Regarding revision and individual writing assessment for groups, I have one major writing assignment that goes through the revision process, a group term paper 3-6 pages, but it goes through the peer review process as well as through a review from me followed by a meeting with the students to discuss the content of the work for revision. NOTE: For this group paper, which is part of the normal 2484 curriculum, the paper is peer reviewed in a group, and then I spend about 20 minutes with each group going over what needs to be improved, and what was done well. The students have to revise and edit their papers as a group. For the grading, I get as close to individual grading as realistically possible, since this is also an assignment that allows for students to learn "real world" group work. The final report is out of 100 points. I assign 80 of those points, and the students give each other the remaining 20 points so there is a mechanism to give full credit to those who participate in the group and to allow for a lesser grade for those that decided that the group work is not important. Also, and specifically for this 2484 Honors section of my course, I require all students to give a full 50-minute presentation on one of the primary literature papers covered in the class. This generally involves between 30 and 40 slides in Powerpoint. I assign students to prepare and give their presentation to me individually one week before presenting to the class, and then I spend about an hour going over what they presented well, what they need to work on, and specifically what they need to change in their slides for a better and more effective presentation. I also give tips to the students on how to bring their classmates into a discussion on the literature they are reading. My time spent with the students individually is about 2 hours for each student in the honors section, with about 12 slides of the presentation needing some form of revision. Out of 40 slides, students revise what can (conservatively) amount to 14-15 pages of writing. They reflect, rethink, and rewrite according to the principles of productive revising. To reiterate and clarify further: For this 50 minute presentation, the students have to revise and edit their presentation with peers as well as sit down with me to talk about their presentation prior to giving it to the class. I was not sure where to put this into the application or if it was relevant, but I think that this type of discussion between me and the group presenters is in the spirit of what constitutes writing intensive revision, as it is significant. The students will usually spend more than four hours making revisions to their presentation prior to giving them to the class. Spending that amount of time discussing and incorporating revision in a presentation relates closely to the "re-thinking" of a message related to audience and purpose in writing. DESCRIPTION OF ASSIGNMENTS In this WI class, the main focus is on four types of writing assignments, namely experimental laboratory reports, the formal group term paper, primary literature reviews, and Power Point slides. Writing assignments are word-processed documents that are written in third-person narrative using complete sentences, proper English spelling and grammar, and correct use of scientific terminology. The use of scientific graphing programs for computer-generated graphs is encouraged. Hand-written calculations or graphs that are neatly written in ink, however, are also acceptable. For each assignment, students will be provided with specific rubrics outlining the specific exercise format and grading expectations for each report or paper. Students will be graded based on clarity and quality of writing, scientific content, data presentation and organization, and interpretation of results. Students will also be graded on whether answers to additional questions are coherent and argued in a logical manner. For Power Point slides, they are consulted with one on one for rethinking and revising that type of writing to reach audiences and fulfill the purpose of the presentation. 1. Experimental laboratory reports (total of 4 individual assignments, due two weeks after the completion of each lab module). The length of each assignment is 4 pages (4x4 =16). The objectives of the experimental laboratory reports are to introduce students to all of the major sections of a scientific paper, b) comprehend the experiments and background information on biochemical topics covered that week(s) in the experimental laboratory section of the class, c) understand how to present and analyze data from different types of experiments and subsequently interpret results using critical thinking and reasoning, and d) effectively express concepts and results clearly and concisely. Importantly, the general format of the experimental laboratory reports serve as model for scientific journal articles, thus preparing students for reading and understanding the components of the primary literature assigned in the course. All experimental laboratory reports will be graded by the instructor. All experimental laboratory reports will contain the following sections of a scientific article; a title, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussions, and references. All sections are written in scientific writing style and format. Each section of the reports will be relevant to the laboratory work performed that week, and will include answers to additional questions raised in the laboratory manual that are relevant to experiments meant to deepen the students understanding of the topic covered in that lab module, as well as the following information listed below: 1) The introduction to each report will contain a literature review performed by the students to discuss the history and relevance of each laboratory experiment, relevant background information as well as a clearly written objective for that lab module's topic. The introduction will also include a reference list in a format utilized by many scientific journals. 2) The materials and methods section includes the proper format utilized in scientific literature including the materials, potential sources of the materials including company catalog numbers, and a detailed protocol of the experimental procedure that was utilized in the lab module. 3) The results section includes experimental raw data collected throughout the lab period, graphs (reduced from raw data) and relevant calculations important to interpret results. Data and graphs will be presented in the appropriate tabular or graphical manner as requested in the lab modules. In addition, students describe their findings in written statements in one or two paragraphs. 4) The discussion (one each semester) includes interpretations and discussions of obtained results. If results diverge from expectation, students should include alternative explanations or hypotheses here. 5) The figures (one each semester) includes presentation of multiple forms of data in a visual representation often used in scientific literature. Students are expected to create professional quality images generated from data obtained during the experimental portion of the course. Assignment 2. Formal group term paper 3-6 pgs. (one draft term paper and one revised final term paper on selected research topic from a University of Missouri Columbia researcher). The main objective for the formal group term paper is to get students acquainted with finding information from primary scientific literature articles as a source of relevant information. Furthermore, students will learn how to write concisely and clearly, so that peers can understand their reasoning and can gain information presented on complex biochemical research that is being reported on. Students will be required to function in a group environment and learn how to coordinate, work, and write with others. They will be encouraged to use new software such as Google Docs, or the track changes features in Microsoft Word that allow for the online collaboration and composition of documents. For the formal group term paper, students will compose a draft version that is reviewed by the instructor and one of the other groups in the class (peer-review) to provide constructive criticism. Students will incorporate suggestions and corrections provided by instructor (and if applicable, by the peer group), thus improving the quality of the report. Students will then return the revised draft version as the final formal report that will be graded by the instructor. The formal group term paper will be composed in an essay consisting of the following sections: title, body of the paper, and a references section. More specifically: a) The title is a brief heading describing the weekly experimental topic. b) The body of the paper needs to address three major questions about the primary literature that is covered in the report. Students need to address the big picture problem that the research is trying to address (in essence, why is the research being funded by a federal funding source), they need to summarize the current state of the research field, and address the major professors, or their lab's contribution to the state of the research field. c) References are listed using standard methods for referencing (author, year, title, journal, volume, page number) in a consistent manner. References should be cited throughout the text. Assignment 3. Primary literature reviews (twelve summaries covering primary literature assigned relevant to the topics covered in the course) Length of the reviews: 2 pages (x12=24) The objectives of the primary literature reviews are to get students acquainted with reading and comprehending scientific primary literature. Furthermore, students are required to extract specific protocol information out of the literature to learn new ways to perform and utilize the techniques presented in the laboratory portion of the course. Students will be required to think about how the techniques we used in the lab relate to how the technique is used in current primary literature to demonstrate understanding of the potential applications of the techniques. The primary literature reviews will be composed in an essay format in which the first half of the paper is dedicated to summarizing the work presented in the article chosen to review. The second part of these reviews will outline and highlight the technique that corresponds to the laboratory skills presented that week.
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