Monday, January 09, 2006

Lecture notes on the internet

One piece of very useful advice: no matter what you are asked to teach, odds are someone has already taught it and posted lecture notes on the internet. Don't drive yourself crazy. Borrow them. If you make up nice notes of your own be sure to post them and return the favor.

I am being asked to teach a 50% of a course on Soil Chemistry. Like I know anything about soil chem. This is where the internet comes in handy. Google has made it so easy to find a lecture on soil pH. I just hope I survive this coming semester. I carefully avoided thinking about it until this week, but I have to teach 1.5 courses this semester. One is the same class I've been teaching for years, so it is kind of on autopilot, but the other is this soil chem class. Unfortunately it meets right after my other class on Tuesdays and Fridays, so on those days I will frequently have to lecture for three hours straight, only pausing to run across campus and eat my lunch along the way. Yech.

Does anyone else miss The X-Files? It's been off the air long enough now for me to forgive Chris Carter for the last couple of seasons, and now I find myself growing nostalgic. Maybe because it reminds me of the Clinton administration, when I felt the world was generally headed in the right direction. I may even buy the first few seasons on DVD, although when would I have time to watch it? Hmmm... d'ya think I could play the DVDs on my computer while I write soil chem lectures?

I don't watch much TV. Only kids shows. Is there anything worth watching on TV these days?


Blogger MommyProf said...

I heart the X-files. At least until the last few seasons. You might like the new Battlestar Galactica on SciFi...good, mysterious drama if you can get past the lasers and scary robots.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Sandra Porter said...

You make a good point about the lecture notes, but please, do consider referencing the source and giving them credit for their work. I've been unpleasantly surprised by finding materials where other instructors deleted my name, replaced it with theirs, and essentlially posted materials unchanged on the web. This has happened with lecture notes, homework assignments, data sets, and even animated tutorials. I'm willing to share and I post many things, but it's tough to take sometimes, when you've spent many hours working to gather and summarize materials.

Two of the cases that bothered me the most were with other scientists. Both of them referenced scientific articles but they copied materials that I created straight off of the web and failed to give any kind of a reference.

This kind of thing makes me wonder if instructors unwittingly provide a bad example to students in terms of plagarism. If we fail to credit each other's work, we devalue the profession as a whole and make our students think that this kind of thing is okay.

Sorry for the rant, but the article hit a sore spot.

9:07 AM  
Blogger ScienceWoman said...

way late for the party. But the only TV worth watching is Gilmore Girls - smart daughter, cool single mother, quick witty dialogue and somewhat realistic plots.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Nelumbo said...

Have you found any interesting environmental science labs on the web? I'm trying to dig up some new ideas.

2:42 PM  

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