NATURAL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS SEMINAR
- SPRING, 2000
SCI 493 - presentation
SCI 491,492 - attendance
Link to Schedule, Spring, 2000
Link to Evaluation form
D. Collins, Box 6017,
convener, (e-mail: email@example.com)
This seminar provides students and staff with opportunities to interact
professionally in a formal setting, exchange news, ideas and theories,
and explore the interrelationships among various disciplines. Students
are further given the opportunity and motivation to participate in scientific
research: choosing and delimiting a suitable topic, defining the problem
and forming a hypothesis where appropriate, discovering and evaluating
the work of others, conducting their own investigation, evaluating the
data and results, and organizing and communicating their results to others.
Discussion, questions and argument will sharpen communication and logic
skills, as well as increase understanding, both for those presenting seminars
as well as those attending.
Presentation of a seminar is a graduation requirement in the Division of
Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Each person presenting the seminar
for the graduation requirement must be registered for the course.
Each student must meet with their advisor to select a topic, preferably
during the Junior year. It is also required that all juniors enroll
in the parallel course - Research Design. Time slots
will be assigned during the junior year. On October 28, 1999 a drawing
will be made from those with junior status (at least 60 hours completed)
for the seminar presentations in the 2000-2001 academic year. In
order to register for the presentation (493), you must present a signed
note from your sponsor indicating willingness to sponsor and cosponsor
(if applicable) your talk along with your title. The advisor
will usually be a member of the WWC science faculty (Biology, Chemistry,
Environmental Studies, Mathematics/Computer Science, or Physics).
If a student wishes to work with a faculty outside a department listed
above, a science faculty must be obtained to be a co-sponsor and must co-sign
the student's title at registration time. The sponsors have the responsibility
of helping the student choose an appropriate topic, guiding the student's
research and suggesting questions and interpretations about the results,
and listening to the practice sessions of the presentation. It is
nearly impossible to make a good presentation without at least a week of
practice presentations before the advisor.
Suitable topics should be sufficiently specific to allow in-depth study,
but general enough to avoid becoming so technical that the audience cannot
appreciate the study. The topic should involve original work,
field study, interpretation of archival data banks, or laboratory study
by the student, in addition to the necessary literature study.
In the seminar, the student will need to develop the necessary background
and context of his or her study to relate the material to concepts presented
in introductory courses. The problem to be investigated or the hypothesis
to be tested must be clearly stated. The seminar should then present
the original data in clear form, and finally summarize and highlight significance
of the study relative to the pertinent literature.
Each seminar will need a printed abstract. The abstract
should contain the title of the presentation, the studentís name, the sponsorís
name, and a concise paragraph describing the experiment and the results
of the work. An alphabetized bibliography should be
attached to the abstract, and they should be replicated, collated and distributed
at the beginning of the scheduled seminar (40 copies).
Both sides of a single page should be used for the abstract and bibliography.
presenter must submit the abstract via e-mail (or diskette file in Microsoft
Word for Windows) to the coordinator within one week after presenting the
seminar. The abstracts will be published on the World Wide
Web along with the schedule. Faculty will often suggest improvements
to the abstract, hence the one week "grace" period.
The advisor will introduce the seminar speaker and provide appropriate
background. Seminar presentations should be no longer than 40 minutes
with appropriate use of slides, charts, and visuals.
The presenter should include an outline as one of the visuals. A
question and answer period will follow. In the academic year 2000-2001,
all presentations will be limited to 20 minutes with about 10 minutes for
questions in order to hold 2 presentations a day. Presenters are
encouraged to design their presentation for 20 minutes in the current academic
For grading purposes, presenters (493) will be assigned a letter grade,
while those registered for 491 or 492 (no presentation) will
be assigned pass/fail. The pass/fail will be based on attendance.
The attendance will be recorded by means of each student filling-out a
peer-support evaluation of the seminar which will be collected and returned
to the presenter. All students, including those students who are
presenting seminars, are expected to attend all seminars (this means
no more than 2 absences). A student may make up absences
by attending and reporting on a live off-campus presentation (ACS, Sigma
Xi, Workshops, etc.). More than 2 absences will result in failure,
even for those students who presented regardless of the quality of the
presentation. All faculty attending the talk will fill out
evaluation forms, and the convener will collect these and keep them
for examination by the student in private. Extended illness may require
a repeat semester to make-up.
The student's research advisor's grade, averaged with the median grade
of the remaining faculty evaluations, will be recorded. There often
is considerable variation among the faculty on the evaluation results.
The median is much less sensitive to the extremes, yet the student's advisor
is often much more aware of the student's overall understanding.
Expectations for attendees:
In order to obtain a grade of Pass, students are expected to arrive promptly,
fill-out a student evaluation form, fill the seats nearest the front first,
be respectfully attentive, remain until the seminar is completed, and participate
in the question and answer period. Leaving the seminar early (before
5:00) will result in an absence recorded Missing more than two seminars
will result in a failing grade, even for those who give seminars (see above).
More than one absence at mid-semester will receive a failing grade at mid-semester.
Failing at mid-semester may be made up by satisfactorily completing all
the requirements before the end of the semester. Students are expected
to keep track of their own absences. The convenor will not send
reminders if students have accumulated absences. The convenor
will let students see their record of attendance at any time, however.
Expectations for presenters:
Essentially, we are looking for a scholarly talk. Both content and
presentation style are important. Without content of appropriate
depth and substance, even the best speaking style and finest visuals will
not be enough to earn a good grade. Please see the attached evaluation
It is expected that the presenter practice the presentation with the
sponsor(s). The main reason for this is to instill confidence, be
able to anticipate questions from the audience, and to insure a scientific
Changing presentation date: NO!
On account of excessive date changing in previous years, the scheduled
dates are now "cast in stone". Any rescheduling requests must be
made in writing to the division at least two weeks prior to the scheduled
time, and the division faculty will consider the extenuating circumstances
and decide among three possibilities: 1) the extenuating circumstances
justify rescheduling without penalty; 2) the rescheduling will be permitted
with a letter-grade penalty; 3) the rescheduling will be denied.
Experimental problems, generally, should not warrant a new date.
There should still be enough background for the experiments to present
a viable seminar plus explaining problems encountered.
Changing title: NO!
The seminar schedule and titles are published and distributed to a number
of places at the beginning of the semester. It therefore becomes
impossible to re-publish the titles to the distribution list. Titles
should be finalized by Monday, Aug. 30, 1999.
Link to Schedule, Spring, 2000
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