The downside of in-class discussions of scientific papers is that the discussion can only last 50 minutes or less. What if we could start the discussion before class? What if we could run it past the end of class? We can do both if we conduct some of the discussion online. Here are some ideas about what might go into a pre/post-class online discussion:
- A shout-out to something noteworthy/cool in the paper
- A comment on some particularly helpful/worthless reference
- A request that we devote some time in-class to a particular topic
- A question about something
Let’s face it, in-class discussions don’t necessarily suit everyone’s taste. Some of us are great speakers, some of us are great writers, some of us are great thinkers, and some of us are all-of-the-above. An online discussion provides some additional venues for your ideas and participation to shine.
Here’s my idea: I will use this blog to post any online contributions you choose to make. Because our blog is currently viewable by the entire internet,* I will make contributions optional. I will also give you the choice between having your contributions attributed to you (only first names will appear online) or having it posted anonymously. And when the semester is over, I will delete the posts that contain the student contributions.
*My understanding of federal law is that your course work can’t be posted online without your permission unless the online site is password-protected and access is limited to our academic community. I’m working on getting our blog changed over, but in the meantime I’m making the online discussion and attachment of (first) names optional.
If you want to participate, here’s what you do:
- email your contributions to me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- I will post contributions as comments as they come in here on the blog along with your first name or no name at all (let me know your preference)
- I will not post anything received after 5 PM Sunday