Inclusion and Sustainability via Virtual Field Courses in Ecology

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Virtual field courses are gaining traction as a potential future of education due to several key factors. Firstly, they offer increased accessibility by eliminating geographical and financial barriers that often limit participation in traditional field courses. Students from anywhere can access the same educational experiences, democratizing learning opportunities. Secondly, virtual field courses are cost-effective, as they eliminate expenses associated with travel, accommodation, and logistics. This affordability makes them more accessible to a wider range of students and institutions. Additionally, virtual courses provide a safe and controlled learning environment, free from the inherent risks of physical fieldwork. They offer flexibility in scheduling and pacing, allowing students to learn at their own convenience. Virtual field courses also contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint associated with travel. With advancements in technology, these courses can provide increasingly immersive experiences through virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. While they may not fully replicate the hands-on experiences of traditional field courses, virtual field courses offer a compelling alternative that combines accessibility, affordability, safety, flexibility, sustainability, and technological advancements. This demonstration will immerse you in our virtual ThingLink field course based in the Mourne Mountains and replicate the laboratory experience associated with sample and data analysis. Initially developed for use during the COVID pandemic, our virtual courses now enable students who previously were unable to attend residential courses to attain the skills and experience of a field ecologist and meet the learning outcomes for multiple ecology based undergraduate and postgraduate modules.
Period14 Sep 2023
Event titleEnhancing Fieldwork Learning: The 13th EFL Showcase
Event typeConference
LocationBirmingham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science
  • Virtual learning
  • Digital Technology
  • Inclusion