Curriculum content and module development shall, whenever possible, adhere to the following philosophy of teaching/learning. While it is understood that not every module can or should follow every criterion, the following statements provide a general framework within which we hope module production will take place.


  • Create a global community of learners* emphasizing collaboration, openness, and interdependence.
  • Foster camaraderie, inclusiveness, and diversity within and beyond our network.
  • Foster positive communication skills (listening, speaking, writing) that will benefit the wider community.

(*Learners include any stakeholders in the educational process; the traditional categories of student/instructor, researcher/subject, expert/neophyte become less meaningful in this context as we recognize the interchangeable nature of roles)

  • Respect of intellectual property in accordance to the regulations and copyright laws applicable to the source of the information (i.e. no protected material).
  • Post documents on the site detailing the Policies and Liabilities of this site.
  • Policies and Liabilities should address digital preservation, institutional restrictions on intellectual property, and applicable protective laws.
  • Implement open-access, open-source resources, methods and solutions in accordance with the Policies and Liabilities document.
  • Foster open communication and sharing of original idea, methods, and curricula.
  • Encourage experimentation and implementation of a spectrum of solutions, particularly when developed through networking.
  • Support open publication within the site or with a partner site.


  • Produce an official Ethical Standards in Ethnobiology using as a model/updating “Imperitives in Ethnobiology” (Salick et al. 2003)
  • Integrate evolving ethical considerations and discussions of ethical issues.
  • Foster respect for the perspectives of others.
  • Create a framework for accountability and the acknowledgement of individual and institutional contributions.

Scientific Method

  • Develop critical-thinking skills.
  • Encourage inquiry-based and hands-on learning.
  • Provide clear learning objectives, outcomes, and assessment measures.
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis.
  • Share methods and results with various audiences, via culturally appropriate forms.

Culture & Science

  • Encourage a holistic, trans-disciplinary and multicultural approach that bridges sciences and cultures (e.g., sacred meanings and practices).
  • Explicitly situate curriculum materials within cultural contexts.
  • Teach a spectrum of scientific and cultural methods for comprehending the world.
  • Encourage applied, community-based, and local research.
  • Inquire about, honor and follow culturally appropriate protocols.

This statement was initiated and drafted by Gail Wagner and subsequently enhanced by OSN workshop participants.