Images: Howler monkey (Alouatta pigra); Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus mexicanus); Helmeted basilisk (Corytophanes cristatus). All photos © 2017 S Heard, CC BY 4.0
In March, I’ll be heading to Belize to teach an undergraduate tropical ecology field course (not alone; I have an excellent batch of co-instructors). I mentioned this to someone last week, and their reaction was to chuckle and say “wow, must be nice!”. And maybe it seems petty, but I’m getting really tired of that reaction.
The thing is, it’s near-universal. Continue reading
This semester, I’m coteaching a graduate/advanced-undergraduate level course in biostatistics and experimental design. This is my lecture on how to present statistical results, when writing up a study. It’s a topic I’ve written about before, and what I presented in class draws on several older blog posts here at Scientist Sees Squirrel. However, I thought it would be useful to pull this together into a single (longish) post, with my slides to illustrate it. If you’d like to use any of these slides, here’s the Powerpoint – licensed CC BY-NC 4.0.
(Portuguese translation here, for those who prefer.)
How should you present statistical results, in a scientific paper?
Image: Writing, CC0 by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels.com
This semester, for the first time, I taught a course in scientific writing. I was very scared going into it, but now that the course is over I’m quite pleased with how it worked out. Several people who have taught similar courses were kind enough to share their syllabi with me, and that helped – so I’m going to pay it forward here. If you might teach a writing course, or if you have colleagues who might, or if you’re just interested in how one might do such a thing, read on. I’ll tell you a bit about the course, and down at the bottom I’ll post the syllabus and other course materials, which you are welcome to download and adapt for your own use. Continue reading
This year, for the first time, I’m teaching a course in scientific writing (with both graduate and undergraduate versions). There were lots of decisions to be made in designing the course: what topics to cover; the blend of lecture, workshop, and assignment; how to accommodate graduate and undergraduate students in the same classroom; and more. But one decision was easy: which book to use as a text. There are quite a few books on the topic, but I assigned my own, The Scientist’s Guide to Writing, without any hesitation*.
Well, not really without any hesitation. Actually, I can’t help feeling mildly embarrassed by joining That Bunch Of Profs Who Assign Their Own Books. How arrogant! How closed-minded! How ridden with conflict of interest! Continue reading
I start teaching a new course in just a few weeks. For the first time, I’m teaching a whole course in scientific writing. I’m supposed to know something about that – after all, I wrote The Scientist’s Guide to Writing – but nevertheless, I’m scared.
I’ve resisted teaching scientific writing for many years, despite agreeing with my colleagues who argue that it’s one of the most valuable courses a student (undergraduate or graduate) can take. I’ve resisted in part because teaching a good scientific writing course is a lot of work; but mostly I’ve resisted because I’m not sure that I know how to teach a good scientific writing course. I’ve never taken one, and so have no model to emulate or to avoid. On top of that, I don’t actually think of myself as a very good writer. I’m slow, and although I’ve worked hard to become an adequate writer, my papers are never going to be celebrated as outstanding in our literature. So how can I teach writing? Continue reading
Image: Tribolium castaneum (red flour beetle), Peggy Greb USDA-ARS, released to public domain.
Teaching undergraduates is an enormous pleasure (most of the time), and getting paid to do it is a privilege. Along with that privilege, of course, comes responsibility: I should work to teach my students things that are relevant; things that are important; and of course, things that are true.
Except that sometimes I teach my students things that are not true. Continue reading
Last month I offered some advice about how to write a terrible teaching statement – or, more usefully, how not to. The post was inspired by many years of serving on search committees (not, I will point out again, by any particular applicant’s example). But in researching an upcoming blog post, I stumbled across a copy of my own teaching statement, from the last time I was on the job market. And guess what? It was terrible in many of the very ways I mentioned. Continue reading