BIOS 6050 Biological Sciences Colloquium

Spring Semester 2006



Fridays, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Wood Hall 1718


Dr. Stephen Malcolm


3151 Wood Hall (Biological Sciences)




Office hours:

MW: 10:00 a.m. - noon or by appointment



Course Objective:

To broaden your appreciation for the Biological Sciences through attending, evaluating and thinking critically about issues, ideas, hypotheses, methods, results and interpretations presented during a semester-long sequence of weekly seminars by relevant professionals.



To pass the class with credit, it is required that you attend at least 9 of the 12 scheduled presentations (see seminar schedule). For each of the seminars you attend please submit a 1-2 page report that summarizes and critiques the presentation.  Each report is due within a week after each seminar and should be submitted to me in person or in my mailbox or by email.


Each report should include: name of the speaker, home institution, title of talk, goal or hypotheses, methods used, results obtained, conclusions.  In your report, please comment on at least five of the nine report criteria listed below:


Seminar report criteria:


Introduction and motivation of research questions and hypotheses

Did the speaker put the study in context for both a scientist within the specialized area as well as for a more general scientifically literate audience?  Did the speaker discuss what is already known and what needs to be known?  Did we get introduced to enough background to understand what is discussed later? Were the goals and the hypotheses clearly presented?

Organization and order

Did the speaker present material in an orderly fashion?  Did they present an outline or direction for the talk?  Were transitions effective between topics or sections of the talk?

Colors and graphics

Were colors chosen appropriately?  Was the font large enough to view?  Were slides pleasing to the eye?

Data presentation

Were there error bars?  Could conclusions be drawn from the slide without speaker explaining the data?  Were the conclusions drawn from the data stated at the top of the slide? Did the data support conclusions?

Summary and conclusions

Did the speaker give you the bottom line or take home message?

Future research and unanswered questions

Did the speaker point to remaining or newly arising questions that need to be addressed?  Did they state what they intend to focus on in the future?


How well did the speaker handle questions? 


Was the speaker enjoyable to listen to?  Was their voice monotonous or lively? Were you sleeping through the talk or did the speaker keep your interest?  Was there any humor?  Did the speaker show any emotion?


Was the seminar an appropriate length?  Did they spend too much time on some parts and not enough on others?  Did they need to rush at the end? Did they have to skip slides to finish on time?  Was the rate of delivery appropriate?



Hosting speakers:

Each student will also be expected to assist with hosting 2 speakers by helping with pizza lunch and seminar arrangements.


When it is your turn to assist with the seminar responsibilities please be sure the following tasks are taken care of:


1. Post seminar flyers on Monday of the week of seminar (although office undergraduate assistants normally will take care of this)


2. Check to see if enough stock of refreshments- if not enough, check with Diane Stephenson about purchasing more


3.  Pizza lunch

Reserve room for pizza lunch with Diane

Email grad students to announce time

Place order with Diane

Take pizza to meeting place

Get drink refreshments for lunch

Return extra pizza and refreshments


4.  Seminar refreshments

Chill refreshments ahead of time

Bring refreshments to seminar room

Take refreshments back after seminar


5.  Take down seminar flyers after the seminar