Teaching

My experiences with teaching are diverse. Below you will find details about a selection of the more interesting ones.

 

EEB Academy (2013)

Nick Rasmussen training EEB Academy high school students to identify insects

EEB Academy students sorting field-collected insects to construct a species accumulation curve.

I developed this internship program in collaboration with a group of other graduate students to teach high school students about concepts in ecology and evolutionary biology as well as research. The program consisted of hands-on laboratory and field exercises, reading published papers, and developing ideas for possible research projects. This course laid the groundwork for two similar internship programs that will occur next summer.

 

Freshman Seminar (2010, 2012)

During several semesters, I independently taught a course to introduce freshman undergraduates to research in ecology and evolutionary biology.  In this course, I assigned students to read papers written by members of the Rice Ecology and Evolutionary Biology faculty. We then discussed these papers as a group. Following this discussion, we toured the laboratories of the professors who wrote the papers. Through this course, students gained science literacy, and some even became research assistants in laboratories starting as soon as the following semester.

 

Tropical Ecology (2012)

Nick Rasmussen and student inducing leaf frog eggs to hatch near pond in Belize tropical rainforest

Creating vibrations to induce leaf frog eggs to hatch.

This summer course in Belize provided undergraduates with an introduction to the ecology of coral reefs and rainforests. I was the teaching assistant for this course during the first summer it was offered. Consequently, I was heavily involved with development of course curriculum. During the course itself, I helped conduct field exercises, present lectures, and grade assignments.

 

Field Techniques in Herpetology (2006)

As an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University, I was very interested in and involved with conducting field studies in ecology. During my junior year, I set up a project at the cross country course to survey and monitor the diversity of local amphibians and reptiles, primarily through the use of cover boards. I quickly realized that the diversity of herpetofauna at this site and the site’s close proximity to the university campus made this project an ideal introduction for students to field techniques in herpetology. Consequently, during my senior year, I developed a registered course under the supervision of Dr. Stanley Fox. I combined laboratory and field exercises to teach students how to recognize all the local amphibian and reptile species as well as proper techniques for sexing, measuring, and marking individuals of all the taxonomic groups. Through this project, I trained a group of students in a variety of skills, collected useful data on local herpetofaunal communities, and assembled a voucher collection of specimens, which resides in the Oklahoma State University Collection of Vertebrates.

Nick Rasmussen training Oklahoma State University Zoology students in herpetology field techniques using cover boards

Students capturing a skink they found under one of the cover boards.