Use of the internet for information organization, distance learning, and specimen presentation
The advent of the internet has had an effect on the discipline of entomology. The history of the relationship between entomology and the internet is summarized, and several effects are examined in detail. One effect is to create an explosion of available information about insects and pest management, largely available on the world-wide web (WWW). A metadata-based solution to categorizing, searching and filtering this information is presented, along with a case study that used this solution to examine the value added by the use of metadata. In the case study website, one third of the users arrived at web pages containing entomological information by following links that were autogenerated based on metadata. Original software for extracting, assigning and managing metadata across sites is presented. A second effect is the enabling of new teaching methods, including the use of three-dimensional (3D) virtual reality insect models. Photographic 3D models were created using QuickTime VR and compared to standard teaching methodology. The QTVR models were significantly more effective. Lastly, the internet enables distance education. A web-based online introductory distance education course in entomology was constructed and offered for several years. Enrollment increased markedly over the time course was offered. Retention averaged 79% +/- 7.9% in the online section compared to 93% +/- 4.0% in the traditional section. Analysis of log files showed that problems with cheating during online evaluations was rampant, with 15 of 22 students cheating on one or both of the exams analyzed. Potentional solutions to this problem are presented.*;*This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation).