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Turn your research in tropical biology into engaging online learning modules with OCELOTS

Learn about creating online learning modules based on your own research and participate in the OCELOTS network (Online Content for Experiential Learning of Tropical Systems). Tropical biologists work with specialists in pedagogy, interactive data tools, and media to create research-based modules, hosted on a user-friendly, open-source and open-access platform.

Despite the importance of tropical biology in the undergraduate curriculum, many biology curricula and textbooks worldwide provide students with limited exposure to biology and conservation in tropical and global contexts. Agile, easily accessible online open educational resources (OERs) that immerse learners in real-world research in tropical ecosystems are thus urgently needed, especially in the context of providing undergraduates with transformative educational experiences. This workshop will provide an overview of a new platform available for tropical biologists to author innovative online modules. A new network for facilitating Online Content for Experiential Learning of Tropical Systems (OCELOTS) is bringing together a diverse community of tropical biology researchers and experts in active-learning pedagogy, interactive data tools, multimedia content creation, and the Ecological Society of America’s 4DEE (Four-Dimensional Ecological Education) framework. Our common goal is to create research-based modules in tropical biology and conservation, hosted on a user-friendly, open-source and open-access platform: Gala ( In this lunchtime workshop, we will introduce participants to a process that enables tropical biologists with no prior programming experience to turn their field-based research into engaging multimedia-enhanced online modules. The Gala platform has various features that enable authors to embed multilingual content, data learning tools, and novel uses of interactive media into their research-based modules. We will demonstrate how to author a module on the Gala platform and showcase prototype modules that have already been created by OCELOTS-affiliated researchers. Participants are encouraged to bring their own ideas for new modules and will receive feedback as they initiate the process of creating their own research-based module. We will also provide information about upcoming workshops for creating new modules and adapting and adopting existing modules that can be used to enhance courses taught by workshop participants. Through this workshop, we aim to empower tropical biologists to translate their research into online teaching resources for undergraduate students. The goal is also to broaden participation in this new OCELOTS network, to bring together researchers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, so that we can learn from each other how to refine the process of module creation. Through this participatory process, we aim to increase access to appropriate instructional material, to broaden international involvement of tropical researchers, and to engage participants in this new OCELOTS network early on, to allow for true co-construction of knowledge that moves us forward in creating, adapting and adopting these modules in tropical biology and conservation.


Turn your research in tropical biology into engaging online learning modules with OCELOTS

Monday July 11th-Lunchbreak

Ann Russell and Erin Kuprewicz




Maximum number of participants



Cartagena Convention Center, Room Arsenal

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