This beginner online fungi course will explore the features of Macrofungi that aid in their identification and an introduction to the use of keys to genus.

This course will cover fungi classification, macro characters, spore printing, and how to use basic keys to genera. Through this course, you will begin building your fungi identification skills.

This course will cover:

  • Classification of Fungi
  • Macro characters for ID – with a focus on Agarics
  • Spore Printing
  • How to use basic keys to Gener

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This is the perfect course for beginners looking to further their fungi identification skills by looking more closely at the characteristics needed to start using keys. Using commonly encountered groups of fungi the course will focus on identifying features that distinguish groups and use techniques such as spore printing. The course will introduce you to different types of keys and how to use them to identify a species to genus. You will also gain an understanding of the importance of these species for ecology, conservation, and recording.

This is a 4-week online course covering 4 topics, for which you will complete a variety of self-led online study content, activities, assignments and live Zoom sessions. Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours a week and an E-certificate is provided upon completion. Understand how our online courses are delivered.

Who Should Attend? Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career ecologists.

Knowledge Level – Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge – No existing knowledge, or experience is needed for this course. Just a willingness to explore and learn.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand non-taxonomic and taxonomic classifications, why classification systems are important and subject to change.
  • Explain the key morphological features that distinguish agarics, boletes and tooth fungi, how to collect them for identification and explain how to use these features for ID to genus level in agarics.
  • Create spore prints from different fungi species and use them to aid ID.
  • Understand how to get started with a key, become familiar with different types of keys, and gain experience in using a basic key to genus.
  • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers

Example Timetable


Week 1: Classification of Fungi
Self-study material available at the start of the course
Week 1 live webinar:

Week 2: Macro characters for ID – with a focus on Agarics
Self-study material available
Week 2 live webinar

Week 3: Spore Printing
Self-study material available:
Week 1 live webinar

Week 4: How to use basic keys to Genera
Self-study material available
Week 2 live webinar

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 09/11/2022

Time commitment: This course will require approximately 2-3 hours of your time each week. This includes covering course materials on our Moodle learning platform and the Zoom session.

Bursaries and Subsidies

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Opportunities to attend this course

This course is not currently available to book. Dates will follow soon.

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Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions
Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.