You can never know too much about bugs. That’s why I signed up for Bugs 101, offered by a rival school, the University of Alberta. (That’s up in Edmonton – I’m in Calgary, at a different, and arguably warmer, closer, maybe better, university.) If you are curious about bees and other insects, you will like this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). It’s free (or you can pay a little and earn a certificate). You learn at your own pace (though there are flexible deadlines meant to encourage you to keep moving ahead. You’ll need two or three hours a week to cover the material. Here’s where you can enrol in the course.
The folks at the University of Alberta put a lot of effort into creating this MOOC. Lots of videos, interactive practice, discussion forums, well-selected readings. Here’s Bugs 101 own description:
Of all the animals on earth, which are the strongest for their size? What about the fastest? Who were the first animals to evolve flight? Insects take all of these titles and more! As the most abundant animals on the planet, insects and other arthropods affect our lives in so many ways. From beneficial interactions like pollination and biological pest control, to the transmission of life threatening diseases; this course will teach you about the big ways that these little arthropods impact our lives.
In Bugs 101: Insect-Human Interactions, you will be plunged into the diverse (and sometimes alien) world of arthropods to learn how they work, what they do, and how insects and humans interact every day.
After completing this course, you will be able to:
Describe the evolutionary relationships between insects and their arthropod relatives
Inventory major groups of insects and their diversity
Demonstrate evolutionary adaptations that make insects successful
Discuss insect biology and human-insect interactions
Evaluate positive and negative interactions between insects and humans
Propose practical and symbolic roles insects play in human societies
If you are like most bee enthusiasts, you’ve never really studied the biology of bees. As this MOOC is about insect-human interactions, there is even a week focused on honey bees, too. Sign up and we’ll be classmates. Course ends December 1, 2019.