Louw Receives NSF Grant for Citizen Science

October 12, 2015

Learning Media Design Center Director and HCII faculty member Marti Louw will receive a three-year, $1.7 million National Science Foundation award to develop and study a cyberlearning tool that supports deep looking and learning in citizen science.

The grant, "Learning to See, Seeing to Learn: A Sociotechnical System Supporting Taxonomic Identification Activities in Volunteer-Based Water Quality Biomonitoring," enables Louw and her colleagues to develop an open educational resource and supporting training materials to improve observational practices and freshwater insect ID skills. Students and volunteers need these skills to gather high-quality citizen science data for water-quality monitoring of local streams, lakes, estuaries, wetlands and ground water resources. This project builds upon the team's high-resolution digital image collection of aquatic macroinvertebrates. Overall, the research aims to improve the reliability of citizen-generated data by increasing volunteer engagement, confidence and accuracy in visual identification tasks.

Carnegie Mellon's HCII will lead this design-based learning research and implementation effort in collaboration with the School of Design and the CREATE Lab, and in close partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development CenterCarnegie Museum of Natural HistoryStroud Water Research Center and Clemson University. They will also collaborate with five regional volunteer biomonitoring organizations: Maryland DNR's Stream Waders program, Trout Unlimited’s Cold Water Conservation Corp, Nature Abound’s Senior Environmental Corp, Dickinson College’s ALLARM and Nine Mile Run Watershed Association’s Urban Ecostewards programs.

Learn more on the NSF website.