CANB 610:How the class works

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CANB 610 Advanced Topics in Cancer Biology


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Course Reading Material

  1. General Background reading, for example: Alberts et al., "Molecular Biology of the Cell"
  2. Reviews and research articles will be posted on the course web site here: Materials


  1. Participation on wiki: 10%
  2. Homework: 10%
  3. Shared Presentations: 30%
  4. Individual Presentations: 30% (videotape)
  5. Class participation: 20%
  6. Bonus: create a universal OHSU Knight ppt template (we will vote on the best entry)

General Class Design

  • This class is not a faculty-driven lecture class, but is based on student presentations of background material and research papers selected from the current literature. It is designed to maximize active roles for students in each class.
  • Topics areas and papers can be selected from the list of possibilities posted on the course wiki.
  • Presentations are to be done in pairs. One student introduces the topic giving background and perspectives (20 min), and the other student presents the paper and figures (30 min).
  • Following a short break there will be a Discussion period for the paper(s) (20 min). The class MC will act as the discussion leader. Students should prepare for questions from faculty and postdocs who may attend the class and ask penetrating questions about the papers. Students--especially those not burdened with presenting--are charged with explaining the methods, results and significance of the papers.
  • The students who are not presenting will propose a key discussion point and then be accountable to come prepared to lead the class in the discussion about that particular point. The question should be posted on the class wiki before the class meets. After the discussion in class, the students are responsible for posting the answers to their questions on the designated area on the wiki. Homework credit will be given for posting (excellent) questions and (complete and well-written) answers.

Participants in the Class

Master of Class (MC). 5 min. Sets the tone and pace by introducing the topic and speakers. Introductions are mini-speeches. Introduce the speakers to the audience and the audience to the speaker to establish mutuality—a common bond.

  • Introduction: make audience aware of how the class works, and the importance of the topic
  • Explains why this subject, this speaker, this audience, this time
  • Explain that there will be a question/answer period after each talk followed by a general discussion period
  • Conclusion……that leads to the actual talk.

Also responsible for managing the timing of the presentations and discussion. Keeps the pace by keeping everyone, including evaluators (and yourself!), on time. Communicates with the speakers and Lead Evaluator.

Presenter 1. 20 min. Introduces the topic including a concise background of the topic, perspectives and relevance. Include any special methods, terminology needed to understand the papers.

    • 5 min Q&A, then brief (5 min or less) pause while everyone fills out evaluations on Presenter 1.

Presenter 2. 30 min. Summarizes the findings reported in the paper, methods and conclusions.

    • 5 min Q&A, then brief (5 min or less) pause while everyone fills out evaluations on Presenter 2, makes any adjustments on evaluations for Presentor 1. Evaluations are given to the Lead Evaluator.

MC. Leads the discussion of the paper(s) and topic. Have a plan for the discussion. Look first to the students who were not presenting for answers to any questions.

    • 5 min pause for lead Evaluator to collect thoughts on evaluations. Meanwhile, audience (except for LE and MC) fills out evalauations of the MC.

Lead Evaluator (LE). After the discussion of the paper is complete, then there is a 5-10 min break, every one who is not involved in the class can leave. MC invites the Lead Evaluator to give a summary of the form and content of the presentations according to the class guidelines, 3 minutes/speaker. Incude a polite and constructive critique of talks. The LE then turns the class over to the faculty mentors for constructive comments on form and content, announcements and dismissal.

  • Keep in mind:
    • The MC and LE should stand and come to the front of the room when it's time for them to speak, unless it is a very short interjection.
    • It is OK to be nervous! It’s how you use the nervousness that counts. Learn to make it work in your favor.
    • Rehearse! You need to practice this new skill. You need to know how long it will take to get through your slides and make your major points. You need to know what you might trip over.
    • Evaluators and moderators should practice too!

Preparation for the Class

  • Each student should be prepared to discuss each figure in the assigned papers. The classroom will be reserved on Tuesdays for you to practice your presentations and coordinate the content in the two presentations. Class will meet on Thursdays for presentations and discussion.