Friday, September 3, 2010

Ffff! Ffff! Dusting off my blogs maybe? Junior Lab for the 4th time!

I am a lousy blogger, but I am considering dusting them off this fall.  The main reason is because the research in our lab is heating up, and some students (Larry and Andy) are getting close to finishing their PhDs.  For the most part, I have found that short comments and conversations on FriendFeed are a better way for me to communicate with people, compared with blogs.  But I think blogging will be useful for describing our research results, as it will allow use of figures and better formatting.  And maybe it will help the students a bit in terms of publicity.  Soooooo, as a way of dusting off my blogs, I'm going to make a short little blog here on my teaching blog, just to get warmed up.

Junior Lab just finished it's second week.  (You can read about our Open Notebook Science Junior Lab course in prior blog.)  I'm excited that I get to teach it a 4th time, despite being told that this would not be possible last year.  This year, we have 19 students -- 3 more than the "maximum."  Since I interact with each student one-on-one, It's going to be a lot of work, but a lot of fun too.  I have an excellent TA, Katie Richardson, who already has provided good ideas for the course.  She suggested promoting interaction early on, so that lectures will be more likely to involve student questions.  So, the first "real" lecture was earlier this week, and we did a fun exercise, brainstorming on what is needed to carry out "good" science.  You can see our exercise on the OpenWetWare page.  I also posted this to the Science 2.0 room on friendfeed, and I'll embed the thread below if I can figure out how.  It was not a "good" scientific exercise, but I was still very happy that "reproducibility" (loosely-defined) emerged as the ingredient with the most votes.  This led naturally to discussion of how to keep a good primary lab notebook.  OK, hopefully more to come on my other blogs!
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