Student feedback from Day 1 of WeDigBio

The following is a collection of comments and reactions from students that used Notes From Nature as part of their classroom activities on the first day of WeDigBio. The is an innovative example of service learning and community engagement being used in the classroom. The NFN team is always excited to see these kinds of activities being integrated into the classroom setting!

“I really enjoyed the WeDigBio Blitz; there is something about contributing to digitizing important records that are so vital to botanists and other researchers that is satisfying. Of interest: I found two plants of the twenty-five I did that were collected on the day of my dad’s birth!”

“This Notes from Nature transcription activity was quite valuable. I felt like I was legitimately helping and contributing to the scientific community; the WeDigBio experience is super important.”

“This morning we contributed to science in wedigbio. I enjoyed converting the old data sheets into a database and felt good that I contributed to humanity.”

“Wedigbio is a very well designed website. It was easy to use and I felt like I accomplished something for the greater good of our world. The blitz itself was cool to think about when looking at it from an outside point of view. There are thousands of people around the world working together to transcribe the world’s flora! That is amazing to think about.”

“The experience of transcribing for Notes from Nature was very rewarding. The idea that I am contributing to the study of scientific specimens from around the world is very exciting and I was happy to be a part of it. “

“Notes From Nature is a fun and easy way to transcribe plants into the online system. I didn’t experience any glitches with the system. Some of the plants are difficult to transcribe because the herbarium notes aren’t very detailed, especially those from out of the country.“

“My experience today with transcribing for Notes From Nature was fulfilling in that I felt like I was contributing to a bigger picture for further discoveries and enabling those in the field to continue to collect and document specimens.”

“I really enjoyed this assignment and the idea that all of us could make an impact in the scientific community. My favorite discovery was hearing that each label/specimen is transcribed four times in an attempt to minimize errors. While I think more activity on the site might get rid of transcribing jobs, this is a really innovative project. I liked being able to see how botany is transitioning into the modern age with everything at our finger tips.”   

“This morning’s Notes from Nature experience was fun and informative especially hearing more information about how it works behind the scenes. It also gave a different perspective of how this work is done, I work in the herbarium on campus where digitization is being done and it is not greatly different which was curious. I wish there was a bit more time to go in depth and discuss and reinforce the importance of digitizing plant collections.”

“I found it very helpful to move from material data to technological data since we are in the era of technology. Making this ability to help out public is a very good idea and motivated students will be sure to help out, I know I will. The experience overall was hit or miss with the transcribing, some handwriting is hard to read and some information is omitted, regardless, this is a great idea to make available to the public.”

“I really enjoyed being able to transcribe for the Notes From Nature. It is very easy to access and fun to see different types of plants that are found in different areas of the world. I also felt like I was doing my part by being able to transcribe something so important that a computer could not. Overall it was a wonderful experience.”

“It was an interesting experience for the limited amount of time that I was in class. This is something that I would probably do for fun on my spare time.”

“The blitz was really fun, I was more into it than I thought I was going to be. I think the fact that the whole class was doing it at the same time made it much more exciting. “

“I transcribed 9 specimens. I chose to do them from the University of South Florida Herbarium. I liked that I was already familiar with most of the plants I had the chance to look at. Most of them where approximately 40 years old. However the oldest specimen was from1959 and the newest was collected in 2012. Very interesting to look at specimens that old.”

“When transcribing the labels on WeDigBio, I realized for the first time how unstandardized the labeling system is. Some collectors put all necessary information with plant facts, others put the bare minimum and didn’t do a very good job on describing the location of the specimen.”

“Transcribing for Notes from Nature was simple and interesting and certainly a productive experience. Even doing something as easy as typing the records of a particular plant specimen feels like a significant contribution to the scientific community. It also provides an example of what details should be recorded about plants for other scientists and helps users take one more step on the road to becoming a botanist.”

“WeDigBio was a good way to spend my class time. I was able to learn how to digitize records really easily. The entire process was quick, painless and very straightforward.”

“This was a fun experience, and I felt like I was making a positive contribution to science. Fortunately my specimens were very clear, and easy to decipher the information. It made me confident in my submission and that I was able to supply accurate information. I also noticed there were different types of specimens such as crabs to be transcribed, and I would like to do those as well.”

“It was hard to read a lot of the labeling. Also, I noticed that for the SLU records, if a record from found on campus, it just said “on campus” and didn’t say the county. So this part I’m sure will be missing for a lot of their records. The activity went more or less smoothly, although I am not a huge plant person, so I didn’t personally enjoy the activity very much, although I understand the scientific value in it.”

“Learning about how the notes from nature website was developed was interesting. Doing more label identifications were helpful to learn how the pressed plant labels should be. Doing the label identification is also fun to do, and a great citizen science website that is user friendly.”

“Transcribing Notes from Nature was cool because we got to help science as citizens by helping create an online database for plants. We viewed pictures of plants and labels and transferred the information to the online database by filling out the proper information. I think it would be interesting to see how many people participated so far and I will definitely participate in the future.”

“One of my specimens had an incorrect scientific name. Thankfully we had a subtle pencil correction on the specimen to go off of. All of my specimens were collected by Olga Lakela, who evidently was an influential female botanist in the 60’s. “

“I really enjoyed the concept of the transcription event. Being a little competitive myself, I viewed it as a challenge to get as many done in the time we had. I do actually feel like I am providing a valuable service by transcribing for Notes From Nature. Learning that what I transcribe will be transcribed by 3 other people removed any stress that I might get something wrong and prevent me from wanting to participate. I would participate in a future transcription event if I found out about it.”

“It was a really interesting event to take part of (WeDigBio). Notes From Nature was an easy site to do this through, as it walked you through what to look for in separate steps and provided examples. However, the specimen navigation (zooming in and moving to different areas) was a little difficult. Additionally, the specimen label was missing information sometimes, such as county or habitat.”

“Transcribing through Notes From Nature was a interesting experience. It was neat to see such a variety of specimens, some that were many decades old. I liked being able to do something that benefits the scientific community. WeDigBio seems like it is and will continue to be a huge event.”

“I think that notes from nature is a great way to start developing museums labels for herbariums. I sometimes could not find all the information and some of the labels were a bit hard to read but that comes with the territory I suppose. The site was nicely made and easy to navigate. I would definitely use it again!”

“I think the Notes From Nature activity was a really cool activity we did in class today because it was a world-wide effort. There were a few issues I found with using the website that were kind of confusing when it came to transcribing. Some specimens had more than one label with different information on each, two specimens popped up at once a few times, and not all the information needed to transcribe was given for each specimen. Overall fun and cool class activity!”

“My experience transcribing for Notes from Nature was quite interesting. For the most part I had species that were found in Florida except for one that was a herbarium sheet from Finland. It was interesting to transcribe for a species from a different country. I was also thankful that all the herbarium sheets I transcribed had typed information rather than handwritten information.”

“My experience transcribing for Notes from Nature was quite interesting. For the most part I had species that were found in Florida except for one that was a herbarium sheet from Finland. It was interesting to transcribe for a species from a different country. I was also thankful that all the herbarium sheets I transcribed had typed information rather than handwritten information.”

“I enjoyed the class this morning, I transcribed around 10 plants. The website itself runs great, although I had a few problems throughout with the picture freezing when trying to zoom in or out but refreshing the page seemed to be a quick fix. Hearing the guest speakers side of the story to the beginning of the site gave me more respect for the site and for the cause. I now see why the website is necessary to preserve herbarium specimens because some I transcribed were beginning to fade and wrinkle (granted they were added to the collection during 1968).”

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