an old school wooden card catalog

Recommended reads #158


A very nice paper on efficient teaching, showing how small tweaks can result in big educational gains.

“Dr. Kathryn Milligan-Myhre works in the field of host-microbe interactions. In this mSphere of Influence article, she reflects on the people and scientific ideas that influenced her journey from a small town in Alaska to a faculty position at the University of Alaska Anchorage.”

If you are, like me, someone who studies things that are not humans and you’re interested in studying humans, you absolutely need to talk to people who do that for a living.”

How google scholar is changing which papers get cited. (In short, folks are less likely to cite the broader literature, and more likely to cite papers that pop up first, which are also cited more previously)

Scientific research on how to teach critical thinking contradicts education trends (In short, the idea of teaching critical thinking as an abstract skill independent of content doesn’t seem to hold up. In other words, critical thinking is domain-specific, and teaching someone to think critically in one area doesn’t mean they can think critically in other areas. Of course, engendering a mindset that values critical thinking is wonderful, but may not actually teach critical thinking in general. Because critical thinking in general may be not be a thing to be learned. [highlighted read]

Why do people publish in predatory journals, and what do they think of the outcome? Here’s a study where 80 authors in predatory journals were asked about their experience.

Lesser known dplyr functions.  Perhaps very helpful.

The first day of the Cenozoic. (Some cores were removed from the ring of the Chicxulub crater, and are interpreted in a creative piece of science.)

Male geniuses are replaceable [highlighted read]

Reflection in science.

Why I reported my professor and how my university failed me.

An interview with good lines about the importance of basic research in the treatment of disease

The story behind this photo of a raccoon peeking out of an abandoned ’70s Ford Pinto.

The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the year awards.

There’s a good chance that you heard about a recent study on student evaluations, which concluded that students who active learning not only improves how much students learn, but also students who are in active learning-rich classrooms underestimate how much they learn. Or, the other side of the coin is that students in lecture-rich classrooms overestimate how much they learn. This is well in line with earlier work, but this paper got a bunch of attention because of the catchy punchline and the institutional affiliation of the authors, and also because critics also were keen to point out the limitations and flaws of the study. The study was just fine, though obviously it’s just one study among many, and not the last word. (Just like any piece of research, we’re not intended to digest it as immutable facts, but an imperfect representation of the world in a given place and time, and more information will create a clearer picture. It’s funny how education research deniers are arbitrarily Popperian or Kuhnian, depending on how that best supports their previously existing position in any particular field.)

Does science advance one funeral at at a time? “While the flow of articles by collaborators into affected fields decreases after the death of a star scientist, the flow of articles by non-collaborators increases markedly.”

The case for climate rage.

Leaders of the world: Get your shit together [highlighted read]

More professional societies are adopting the American Sociological Association’s statement on student evaluations teaching. “While acknowledging the valuable feedback that student experiences in the classroom can provide, the statement discourages the use of such assessments as a primary factor in faculty promotion, salary increase, and appointment. Studies have shown that student evaluations of teaching are easily biased, particularly towards women and minorities, and weakly related to other measures of teaching effectiveness and learning outcomes. The ASA also provides recommendations of best practices for future collection and implementation of student feedback.”

I love this story about told by the parent of a middle schooler who ran the numbers on the fundraising drive based on student labor selling junk from an external vendor, and shared these numbers with their peers and the school.

Five steps for community college faculty to maintain an active research agenda

Widespread biases in ecological and evolutionary studies. This provides some numbers to tell you what people who work in the tropics have been telling you: temperate bias is a problem.

Now that some dust has settled on the exposure of misconduct by the director of an the Center for MSIs based out of an Ivy League university, here is a take-home lesson about the perils of favoring institutional interests over the needs and safety of people on campus. Which really could be about thousands of things that are happening right now that are not in the news.

Some tips for preparing an NSF GRFP, with popular links at the end of the post.

What college admissions offices really want

What the heck is going with NEON ever since the company hired to manage it dismissed the scientific advisory board, had the scientific director quit, and then they’ve scrambled to undo their screwups? Well, they’re up and running. There is a ton of utility and potential. Here’s the latest in a story in Science.

Which bird is Most Metal? One of my favorite lines: “We probably are suffering from a homonym problem with all those tyrants showing up. The tyrant flycatchers are not actually that metal (Fig. 5).”

I realize I’ve been using the image with this post for occasional recommended reads, and I’m wondering if the generational effect is so strong that some of y’all might not recognize what that image is:


3 thoughts on “Recommended reads #158

  1. I’m 30, and recognize the card catalog, but I haven’t ever used one — I think Dad showed me the catalog when I got my first library card (mid-90’s), but by the time I was actually searching the library independently (early oughts) the catalog was on a computer.

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