Now in our third year of giving in to, and encouraging, availability bias. 🙂
This week Meg and I did this:
(image from here).
Besides the stuff in the post title, check out teaching evaluations even worse than yours, good teachers > good teaching methods, Alex Bond calls in the wolf, WW II vs. statisticians, toddlers vs. their moms, the Pope vs. climate change, original data on unoriginal preprints, and more. Oh, and someone whom I hope is joking says scientific jokes are unethical (!)
The New York Times recently had an article on introducing active learning to introductory college classrooms. One quote from it: “It’s more work, and you’re not as in control.” Yep. The NYTimes post relates to this post of mine where I talked about what it was like to flip the Intro Bio classroom this fall. (tl;dr: it was good for the students, but it was a huge – perhaps unreasonable – amount of work) Then again, there’s this article, too, on how some or all of the value found in studies on active classrooms may be because the people who first adopted these approaches are especially gifted teachers (ht for this last one to Clay Cressler).
And, in a related vein, a new study showed that values affirmations helped reduce the performance gap in an Intro Bio course between first generation college students and second+ generation college students. (One of the study authors, Cindee Giffen, is a colleague of mine here at Michigan and has been heavily involved in our efforts to flip Intro Bio.) Values affirmations were covered in my post on ways to counter stereotype threat. In this new study, they found that values affirmation improved course grades, overall GPA for the semester, and retention in biology. Impressive!
And another one in a similar vein: a new study found that writing about test anxiety can reduce that anxiety and improve performance.
Are you feeling bad about your teaching evaluations? Well, at least you (probably) weren’t referred to as “coarse, stupid, easily enraged, dogmatic and opinionated”:
And then there’s this great cartoon, which is a good reminder that we tend to focus in on the negative:
This is an interesting idea from Alex Bond – he’s posted a list of languishing projects that he’d be happy to collaborate with others on. I will be really interested to see how this works – it could be a great opportunity!
NASA’s top images of Earth from space from 2014. They are stunning! (ht: @tideliar)
Here’s a post containing 10 tips to better manage your time in academia, by Charles Ofria of Michigan State. I found tip 6 related to email particularly interesting – he forces himself to deal with one waiting email each time he checks, as a way to try to avoid viewing email as a quick diversion. I’ve been trying to avoid reflexively checking my email, so hearing how other people avoid doing that is interesting to me.
And, finally, here’s a post from
Terry Wheeler reflecting on things he did right and wrong in his first 20 years as a professor. It’s a great post. (UPDATE: attribution of this post fixed.)
A talk about the value and effective use of Twitter for academics–consisting entirely of tweets.
Welcome Stephen Heard to the list of blogging ecologists (don’t call it a blogosphere)! His fine first post, on the pluses and minuses of hopping among topics or study systems, reminds me a bit of my first post for Dynamic Ecology, and also this one in praise of side projects. It also makes for an interesting contrast with various posts in which Meg has emphasized the importance of sticking with one system so that you know it back-to-front, thereby avoiding making silly mistakes (e.g., this). And in his second post Stephen argues provocatively (but cogently) that there are some serious downsides to reading the previous literature before you embark on a new line of research! He has a point; a big reason I was able to write my posts and TREE paper critiquing the zombie IDH is that I don’t work on disturbance and am not over-familiar with the literature. And while it would be silly to argue you shouldn’t read the literature at all, I think Stephen’s post is a strong argument for reading broadly (even at the cost of depth), and reading critically. (ht @smvamosi)
My Calgary colleague Steve Vamosi with some advice for applying and interviewing for faculty positions at research universities. Here’s my own excruciatingly detailed “behind the scenes” description of the search process, with a bit of advice thrown in.
Terry McGlynn with an interesting post on how some ecological experiments don’t really teach you anything, but rather function to convince (and impress) others who don’t know your system as well as you. On the other hand, I bet lots of ecologists have had the experience of setting up an experiment that they were sure would come out a certain way, only to get surprised by a different outcome.
How statisticians shaped WW II, and vice-versa. (ht Simply Statistics)
The discoverers of a promising new class of antibiotic think that bacteria won’t be able to evolve resistance to it, at least not very soon. I hope that’s true, but color me skeptical. When was the last time someone bet against natural selection and won? More specifically, the rate at which resistance evolves depends on much more than just the rarity of resistance-conferring mutations and their fitness costs in an antibiotic-free environment.
Wait, the annual joke issue of the British Medical Journal is unethical because once in a while somebody mistakes one of the joke papers for a real one? All scientific satire needs to be labeled as such in case somebody doesn’t recognize it as satire? Or tagged in such a way that it won’t show up in searches on the topic of the satire? I’m going to assume that this is itself a satire, because otherwise come on. (ht Not Exactly Rocket Science)
New data on plagiarism in science (well, physics, computer science, and mathematics): only a small fraction of ArXiv preprints include lots of text copied from other ArXiv preprints. They mostly come from a relatively small number of prolific serial offenders, concentrated in certain developing countries (not China or India). The papers in question mostly aren’t much cited, and copy papers that themselves aren’t much cited. (ht John Mashey)
And finally, R is amazing and cutting edge! Let’s
call fax carrier pigeon smoke signal somehow contact the R Foundation to thank them! 🙂