What is TIEE?

Welcome to Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE), a peer-reviewed web-based collection of ecological educational materials. TIEE is a resource for busy ecology faculty who are looking for new ways to reach their students, or who perhaps want to learn more about teaching and learning.

TIEE grew out of several ESA sessions about undergraduate teaching. In these meetings some faculty said that they wanted to actively involve their students more in classes, but didn’t know how. Others knew there was a great deal of good teaching information on the web but did not have the time to find it. Some experienced faculty already trying new ways to teach wanted to push themselves further. We developed TIEE as a result of all of these comments.

The three sections of the Volume — Experiments, Issues, and Teaching — are designed to meet this broad range of needs. Experiments are for lab sections of courses, and Issues can be used in lecture, lab, and for homework. All of the TIEE materials include background information on the topic addressed, instructions for students, and notes to faculty. There are many links from both Experiments and Issues to the Teaching section which includes web-based resources, essays, and tutorials.

ESA Coordinator


Current Editorial Board

Past Project Personnel


TIEE Associate Editors

Managing Editor

TIEE Evaluators

TIEE Technical Editor/Web Specialist

TIEE Advisory Board

Past Contributors

Funding History of TIEE



Program Goals

TIEE is designed to meet three challenges to the reform of ecology teaching.

  1. The Integration Challenge of Sound Science, Innovative Pedagogy, and Advanced Instructional Technology — New curricular materials must be developed that are both scientifically AND pedagogically valid and also that use innovative teaching technologies such as hypermedia and the internet.
  2. The Dissemination Challenge — New curriculum materials must be developed that are accessible to and adaptable by a wide range of faculty in diverse institutions with limited resources using advances in technology.
  3. The Elevate Teaching as Scholarship Challenge — Peer review is highly valued by faculty, and therefore educational activities and writings that are reviewed and published by a scientific society are much more likely to be viewed by colleagues and administrators as valuable and meritorious scholarship.

TIEE addresses these challenges through the following goals.

Research and Evaluation

Evaluation of TIEE's effectiveness is essential so that we better understand aspects that are valuable and what features need adjustment. Our evaluation focuses on a set of questions:

  1. Who uses TIEE, and how?
  2. How do users rate the scientific and pedagogical quality of TIEE materials?
  3. How has TIEE influenced teaching practice?
  4. Who submits materials to TIEE for publication, and why?

Results of the evaluation plus our methods are published in D'Avanzo et al. 2006 [PDF] (304 KB).

In 2005, we began a "scientific teaching" research program (Teaching: Evaluation & Research). During the last few years, Handelsman et al. (2004) and others have emphasized the need for scientific teaching: the application of scientific research methodology by faculty to their own teaching. In 2005, we issued a request for applications and from this pool selected 15 faculty from a range of institutions. These faculty are systematically studying possible impacts of TIEE on their teaching by identifying measurable outcomes, such as students' ability to make figures from raw data, and are using a variety of approaches, including pre/post tests and surveys, in their studies. Replicate measurements in the same course over a semester, over several years, and across institutions can potentially result in publishable findings. Many of these faculty are presenting their work as posters at the 2006 ESA meeting.

Our hypothesis is that these "practitioner researchers" will have a deeper understanding of why the student-active approaches featured in TIEE (such as groupwork) promote increased student learning and will be more committed to their use. This can be tested in a comparative study (e.g., Feldman 1996). Future plans for TIEE include expansion of this scientific research component and the publication of results from this research in a new journal of ecological education within TIEE.