Knowledge To Your Ear: #gowrkgrls™ Radio!

There’s a new girl gang in town, and I am a major fan —  #gowrkgrls™. If you remember Ladypreneur League then you’re in for a treat because #gowrkgrls™ is the 2.0 version brought to you by the ultimate boss gal, Porsha Thomas. Porsha is bringing us gals with an app that will help us connect, and hire professional women for our businesses. Whether it’s branding, budgeting, legal advice, or development, #gowrkgrls™ will soon become our go-to before anything else.

Don’t fret, even with the app in production, Porsha has managed to keep us engaged with a podcast. The #gowrkgrls™ Radio has launched its first season, with its first episode starring Sydia Bell “how it didn’t go according to plan”. You can hear it below, and on the #gowrkgrls™ Podcast Soundcloud Page.

 

Let me know what you think of the first episode, give #gowrkgrls™ a follow, and sign up for feature news regarding the #gowrkgrls™ official app coming soon!

www.gowrkgirls.io

Twitter: @gowrkgrls | Instagram: @gowrkgrls | Facebook: gowrkgrls

On the Way To A Less Wasteful Wedding

135 days to go until our wedding day.

Less than 5 months.

engagement3

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you start this wedding planning journey a whole year and a half beforehand, it’s a lot.

Plenty of things have been crossed off the to-do list, but there are still many more tasks to go.

Here is a roundup of my less wasteful wedding planning experience so far:

Yet there is still so much to do!

 

wedding dress

This is NOT my wedding dress. Just one I tried on.

 

Faith Goes A Long Way!

Editor’s Note: This post was written + drafted on 12/29/17. 

As we’re approaching the new year (totes writing this two days before with a plan to schedule this post a week or so after the first. #transparency) it’s human nature to reflect on the year we’re getting ready to part with. We all have our ways to go about it to let loose and reflect. I have learned a lot in 2017, pushed myself a lot, made great contributions, but I’ve also hurt a lot, misplaced part me of myself, and cried a lot. Yup, the emo train had a rest stop at my door. But, in the midst of it all, I was able to remain strong, hopeful, and comforted. He did it all, my Father, Jesus.

I am writing this post because of a) this is my blog & b) I will not hide whom I worship, love, embrace and live for. Truth be told, He’s had my back more than anyone I’ve met circa ’17. Through my defeats, failures, and cries, He remained with me and gave me comfort, like the Father, He is.

For the last two years, I’ve told myself that I would get started with She Reads Truth‘s Monthly Bible Studies but that totally failed. This year — hello 2018, I’m doing it. I have been following She Reads Truth for ages now, found via Instagram, and fell in love. Seeing how much we (account’s social engagements) all love Him, and stand forever merciful of His grace is pretty awesome. I know He’s looking down at us saying, “you da best!”. Writing this post totally holds me accountable for my actions, and I will not disappoint this time.

If you’ve heard about She Reads Truth, I’d love to hear more about your experience finding a community such as them. I also would love to know if you’ve done any of their study group. I’m kicking off my readings with Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom study which also happens to be free on the app, ladies! If you’ve already doing a plan or thinking about doing a plan, I’d love for us to “e-join”, and do this together, let me know!

I have a couple of plans on my queued list and this year I definitely aim focus and ground myself for learning the Word of God. I want to know more and become stronger in my walk.

I know what I’ve been through, and I know who’s always had my back, and that’s Jesus. ✌

** Featured image by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash **

-xoswc

Independent projects in large enrollment labs?

Note from Jeremy: this is a guest post from John DeLong of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the first in a planned series of three. Thanks for taking the time John!

*******************

A fresh take on canned labs

Introductory science classes often have high enrollment, and so their associated labs must accommodate high student throughput. Not surprisingly, all of the introductory science labs I have taken and taught in my academic career have used canned labs. Students conduct activities or experiments with known outcomes, and by going through the activity and conducting an analysis, students ‘discover’ something we want them to know. As an instructor for the 200-level Ecology and Evolution class at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln for the last five years, I have tried to make sure our canned labs work reliably and generate the expected outcomes. Although there are two partially inquiry-based labs, the lab is still mostly canned. Most of the labs work, and the course has followed this format for many years.

About a year ago, however, we had a reliable lab go bad. Given our schedule, we needed the students to complete their assignments and move on. But asking students to do this had a profound effect on me. I felt as though I were completely lying to the students about how science works. Science does not follow the mantra of try something, fail, do something else. It follows a try something, fail, trouble shoot, try again mantra (at least up to a point). I felt that in addition to failing to teach the expected content, we gave students a false picture of how to do science and made the whole exercise rather pointless.

Bee enter bonnet

At this point, I had the crushing realization that maybe I have been teaching labs all wrong. Lecture is where we teach and learn content. Lab should be where we teach and learn process. We were mixing the two and failing to provide students with an authentic view of the scientific process. I began talking this problem up to anyone who would listen and planning a totally independent-projects based alternative lab. I got support from everyone I talked with – students, colleagues, and importantly, my department chair – and so this semester I am rolling out an independent-projects based lab for the Ecology and Evolution class. No canned labs. No recipes. For 108 students. With some students working in pairs, I am guessing we will have about 75 student-led, inquiry-based projects going at once. I am actually slightly worried about pulling this off, but everyone around me is so positive, I am tempted to think it will work.

Since I am bound to learn some hard lessons about trying to support so many independent projects at one time for mostly sophomore students who have always been told what to do in lab, I thought I would summarize the experience in a three-part blog. This first entry is being written in the first week of lab, before I’ve learned any hard lessons. The second entry will be during our spring break, and I will post one more at the end of the semester. I will try to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what I failed to anticipate.

What exactly are we doing?

The lab is broken into three sections: 1) sampling and statistics (3 weeks), 2) mini-projects (3 weeks), and 3) independent projects (8 weeks). Each activity will require the students to decide what to sample, what questions to ask, and how to do it. Even for learning how to do descriptive statistics, the students will go outside, wander around, pick a population of plants (it’s winter, so it’ll be stems, seeds, etc.) and figure out how to sample it. We have some stats we want them to learn how to run, but they will do it using the data they choose to collect. In the mini and independent projects, they will formulate a hypothesis and test it. The mini-project will be just that – mini and not too concerned with biological concepts. The independent project will focus on something biologically interesting but doable. The bar for ‘interesting’ is that they use some content from lecture to motivate their hypothesis. They have 8 weeks, so they have time to try something, fail, trouble shoot, and try again. They will present their projects to their sections and write a scientific paper.

Grading this thing

Grades are forefront in students’ minds, so we do need to grade in a way that doesn’t cause undue stress. I think getting this right is key to getting student buy-in for the new lab approach. In this lab, the grades will reflect student willingness to engage in the scientific process. A portion of the grade will come from achieving benchmarks. For example, when the TA says a student has proposed an interesting hypothesis, they have earned the ‘hypothesis’ points and, regardless of how the rest of the project goes, they won’t lose them. I hope this frees the students to focus on the process and not worry about their grades so much. Finally, students will not be expected to write a well-thought out scientific paper on their first attempt. Instead, they will revise their papers based on TA feedback, and the thoroughness of their revision will determine the grade on the paper.

The end result

Will this approach be better than what we did before? I think so. I plan to conduct some exit interviews to document student perceptions. If all goes well, at the end of this, students will come out the other side with an authentic scientific experience, a more positive view of science, and a good foundation for whatever comes next.

Ecological diversity metrics can teach us how to feed the world well

For the latest post in our Functional traits in agroecology series, Stephen Wood (The Nature Conservancy, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies) highlights the importance of considering social and human, as well as ecological traits in agricultural systems. The full article, Nutritional functional trait diversity of crops in south-eastern Senegal is a part of a […]