Virtual Field Projects

A curriculum that has historically relied heavily upon real-world experiential learning had to quickly revise lesion plans and practices to accommodate current COVID conditions.  I have personally been involved in putting together virtual field trips to accommodate learning objectives while adhering to safety protocol both as a TA and hosting as a graduate student as a part of a class I am attending.  During this process, I have learned that video editing is not an intuitively obvious art. Video file size and video editing apps create many challenges of their own and, in my case, required upgrading my computer capacity. Also, issues of sound quality and video quality often involve expensive equipment, practice, and training.  These barriers can be cost-prohibitive, time prohibitive in learning the necessary technology, and are genuinely an overall art form.  There are other access barriers in that many hosts may not allow access to allow for a virtual tour due to safety or privacy concerns.   These virtual tours ideally involve a host who is willing to participate in a virtual tour asynchronously with the students, which can be somewhat challenging to accommodate for the schedule class slot times.

As I spent hours putting together various field trip clips for students to attend asynchronously, my son would tease, “you just took everything fun from a field trip and turned it into WORK for everyone else.” However, I have to disagree with my son’s assessment and acknowledge that these virtual experiences provide a safe forum for students to experience environments that may not otherwise be accessible.  For this reason, I decided to focus on virtual field trips for this blog post.

Oregon State University’s ( article discusses the difficulty of creating a virtual learning environment for STEM learning.  Over the summer, 50 field stations in 6 different countries took on a “virtual field project.”


1. Create ecosystem exploration videos to teach students to find and observe evidence of key ecological concepts.

  1. Host live-streaming cross-site events with researchers to discuss the process of field research with students.


  1. Share existing virtual materials and events with faculty at universities across the U.S. produced by a variety of organizations. A virtual field portal will act as a signpost, catalog, and calendar for faculty, students and community.


  1. Evaluate the efficacy of virtual field materials to set the stage for further cross-site virtual field learning initiatives”



This article states that these virtual field projects will continue after the COVID pandemic. It is a way to increase the diversity of environments studied worldwide while concurrently providing broader access to students at large in a way that enhances collaborative learning and research.

On a personal level, I agree with this assessment. As a graduate student in a class that required all students to go out and film a virtual field trip to share with the course, I could view environments that I otherwise would not have traveled to visit.  It was interesting to see how various areas handled similar issues centered around class themes.  I would say that this provided all students an enhanced learning environment that allowed for exciting collaboration in idea-sharing after each virtual field trip.


Online article source:


For this assignment, I  reviewed the case summary of Wang, Zhiwei

Zhiwei Wang, MD, was investigated by Wayne State University for conduct committed. At the same time, he was working with the Karmanos Cancer Institute, in the Department of Pathology as a postdoctorate fellow.  The office of Research Integrity found that Dr. Wang was guilty of the research misconduct of knowingly and/or intentionally falsifying/fabricating information in relation to the following instances:

  • Data that was provided in grant applications, PhD dissertation and 14 publications
  • Images used in experiments designed to identify underlying cell processes associated with apoptosis cancer. In this, there are several pages of reused and relabeled instances of this misconduct.

Honestly, must of the specific information involved in Dr. Wang’s misconduct is beyond my competency to interpret.  However, he built an entire career from falsified information.  I wonder if it was initial laziness that led to future research being built on falsified information from prior work or if his work was consistently and continually falsified in all the investigated instances of misconduct.  The punitive action was taken to revoke Wang’s PhD and all “affected papers” except one. In addition, Dr. Wang agreed to a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement that excluded him for 10 years to contract or subcontract with and United States Agency, serving in an advisory capacity to “PHS” and to correct the before mentioned one paper that was not revoked in this ORI case.  It is curious to me that the penalties were not harsher.  This is medical research that has dire human consequences.  In addition, how many others attempted to build knowledge form his falsified work.  This effects not only his career but all work by others that was expanded from his findings.


Case Information:

Open Access

For this open-access blog assignment, I chose to use a journal that invited my advisor to write an article for a special edition journal.  I am familiar with this journal because I worked with my advisor on this project.  The organization “Frontiers” offers a wide array of journals geared toward specific and disciplines, along with multidisciplinary journals.  In the before-mentioned instance, my advisor and I worked with the “Frontiers in Built Environment” and “Frontiers in Environmental Psychology” journals.  I will discuss the “Frontiers in Built Environment” journal for this assignment.  The field chief editor for this journal is Izuru Takewaki. He is with Kyoto University, located in Kyoto, Japan.  This journal states that it is a multidisciplinary journal that allows open access with the goal of “disseminating” knowledge across disciplines and the public at large.  This journal publishes peer-reviewed research relating to building systems and sustainable communities.

Their Open Access Statement is as follows:

“Frontiers’ philosophy is that all research is for the benefit of humankind. Research is the product of an investment by society and therefore its fruits should be returned to all people without borders or discrimination, serving society universally and in a transparent fashion.”

This journal is indexed in:

  • Scopus
  • Google Scholar
  • DOAJ
  • ESCI
  • NSD
  • DOAJ
  • Cross Ref
  • Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory.


I feel that this journal does hold to their scope and mission statement because I am familiar with their special edition Environmental Psychology in Built Environments addition.  It appears that Frontiers does make an effort to bridge disciplines and provide resources not only to individuals interested in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work but also to those that seek to build a transdisciplinary orientation.  I am very heavily involved in interdisciplinary research.  I do not fit into any specific disciplinary box, not even a disciplinary box that is context-specific. So, I am grateful for the resources that Frontiers and other open access journals provide to individuals interested in bridging disciplines in the quest to find solutions to practical problems that so desperately need to be addressed in our society.


Frontiers in Built Environments: