 3-day case studies, an in-class molecular sequencing activity, multiple choice quizzes, podcast assignment, essay assignment), delivered class lectures, planned 2 field trips, and hosted an in-class debate. For all of these assignments I was charged with outlining evaluation criteria, conducting student assessment, and tracking assigning final grades.
(Link) Course Syllabus

Student Reflections (PDF file)
Course Syllabus (PDF file)
Class Blog Site (I posted questions raised in class, students posted answers)