Natterjacktoad's picture

Student observations

Forgive me if I am going over old ground, but there has been a sudden rash of observations from college students (presumably) who persist in posting a whole range of (usually very poor) photos (of different organisms) under one observation. They make no attempt at identification, usually don't even add a site and seem to expect others to do their work for them!
I feel this is rather an abuse of iSpot. I assume that they have been directed towards the website - maybe their tutor would like to explain how it SHOULD be used!

Sarah

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Thistle's picture

One College?

One college and, perhaps, just one tutor with several groups per year - it seems to crop up quite regularly.

I don't think of it as abuse as I don't believe the students (or tutor?) know what's is expected on here. Perhaps we should be referring them to http://www.ispot.org.uk/whats_it_all_about.

Ian

Natterjacktoad's picture

Well, if the tutor is sending

Well, if the tutor is sending them here it is lazy of them NOT to know what is expected!

Sarah Patton

Ray Turner's picture

The penny...

... does seem to be dropping, one of the students (I assume) explained to another they should split their species into separate observations recently.
Perhaps an iSpot mentor could contact the college with a view to explaining what iSpot is about.

Ray

Ray

dejayM's picture

getting worse

This is going to get worse - is already getting worse. But it is NOT restricted to youngsters under training. It seems to be fair game to simply post up a picture - not much else, and go away. Oh and post another two weeks later and so on.
Apart from this 'Blind posting', poor photos, and multiple subjects, there is no follow up to others' comments nor, seemingly, much interest beyond the task (of posting).

So - I believe that Admin should make contact with every First Poster to suggest some protocol - whether or not the post is excellent, full and worthy. Suggestions like -
*Research first
*Check iSpot for similar posts
*Write Description Notes
*Add ID Notes
*Place a tick in My Spot/Filter/'Observations authored by you:'
*Respond to IDs and comments made by others
This protocol-list should not be too lengthy nor onerous (I quickly add).

I also think Admin might consider appointing a few Protocol Advisers. Ones who can (and have the energy to) respond to a post with constructive suggestions - "place this in Invertebrates" or "please add a few notes about size or circumstances".
Some 'senior' members are already doing this.

There, I've said it!
I'm certain that some will read the forgoing with horror and wish to (will) remind me that making allowances for the young and being very encouraging to beginners is far more important - I will agree of course.
ðj

John Bratton's picture

One solution is to stop

One solution is to stop identifying things for people who don't bother to give proper information in the first place or don't respond to questions, or mess up the system in other ways. After all, if they don't bother replying to questions, they obviously aren't interested in what their photo shows.

dejayM's picture

pleading

Yes John, I entirely agree and have been on a personal crusade for some time (I wonder if I am becoming a nuisance?).
It is often to no avail because these people often have no ticks in their My Spot filters, so never get to see my cheery, pleading comment.
But, you know, there are quite a few very experienced people blind posting too.
If you have been watching closely, I'm sure you have, you will see that many posters are ONLY interested in that one thing - posting!
No, I think this is down to Admin kindly suggesting some easy-going protocol, as mentioned before. This HAS to be done directly to those 'culprits' (and first-time posters) so NOT a forum topic, nor a 'rule' hidden in T&Cs.
ðerek

ophrys's picture

Relax

Does all this really matter? Isn't it a good thing that students are posting pictures on iSpot? Isn't that what it is all about? I am a teacher, and I have encouraged schoolkids to post stuff on here, in the past. So what if their postings don't meet some people's exacting standards for what makes an ideal posting? Are they seriously going to get contact from admin telling them how to operate on iSpot!! Just relax and let everyone get on enjoying the site in their own way.

As for blind posting, it's interesting when someone gives context to a sighting, but it can still be interesting if they don't...it shows what is about and what is worth looking out for.

If a picture with no detail doesn't interest you, just move on to the next one...

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

dejayM's picture

itchy

Yes and No Ian. It does matter in the long run because it will affect the whole philosophy; the site might clog up and degrade then lose its supporting structure of underpinning Experts (I can already feel that happening).
But it matters to me (as if THAT matters); what keeps me here is the learning curve, the interaction, the commenting, the ID notes, the expertise and the unusual.
You have a point of course, several really, and you are far more qualified to make them than me - I respect that.
But I'd like to stay and contribute, honest.
ðerek
This?
http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/330226

Natterjacktoad's picture

I think it does matter. In

I think it does matter. In some circumstances. The odd(?) person posting a sighting and never following it up? Of course not. But regular cohorts of students being told to use the site with no guidance or advice and producing a stream of similar and, frankly, poor observations does matter. It is proof of bad teaching for a start! I like to try and help with identifications but when that bottom line of pictures contains a series of multiple posts showing the same carpet tiles (or whatever they are) I lose interest. Those students aren't learning anything from that exercise!

Sarah Patton

Amadan's picture

I wouldn't support that approach -

I think we need to recognise that people have very different levels of ability and confidence - not only in identifying, but in interacting with "experts".
If we don't give at least a little encouragement to newbies, we'll never find out if they can develop into good naturalists.
Yes, it's frustrating if they don't respond, but anything we can do to boost interest and knowledge of wildlife is worth it in the long run.

ophrys's picture

Different levels

Precisely.

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

JoC's picture

I'd like to celebrate ...

that we are
1. Open to anyone who is interested enough to join.
2. A community of many people with expertise to share, and a willingness to do so.
3. Open to great opportunities to continue to learn in our own area of interest and to be amazed by what others know. And sometimes by what even they don't know.

With all this on offer there are bound to be some disappointments. I make a suggestion, and the poster ignores it; a personal rebuke? - or just that something else more interesting came up?

And another iSpot benefit. The chance to contribute to the Forum.
Jo

Jo

ophrys's picture

Celebrate

Well said, Jo.

'Open to anyone'...especially students, I would hope, as they could be the experts of the future.

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

Thistle's picture

Yes, but ..

... wouldn't it be so much better if they were given a better introduction to the site?

Ian

dejayM's picture

hear

I agree with all that and yes, well said JoC specially.
A better introduction IS required, not just a pointer to T&Cs but a welcome note to first posters, pointing out just a little protocol. It might make a huge difference to the quality of postings. Quality is not poor, I add, but I 'hear' the frustration in many of the comment sections and read it in the Forums.
ðerek

Natterjacktoad's picture

Quite a lot of the photos are

Quite a lot of the photos are fairly dire!!

Joking aside - wouldn't these students get far more benefit if their teachers TAUGHT them to use the site properly rather than just as a box-ticking exercise?

Sarah Patton

ophrys's picture

Dire photos

...because students these days all have DSLRs and top of the range macro lenses, of course?!

In view of the debt they will incur on their courses, and the pay in environmental jobs, I suspect they will never have such things! ;)

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

Natterjacktoad's picture

I shouldn't think they do.

I shouldn't think they do. Nor do I but I would like to think that I can take photos which are in focus! And I would imagine most have a mobile phone - which is how many of mine are taken. And maybe the college has a camera they can use.
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I feel that students should be capable of better standards. My 13 year old grand-daughter could do better!

Sarah Patton

Natterjacktoad's picture

Well said!

Well said!

Sarah Patton

Thistle's picture

Improvement?

Has anyone else noted the improvement in the latest batch of observations from this source? Single species and better, though not perfect, photos. I hope they have noticed that this has been greeted by a marked increase in the number of identifications being given.

As far as photos are concerned, I'd guess that they're using college-owned cameras which have limited capabilities and may be of some age. Having said that, I do think it would be better if they simply didn't post photos where the target is too blurred to be recognisable. It would also help if they could be encouraged to post some description of the subject to cover items that can't be seen from the photo.

Onwards and upwards!

Ian

Natterjacktoad's picture

Agree 100 :) Good to learn

Agree 100 :)

Good to learn early in life that making an effort gives results too!

Sarah Patton

Natterjacktoad's picture

That is dreadful. How totally

That is dreadful. How totally pointless. You don't learn from just ticking boxes.
Whoever designed the course should be ashamed of themselves but maybe that is the state of education these days :(

Sarah Patton

dejayM's picture

decent even?

I think Sarah this comment was meant as a follow-on from mine below.
Anyway, is it safe, or decent even, to mention Hadlow College from where lots of blind, if not inane, postings occur?
I have recently checked quite a lot that do not get any agreements or comment. It's as though the iSpot community is ignoring them!
So...?

Natterjacktoad's picture

Yes, it was! I didn't seem to

Yes, it was! I didn't seem to have that option at the time!

I still maintain that, albeit probably as part of a ridiculous 'education' box-ticking exercise, the teachers are wrong in getting their students to use iSpot in this way. The students are getting next to nothing from it - few get any feedback as they constantly fail to heed the instructions for uploading sightings.

Sarah Patton

dejayM's picture

move

Thanks Sarah.
I don't think there are enough readers of these forums, nor support generally for any sort of 'action', so maybe move on to the end of this thread and follow my last post (Arrived) (for now!)
ðj

dejayM's picture

one..

No improvement generally. In a recent batch, for some, I have gently asked for more information.
One person obviously has a tick in the right box and replied -
",,sorry, we were told to upload our photos to ispot for proof for our assignment. But not to write information as we were not studying them fully. So the only information I can give you are the photos.
Although I have uploaded these photos, I do however know what they are. But as I said before, they are only on here for proof of an assignment. Sorry for any misunderstanding."

This is obviously NOT a child but someone who would benefit greatly from closer observation and transcribing some notes. I dare say!

JoC's picture

Rejoice

I suspect that students are required to follow very proscribed guidelines for each and every assignment. So if it says ‘upload photos on iSpot’ that is what is required. Nothing more, nothing less. Making time to return to their post to them to see ‘what happened’ could detract their energies from their next assignment.
That a student did respond to your comments is cause for rejoicing – that person is already more interested than usual, and may already be captivated by the wider aims of iSpot including the concept of identification.

Jo

dejayM's picture

arrived?

"I feel this is rather an abuse of iSpot. I assume that they have been directed towards the website - maybe their tutor would like to explain how it SHOULD be used!"
Natterjacktoad.

Has the moment arrived for a Mentor or Admin to email the College? enquiries@hadlow.ac.uk
http://www.ispot.org.uk/search/node/college

Am I right?
http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/342691#comment-118675