21 February 2017


I've met my tutees! That is, all except one who was down with a cold. I asked them to introduce themselves, and I asked them what they had so far learned from the tutorials, and what they hoped to learn from now. Most of them said they struggled with presentations, and needed practice with that. OK, we can work with that! I thought I'd start things off by having them present a summary of their essays (that they had written before, for James) in order to 1) practice presenting and 2) give them a bit of feedback on the narrative structure of their summaries. In science, as everywhere else, presentation matters. If you just rattle off some dry facts nobody will pay attention. We have all drifted off during presentations on interesting topics but by people who couldn't tell a story. And we've all skimmed through conference abstracts, trying to decide which presentation to go see. If you don't write an inviting abstract you lose people! So one can't start early enough practicing on making whatever message you have to convey as enticing as you can!

As they were so keen on practicing presenting, I thought we should do both a practice session and the real deal. But that takes more time, so I would have to have another slot timetabled. And if you have six students presenting, you want more than fifty minutes. I suggested I book a two hour slot and they thought that was a good idea! Students who want more contact hours and more work! I am amazed. This is good!

When the discussion on the presentations was done it was time for me to set them their first task for a grade. They have to write an abstract, so I gave them the articles-with-abstracts-edited-out I had prepared before. And by then time was sort of up; they had to go to Anglesey for a practical, and they would be brought by a bus (honestly, the university charters buses for that) that would leave shortly. It was a short meeting, but it was good to meet them. I hope I can make a useful addition to their education!

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