Advanced Topics in Cardiobiology Course Policies
I. COURSE ADMINISTRATOR
Course Director: Craig W Clarkson PhD
(Office: Rm 3554, 1430 Tulane Ave.; Tel: 504-988-2641; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
II. COURSE FORMAT
The format for the course will be similar to that of Advances in Pharmacology. Each session will typically consist of the presentation of 2 research papers, with ~3 students presenting the discussion of each assigned paper. The course director will select the papers for the first half of the course (the first 7 sessions), and students will be asked to select the papers presented for the remaining 7 sessions. All papers to be presented in the last half of the course must be pre-approved by the course director at least 2 weeks before the assigned presentation date.
By the end of the course you need to have participated in the presentation of 2 papers, plus one group project during the neuro block. If you have any additional questions, conflicts, or comments, please let me know ASAP. My office number is Room 4069, and I can be reached by phone at 988-2641, or by email at email@example.com.
III. COURSE OBJECTIVES
The three primary objectives of the course are to:
- Increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge about current "hot" topics of basic research in the areas of cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology
- to further develop your ability to critically analyze a research publication, and
- to give you additional experience at presenting scientific presentations. There will be no exams. Attendance is mandatory.
IV. PRESENTATION GUIDELINES
All students are expected to have thoroughly read each paper prior to the day of class, and to show up prepared to ask questions and provide criticism on the papers! Each team of discussants should
provide the class with a ~30-40 minute discussion that includes the following components:
- Begin with a concise introduction of the research topic including relevant background. Clearly indicate why the research is important or of interest.
- Have a clear statement of the hypothesis being tested or the specific aims of the study (this should be clearly stated on a separate slide at the end of the introduction).
- BRIEFLY discuss the methods used (save the bulk of your time for the other parts of the presentation, unless the method being used is brand new & novel).
- Summarize the results obtained. If the paper is long (e.g. one with 8 figures and tables), focus only on the critical important figures & results. For typical papers having 2-4 figures you should show each figure. For each figure make sure you include the following:
- The rationale for the specific experiment shown on each slide (why did they do this experiment?)
- Explain the data (explain what is being plotted. It is almost always necessary to explain what the X and Y axes represent in a graph). It is appropriate to discuss perceived weaknesses in the data as they are presented.
- Verbally state the conclusion drawn from the results shown on each slide. It is often a good idea to include the conclusion on the slide (e.g. either as a title for the slide, above a graph of data). It is best to NOT show the data on one slide & then explain or discuss it on a second slide if it can be avoided. Use your words, instead of reading your conclusions from a slide. You can summarize conclusions in words on a slide at the end.
- Following the results, discuss the major conclusions & "take home messages" of the paper (e.g. using bullets on a slide).
- At the end of the presentation, present your groups analysis of the strengths & weaknesses or limitations of the study. Be balanced in your analysis - few if any peer-reviewed studies in good journals are "all bad" or "hogwash", but it is not always clear how well results from carefully controlled laboratory studies using tissue culture or animal models can be extrapolated to humans.
- Put some thought into your presentation "style". Try to avoid simply reading the text on every slide (Zzzzzzz). A good way to avoid this is to include only key phrases or short sentences on slides & then use your own words to explain the major points being made. Showing a picture or graph & then using 20-30 words to make your point is 10 times better than putting those 30 words on a slide and reading them. We all know how to read, and reading to the audience is highly "non-interactive".
- You are encouraged to ask at least two Audience Response Questions during your presentations. They could be used for gaining insight into whether your audience has read the paper beforehand, has background knowledge of the topic, or understood the major conclusions of the study that you presented (based upon a question asked at the end of your presentation).
V. ATTENDANCE & GRADING
- Attendance is mandatory. There will be a sign-in sheet for each session. Missing more than one session without an excused absence will result in a reduction of grade by one unit for each unexcused absence (e.g. 2 unexcused absences will result in a reduction of grade from A to A-, and 2 unexcused absences will result in a reduction in grade to a B+).
Grading will also be based upon:
- How well you follow the presentation guidelines described above &
- How familiar you are with the material being presented - did you do your homework, or are you just reading the text on the slides with no real understanding of the topic? The audience will grade you on your performance (see below).
VI: Feedback on Presentation Performance
- An anonymous clicker-based survey will be taken at the end of your presentation using a Likert Scale of 1-5 for each question. The group with the highest overall presentation rating at the end of each half of the course (or groups in the event of a tie) will receive a "prize" & bragging rights.