20.109(S12):Reflection assignments summary page

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20.109(S12): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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Two points of your final grade are determined by these reflections. Each satisfactory reflection will be worth 0.5 points. After that, each additional reflection will count as an extra credit FNT. That is, 1 point will be added to the numerator but not the denominator of your homework grade. With a typical FNT denominator of 60-65 points, you could increase your FNT score by half a letter grade if you do all four extra credit assignments.

If a reflection seems extremely "phoned in," half credit will be given (0.25 points). An extra credit assignment may be used to replace this score. However, no FNT bonus will be given in addition, and the maximum of four such assignments still holds.

Mandatory reflections

You must complete all three of these assignments, and also choose one assignment in the "optional" category below.

Journal club

An awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses can often help you improve your future work. After you give your presentation, write a brief self-evaluation (200 words is plenty). Specifically, describe at least two things that you thought you did well, and at least two that could use improvement; a short paragraph will suffice for each of the two sections. Feel free to include both big-picture and detail-oriented comments.

Due M1D7 or M3D1, depending on whether you present M1D6 or M1D8.

Module 1 report revision

By now, you've received a lot of feedback on your draft report, as well as on interim drafts, from multiple people with overlapping but not identical criteria for excellence. In the process of implementing this feedback, you probably had to select some comments to focus on while letting others slide. You probably also began to see patterns in the types of comments you received. What are the two or three major lessons you learned during this revision that you think are generalizable and will translate to your work on the second report? Again, 200-250 words should suffice.

If you choose not to revise the module 1 report, you can write this reflection about what you learned from the interim drafts (FNTs) only.

Due M2D6.

Module 2 report draft

Revisit your module 1 revision reflection. Which of the lessons that you predicted would be important back then were you able to apply to your work in module 2? As sub-questions, you might consider: What aspects of report-writing (if any) went more quickly or smoothly based on the groundwork you laid in module 1? What aspects remained particularly challenging? As usual, write about 200-250 words on this topic.

Due Tue/Wed Apr 24/25 (your day off!), according to which day you would normally have lab.

Optional reflections

You must write a reflection in one of the following categories, at any time during the semester.

You may complete up to five such assignments, repeating any category no more than two times.

Meeting with a writing instructor

Summarize what you learned from a meeting with your writing instructor or with the writing tutor. This reflection should contain, in part, a chronological narrative: when you met, for how long, and what assignment you worked on.

Meeting with a technical instructor or TA

Summarize what you learned from a meeting with one of the technical faculty. This reflection should contain, in part, a chronological narrative: when you met, for how long, and what assignment you worked on.

Working in a larger group to decipher data

This type of reflection gives me a behind-the-scenes look at how students really work together, which is helpful to me as an instructor and just plain enjoyable to read. For this category, summarize a meeting (formal/informal, in-person/googlechat, whatever) in which you worked with a group of your peers to understand some perplexing data. You can write about the culminating experiments in modules 1 or 2; for example, you might describe a meeting with a group(s) whose module 2 mutant behaved similarly to yours. Or you can write about any of the intermediate experiments in the three modules for which comparing with another group shed light on your own results. Writing about experimental error is fine, as long as there is some substance there. This reflection should contain, in part, a chronological narrative: when you met, with whom, and for how long.

Reading an outside paper loosely related to 20.109 work

Summarize a paper from the peer-reviewed scientific literature and tell how it relates to what you are learning in 20.109. Specifically, you might explain how it reinforced or extended your understanding of a particular topic we have covered. This reflection should contain, in part, some background: what prompted you to read the paper (another class, UROP, personal search)?

This category may not be fulfilled by writing about a paper that you read in preparation for your module 3 research proposal.