Survey results

Here’s a summary of the 8 responses so far to the survey/request for feedback – with some additional information at the end. The survey is still open – feel free to complete it, if you haven’t already. We’ll have some time to discuss in class, as well.

1. What do you like about this course?

 • guest speakers

• readings

• in-class conversations/discussion/interactions

• blog format

• skills and content

• combination of in-person and online

• forward-thinking

• expertise in the room

2. What do you DISlike?

• overemphasis on blog (3 people)

• assignments too vague (3 people)

• not enough lead time for assignments or responding to blog posts (2 people)

• blog used for assignments rather than communicating about research

3. What should we continue/do more of?

• guest speakers with diverse expertise (3 people)

• in-person discussions in class (3 people)

• writing for general public, summing up research

4. What should we stop/do less of?

• fewer blog assignments, especially “meta-assignments”

• replace blog with twitter or facebook

• too much time in small group discussions

• workload seems right for 2 credits; can’t think of anything I dislike

5. What might help people participate more? 

• post topics earlier so people can fit work into their busy schedules/think more about topics/read other people’s posts (2 people)

• more group discussion where everyone shares a perspective

• have a facebook group

• I would blog more if I received more comments

• having different types of assignments is helpful

• ask people to blog more about their research

6. What is not (yet) on the posted agenda that you’d like to do?

• writing/editing/critiquing exercises (3 people)

• writing grant proposals (2 people)

• oral presentations

• discuss twitter (useful, or not?)

We (VSC and JAB) are working out how to fit in some of these before the end of the semester – knowing that we can’t do everything you, or we, would like, as a matter of both time and emphasis.

For example, this class wasn’t designed to emphasize writing skills or grant proposal preparation…but there are other classes out there that do focus on those critical communication topics. (In fact, we deliberately designed this course to avoid too much overlap with the existing courses.)  Check out:

NR grad courses:

NR 903, Approach to Research

NR 905, Grant Writing (wrong title is listed in catalog! The description is: “The ability to secure financial support for research and outreach activities is becoming increasingly important. This course is intended for graduate and post-graduate level students who need to write proposals for their graduate work or to gain external funding from government agencies. Students will gain in-depth understanding of the proposal writing process through class discussions, insights shared by UNH faculty, and by writing a research proposal following the entire process.”)

MCBS grad course

MCBS 901, Introduction to Research in the Life Sciences (includes oral presentation and grant-writing)

ZOOL grad course

ZOOL 902, Writing and Publishing Science (focus on scientific writing; ongoing peer reviews and feedback)

If you have already taken one (or more) of these classes and would recommend them to your colleagues, please comment below.


7 thoughts on “Survey results

  1. ZOOL 902 was a great writing course. While grant writing is still a bit elusive for me (I think that is more something that will come with time and practice than anything else), I definitely gained skills in critically reading and editing my own (and others’) writing.

    And I’ve passed Gopen and Swan along to all of my students/undergrads.


    1. I second that ZOOL 902 (Scientific Writing) was a great class. I would have taken that class this semester if it was offered again as each year it’s a little different and always helpful. Gopen is a MUST READ for science writers and I’ve shared it with grad students, undergrads, and some grads in the English department who teach ENGL 401 (First-Year Writing).

      MCBS 901 and NR 903 sounds a lot like BIOL 901 (Graduate Research Methods). A lot to do with how to be a grad student, but not much on grant writing (if any). Would NR 905 (“Grant Writing”) be open for ZOOL and MCBS students? Somewhere I thought that this class was sold to me having a grant writing component to it, which I thought was very attractive.


      1. Chris and Sara: Your words re: Zool 902 are most kind. (I really wasn’t fishing for compliments – but then I can’t take them too personally, since so much of what’s useful about that class arises from the interactions among the students.) You’ll be happy to hear we’re assigning Gopen and Swan in THIS class, for 4/17 (guess what, you already did part of the next homework assignment).


      2. I was about to ask when Gopen and Swan were going to be inserted into this class! Excited to hear I get another reason to read it again. Started to browse it again and was impressed all over.


  2. NR 903 was great as an intro to “how to be a grad student” and learn about the research going on in the NR department, but I didn’t get much else out of it. It covered ethics, collaborating, working with your advisor/committee, crafting an “elevator speech,” and a few other things. Minimal writing assignments with no useful feedback. It was a good class, but I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone other than a first year master’s student in NR, in which case it is required anyway. ZOOL 902 sounds cool, I would really like to take a writing course while I’m here!


    1. Happy to see you in Zool 902 next fall: it’s open to grad students in all programs, and there are usually some NRESS folks in the mix. The more diverse the research projects, the better it works.


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