22 June 2020

Writing about wildlife diseases

Posted by Shane Hanlon

Shane with a catfish caught in a turtle trap. Credit: Shane M Hanlon

By Shane M Hanlon

It’s that time of year again when I head to rural Pennsylvania to teach a field course in disease ecology for undergraduates at my alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. 


No it’s not. But it should be. Usually I’d be writing this from a cabin on a lake getting ready to teach my first class. Every year I take a few weeks off from AGU and head to PA to get back in the field and put my degree in ecology of good use. But for obvious reasons, that’s not happening this year. At least the field part. Like many courses around the world, the class is now virtual. Can’t really do a field course online but we’re making do. Lectures are recorded, tests are automated, and we have a couple hours each day of synchronized time where I’ll actually see the class. One thing that hasn’t changed are the blogs posts. As part of the class, students are required to write blog posts about wildlife diseases in an effort to learn more about diseases and also introduce students to a longer form (vs something like Twitter or TikTok) of social media. 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reposting posts from our classroom blog. If you’re interested in reading more, check it out!

Shane M Hanlon is Program Manager of AGU’s Sharing Science program. He is also an instructor for the University of Pittsburgh Disease Ecology class. Find him on Twitter and TikTok