Students will be required to give in-class presentations every other week based on the assigned reading. They will also complete a term project.

Group Presentations

Each student will present several papers/topics of interest. Students form two presentation teams. Each team presents the two papers assigned for reading on an alternate week basis, sharing responsibilities equitably. Each paper presentation is 45 minutes long followed by a 15 minute discussion. Team membership changes mid semester.

When planning presentations, assume everyone has read the paper. Your goal is to highlight the main points, reviewing any critical data or important illustrations, and discussing what the major scientific contribution of the paper is, and what open questions remain. You may want to look up some of the prior work, or provide some additional background on methods, techniques, concepts or definitions. A faculty member (as listed in the calendar) is available each week to consult with on presentation content. Assemble your main points and illustrations in a Powerpoint .ppt presentation prior to class, and submit for site upload.

Term Project

Each student will prepare a 15 to 20-page term project on a topic of interest. It can be on any subject related to the course for which there is an interesting set of scientific questions and a sufficient literature to write a thoughtful review. Paper could include results of your own experiments, but this is not mandatory, and if you do so should constitute less than a third of the paper. The primary emphasis should be on evidence available from literature review. The paper should be original — not an adaptation of a previously written report, paper or thesis chapter. (However it could be edited subsequently to become the background chapter of your thesis.)

Grading will be based on:

  • Solid proposal and bibliography in on time
  • Term project presentation quality
  • Final paper quality