segunda-feira, 28 de novembro de 2016

Cover letters



Writing Cover Letters for Scientific Manuscripts


Key Points Summary

  • Always submit an accompanying cover letter with every manuscript.
  • Some journals have very specific requirements for information to provide in the cover letter, and these are usually stated in the journal’s instructions to authors. Make sure your cover letter includes any journal-required elements.
  • Strong cover letters tell journal editors why they should publish your manuscript in their journals.
  • Cover letters should be succinct and focus on the importance and novelty of your findings, as well as how they relate to the scope of your target journal.

After the hard work of perfecting your manuscript and selecting a target journal, one more task remains before submission: writing a cover letter. The cover letter is an important document that must do more than tell the editor that you are submitting your manuscript for consideration. It should capture the editor’s attention, provide information about the novelty and importance of your findings, and indicate that all authors have approved of the submission and the manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal concurrently.

Strong cover letters not only introduce your manuscript – they offer an important opportunity to convince journal editors to consider your manuscript for publication.

 

Determine Your Target Journal’s Requirements

Before you begin, check your target journal’s author instructions for any cover letter requirements, such as certain specifically worded statements. No matter what else you decide to include, always make sure that your cover letter contains any required information and statements described in your target journal’s author instructions.

 

Develop an Outline for the Cover Letter

In addition to any information and statements required by your target journal, every cover letter should contain the following elements:
  1. An introduction stating the title of the manuscript and the journal to which you are submitting.
  2. The reason why your study is important and relevant to the journal’s readership or field.
  3. The question your research answers.
  4. Your major experimental results and overall findings.
  5. The most important conclusions that can be drawn from your research.
  6. A statement that the manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration for publication in any other journal
  7. A statement that all authors approved the manuscript and its submission to the journal.
  8. Any other details that will encourage the editor to send your manuscript for review.
Write one or more sentences to address each of these points. You will revise and polish these sentences to complete your cover letter.

Write the Body of the Cover Letter

Open your cover letter with a sentence or two explaining why you are writing, the title of your manuscript, and the title of the journal.
  • Example: “I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, “Taking antioxidants plus zinc reduces the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration for high-risk patients,” for consideration for publication in Archives of Ophthalmology.”

Briefly state the background for the problem or question your research answers. The focus of the paragraph is to explain why your research was needed and clearly state the question your research answers. Clearly and concisely explain your results, findings, and conclusions.

To keep your cover letter concise, limit this explanation to one or two brief paragraphs. You can also include a sentence or two that links your findings to the interests of the journal’s readership, if appropriate. It may be helpful to review your abstract to stay focused on your most important results and conclusions.
  • Example: “Because our findings could be applied in the clinic right away, they are likely to be of great interest to the vision scientists, researchers, clinicians, and trainees who read your journal.”

As you write this explanation, think in terms of “how will my manuscript benefit the journal?” The journal editor’s goal is to publish important, novel findings that are within the journal’s scope and of interest to its readership. Your goal is to show the editor how your manuscript meets these criteria. Such manuscripts will be highly referenced, which will increase the impact factor of the journal. Without exaggerating, explain the novelty, relevance, and interest of your findings to researchers who read that journal.

After describing your research and findings, include a paragraph with any journal-required statements. If the findings in the manuscript have been presented at a scientific meeting, include that information in this paragraph. This paragraph should also include statements about exclusivity and author approval for submission.
  • Example: “This manuscript describes original work and is not under consideration by any other journal. All authors approved the manuscript and this submission.”

In your last paragraph, thank the editor for his or her consideration.
  • Example: “Thank you for receiving our manuscript and considering it for review. We appreciate your time and look forward to your response.”


Add Basic Letter Elements

Cover letters follow the same simple format as all letters. Make sure your cover letter includes the following basic letter elements:
  • Date.
  • Addressee name and mailing address.
  • Salutation (such as “Dear Dr. Smith:” or “Dear Editor:”).
  • Body of the letter.
  • Closing (such as “Kind regards,” or “Thank you,”).
  • Signature block (author’s signature, typed name and highest degree, institution, and mailing address).
  • Enclosure designation (“Enclosure” to indicate your manuscript is included with the cover letter).
Cover letters are often submitted electronically in an e-mail message. E-mail cover letters may not contain more formal letter elements like the date and address block.


Revise the Cover Letter

Read through your cover letter several times to proofread and revise the text for clarity and brevity. Remove any stray points or sentences that do not directly relate to the purpose, major results, and most important findings and conclusions of your study. As you revise the cover letter, ask yourself if the impact, novelty, and relevance of your findings are clear. Rewrite any sentences that are very long, do not make your point clearly, or are cluttered with too many details.

Cover letters should not exceed one page unless absolutely necessary. If you write a cover letter that is longer than one page, think carefully about how it can be shortened.

As you revise the cover letter, proofread for the same basic grammar and construction issues you would look for when revising your manuscript.
  • Eliminate unnecessary or redundant phrases like “in order to” and “may have the potential to.”
  • Make sure the letter is written in plain English. Remove any jargon and define all abbreviations at first use.
  • Proofread for spelling and grammar errors.
During your review, read the cover letter at least once to ensure you avoid the following:
  • Statements that exaggerate or overstate results
  • Conclusions that are not supported by the data reported in the manuscript.
  • Sentences repeated word-for-word from the manuscript text.
  • Too many technical details.
Always complete a final check to confirm that your cover letter includes all elements required by your target journal. 

More Resources for Writing Cover Letters

 

Scientific Writing Workshops

If you like our articles, try our workshops! Our articles are based on the material from our scientific writing workshops, which cover these and many other topics more thoroughly, with more examples and discussion.

We offer on-site workshops for your event or organization, and also host workshops that individual participants can attend. Our on-site scientific writing workshops can range from 1-2 hours to several days in length. We can tailor the length to suit your needs, and we can deliver a writing workshop as a stand-alone activity or as part of scheduled meetings.

Our scientific writing workshops consistently receive high praise from participants including graduate students, post-docs, and faculty in diverse fields. Please see our scientific writing workshop page for details.

domingo, 27 de novembro de 2016

Mixed reality



Visionary: How 4 institutions are venturing into a new mixed reality

 
By Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
 

Mixed reality combines virtual and augmented realities for enhanced learning experiences--and institutions are already implementing it.


 
A new collaboration between Pearson and Microsoft is using a self-contained holographic computer to develop “mixed reality” learning experiences for students.

The collaboration will explore how mixed reality can help solve real challenges in areas of learning, ranging from online tutoring and coaching, nursing education, and engineering to construction and surveyor training.

Microsoft says its HoloLens is the world’s first self-contained holographic computer. Pearson is developing and piloting mixed reality content at colleges, universities and secondary schools in the United States and around the world.



video
Video: Hololens


HoloLens leverages virtual reality and augmented reality to create a new reality – mixed reality. With virtual reality, the user is immersed in a simulated world. Augmented reality overlays digital information on top of the real world. Mixed reality merges the virtual and physical worlds to create a new reality whereby the two can coexist and interact.

By understanding the user’s environment, mixed reality enables holograms to look and sound like they are part of that world. This means learning content can be developed for HoloLens that provides students with real world experiences, allowing them to build proficiency, develop confidence, explore and learn.

To develop the content for this pilot, Pearson will use Microsoft’s holographic video capture capability, filming actors to simulate patients with various health concerns and then transferring that video into holograms for the student nurses to experience in a clinical setting. When student nurses participate in the simulations using HoloLens, they will have a real world experience diagnosing patients, building the confidence and competence that they will need in their careers.

Here is how 4 schools plan to integrate mixed reality:

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock and San Diego State University are both part of a Pearson mixed reality pilot aimed at leveraging mixed reality to solve challenges in nursing education. Today, many nursing programs hire and train actors to simulate scenarios nurses will face in the real world — a process that is hard to standardize and even harder to replicate. As part of the mixed reality pilot, faculty at the two universities’ schools of nursing are collaborating with Pearson to improve the value and efficacy of the types of simulations in which students participate.

At Bryn Mawr College, a women’s liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, faculty, students, and staff are exploring various educational applications for the HoloLens mixed reality devices. They are testing Skype for HoloLens to connect students with tutors in Pearson’s 24/7 online tutoring service, Smarthinking. If successful, this solution could provide struggling students with richer, more personalized, just-in-time support from expert tutors as if they were sitting side-by-side.

Bryn Mawr also will experiment with using holographs and mixed reality to explore 3D content and concepts in a number of academic disciplines, including physics, biology, and archaeology.

Not Just Higher Education

Pearson’s work with mixed reality and HoloLens isn’t limited to higher education. The company is in the early stages of evaluating the impact of holographic learning at the late grammar school stage.

At Canberra Grammar School in Australia, Pearson is working with teachers in a variety of disciplines to develop holograms for use in their classrooms. The University of Canberra is partnering with Pearson to provide support for the project and evaluate the impact these holograms have on teaching and learning.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pearson to expand the curriculum available to students to learn through the power of holograms on Microsoft HoloLens,” said Lorraine Bardeen, general manager for Microsoft Windows and HoloLens Experiences. “Complex systems are more easily understood in 3D and learning through holographic computing in mixed reality provides students a higher level of understanding and experience that they can then bring into their real-world interactions. HoloLens gives students access to things they may never be able to see in real life – historical artifacts, natural history, hands on training, and a connection to the broader world.”

*Material from a press release was used in this report.
 


Scientific publications



REpS-SP promove seminário do Conselho Editorial

Ocorreu em 26/11/2016, na sede do INESCO  (Rua Rio de Janeiro 1.500, loja 11 - Londrina - PR), o 1º Seminário Interno do Conselho Editorial da REpS-SP  - Espaço para a Saúde - Revista de Saúde Pública do Paraná.
O evento reuniu 14 membros do Conselho Editorial que discutiram a situação atual da Revista e o planejamento estratégico para o futuro.





Programação:

08h30 às 09h00 - Abertura, auto-apresentação dos participantes, objetivos e resultados esperados;

09h00 às 10h00 - Repasses do IX Workshop de Editoração Científica promovido pela ABEC (Associação Brasileira de Editores Científicos), seguidos de discussão;

10h00 às 10h45 - Avaliação do trabalho desenvolvido em 2016 e planejamento para 2017;

10h45 às 11h - Intervalo

11h00 às 11h30 - SEER/OJS

11h30 às 12h00 - Visibilidade e ranqueamento da produção científica publicada na REpS; indexação nas bases internacionais; etiquetas DOI e ORCID

12h00 às 12h30 - Encaminhamentos e encerramento

ANASEM e ENADE 2016



Avaliações Nacionais da Medicina  - 2016

Seguem provas e gabaritos da ANASEM e do ENADE de 2016


ANASEM


Gabaritos ANASEM 2016 - 2º Ano

 E padrão de resposta das questões discursivas: http://download.inep.gov.br/.../padrao_de_respostas...



ENADE

Prova do ENADE MEDICINA 2016
Gabarito:
 
 
 
 
 
* Para provas e gabaritos dos outros Cursos que participaram do ENADE 2016, clique aqui.

sexta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2016

Bioinformática






“As farmacêuticas impedem a criação de novas terapias contra o câncer”

Pai da bioinformática conta como a computação pode ajudar a compreender a complexidade de cada tumor




 




Chris Sanders. Álvaro Garcia 


Os grandes projetos de sequenciamento do genoma do câncer iniciados há uma década demonstraram que cada tipo de tumor é tão diferente de outro em nível genético e molecular que parecem doenças distintas. Essa heterogeneidade também ocorre dentro de cada paciente – uma célula de um tumor pode ser muito diferente da célula ao lado. E toda essa variabilidade pode explicar por que algumas pessoas (e células) respondem aos tratamentos oncológicos e outras não.

“Com tanta complexidade, o problema só poderá ser resolvido com a utilização de computadores”, diz Fátima Al-Shahrour, pesquisadora do Centro Nacional de Pesquisas Oncológicas (CNIO) da Espanha. Al-Shahrour é especialista em bioinformática, uma disciplina em expansão que mistura o poder de cálculo dos computadores atuais com ferramentas oriundas da matemática e da estatística para analisar a imensidade do Big Data genético do câncer. Al-Shahrour foi uma das organizadoras de um congresso internacional do CNIO e da Fundação La Caixa voltado ao entendimento e combate da heterogeneidade do câncer graças à bioinformática.

Chris Sander, um dos pais dessa disciplina, foi o grande nome do congresso. É pesquisador do Instituto do Câncer Dana-Farber de Boston (EUA) e um dos líderes do Atlas do Genoma do Câncer, um consórcio norte-americano que estudou as variações genômicas de 30 tipos de tumores em 20.000 pessoas. “Essa base de dados agora nos ajuda a enxergar os detalhes microscópicos do que ocorre no câncer”, diz Sander. Físico teórico, foi para a área da biomedicina há mais de quatro décadas. Desenvolveu algoritmos capazes de resolver problemas de biologia que estavam fora do alcance dos maiores supercomputadores do mundo e criou unidades de bioinformática no Laboratório Europeu de Biologia Molecular e no Centro do Câncer Memorial Sloan-Kettering de Nova York. Nessa entrevista ele explica como a bioinformática pode ajudar a encontrar novas terapias combinadas mais efetivas e acessíveis.


Precisamos encontrar a forma de fazer testes clínicos alternativos, financiados com dinheiro público


Pergunta. O que diria a uma pessoa com câncer sobre como a bioinformática pode melhorar os tratamentos?

Resposta. Já demonstramos, por exemplo, que há tumores cerebrais que parecem muito similares, mas quando analisados do ponto de vista molecular e genético ocorre que cada pessoa tem um tumor diferente. É a heterogeneidade do câncer, o que implica que cada um necessitará de uma terapia diferente. Podemos listar a paisagem complexa de cada tumor e o número de drogas disponíveis para encontrar a combinação correta. Inicialmente vamos estudar isso em testes clínicos com pacientes, e depois começará a ser feito nos hospitais, como terapia.

P. O senhor defende que os pacientes também podem ter um papel mais ativo na luta contra o câncer.

R. Sim. Até agora, a força da genômica no câncer são os mais de 60.000 tumores analisados no nível da genética molecular. Essa é a montanha de dados que temos. O que nos falta é uma informação equiparável sobre pessoas. Essa informação está bloqueada nos hospitais e é incompleta. Temos que trabalhar para estruturá-la bem, publicá-la e compartilhá-la, de forma que possamos passar de uma montanha de dados genéticos a outra de dados de saúde pessoais, prontuários médicos, estilos de vida etc.. Meu pedido aos pacientes é que trabalhem com a comunidade de engenheiros informáticos, os geeks, e que os deixem captar suas informações sobre saúde através de seus smartphones, de modo a podermos obter essa informação diretamente deles. Isso já está acontecendo, há programas pilotos em andamento.


Meu pedido aos pacientes é que permitam a captação de informações sobre sua saúde através de seus smartphones


P. As pessoas precisam se preocupar por exporem informações sobre sua saúde?

R. Deveríamos criar um direito constitucional pelo qual cada pessoa teria a propriedade sobre sua informação genômica e de saúde. Uma vez que esse direito exista, você poderá guardar esses dados só para você ou compartilhá-los. Há pessoas com um câncer muito agressivo que querem compartilhar seus dados enquanto estiverem vivas, porque esperam ajudar outras pessoas conectadas, como no Facebook. Se conseguirmos proteger esse direito, criaremos a liberdade de compartilhar informação. E, se fizermos isso bem, teremos uma base de dados extremamente poderosa. Poderemos multiplicar por 10 ou por 100 os benefícios que a bioinformática já propicia no tratamento de tumores.


Eu chamo Trump de ‘Dump’ [lixo]

 
P. Os computadores também podem encontrar novos usos para fármacos já existentes?

R. Sim. Especialmente com as chamadas terapias combinadas, quando várias drogas são usadas juntas para combater tumores que são resistentes a um fármaco. Uma decorrência disso é que se pode evitar o uso dos fármacos mais caros, de digamos 200.000 euros [711.200 reais], e substitui-los por uma combinação de outros já aprovados e muito mais baratos. Esse reposicionamento representa uma enorme oportunidade. Mas os grandes laboratórios farmacêuticos se opõem. Fizeram grandes contribuições para curar o câncer, mas não estão interessados em fazer testes clínicos se não tiverem a oportunidade de lucrar um monte de dinheiro. Se uma combinação contiver um medicamento barato, os grandes laboratórios não farão o teste, porque não aumentará seus lucros. Por isso temos que encontrar a forma de fazer testes clínicos alternativos, financiados com dinheiro público. É um problema social e político, mas há a oportunidade de propiciar um enorme benefício para os pacientes com câncer se fizermos testes públicos, por exemplo, sobre tumores muito especializados, que não interessam às grandes companhias.

P. Então os grandes laboratórios se opõem ao desenvolvimento de novos tratamentos?

R. Sim. Estão pondo o foco numa gama muito pequena, devemos ampliar a mira.

P. Quando chegarão as terapias melhoradas graças à bioinformática?

R. Já. É parte do sistema global de desenvolvimento de novas terapias. Veja, por exemplo, o melanoma, uma doença mortífera e muito rápida. Os novos testes clínicos de imunoterapia tiveram uma taxa de sucesso de 40% a 50% dois anos depois do tratamento, ou seja, há pessoas que potencialmente se curaram ou pelo menos não morrerão de melanoma. É um feito inovador. Não decorre diretamente da bioinformática, mas ela está ajudando a melhorar os resultados ao relacionar os tratamentos com o perfil genético das pessoas e ao mostrar quem pode responder melhor.


Estamos permitindo que haja mortes por câncer totalmente desnecessárias


P. Como acredita que a vitória de Donald Trump afetará a ciência nos EUA?

R. Eu o chamo de Dump [lixo, em inglês], por razões óbvias. Há 77 anos já vimos aonde levam certos movimentos políticos. Acredito que esse seja o maior risco. Alguns dos políticos que ganharam as eleições negaram a base científica da mudança climática, e inclusive nas fileiras dele questionam a evolução. Se essa animosidade contra a ciência se traduzir em cortes orçamentários, haverá um problema na pesquisa do câncer. Como cientistas devemos erguer a voz para que não haja um novo movimento anticientífico.

P. A medicina personalizada poderia incrementar a desigualdade em algo tão importante como a saúde?

R. Há um problema sem resolver. Se quisermos reduzir as mortes por câncer no mundo com uma só ação, ela seria uma campanha mundial contra o tabaco e a favor de mudanças na dieta e nos hábitos de vida. Numa recente conferência científica em Cingapura houve uma exposição da Phillip Morris, uma das empresas do câncer, dizendo que ela está fazendo pesquisas positivas sobre biologia de sistemas. Quando olhei do que se tratava, estavam desenvolvendo novos cigarros um pouco menos perigosos, e os apresentavam como se fosse ciência! Como seres humanos, estamos permitindo que haja mortes por câncer totalmente desnecessárias, e deveríamos parar com isso. Se não solucionarmos esses problemas sociais, a ciência não poderá mudar as coisas.


Family Health



Congresso internacional debaterá perspectivas na assistência às famílias 




Pesquisadores e profissionais do Brasil e do exterior participarão, de 30 de novembro a 2 de dezembro, na Universidade Estadual de Maringá (UEM), do II Congresso Internacional de Enfermagem à Família; IV Congresso Nacional de Enfermagem à Família da UEM e do XVI Encontro do Laboratório de Estudos Interdisciplinares em Família e Saúde (Leifams).

O evento, que vai celebrar também os 20 anos do Núcleo de Estudos, Pesquisa, Assistência e Apoio às Famílias (NEPAAF), terá como tema central "Avanços, Contribuições e Perspectivas no ensino, na pesquisa e na assistência às Famílias".
 
O objetivo geral do Congresso é reunir pesquisadores e profissionais para discutir a produção científica e tecnológica na área da enfermagem à família, buscando fortalecer a pesquisa, a assistência e o ensino desta temática.
 
A cerimônia de abertura será realizada no dia 30, às 19 horas, no auditório do PDE (Programa de Desenvolvimento Educacional), bloco B-33, câmpus universitário. Além deste local, outras atividades serão desenvolvidas em diversos blocos do câmpus-sede e no anfiteatro do Nupélia, como a apresentação de trabalhos, minicursos, mesas-redondas, rodas de conversa e conferências.
 
Além disso, a programação do evento prevê uma homenagem, em forma de premiação, para a professora Ingrid Elsen, da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), por ter iniciado o trabalho de pesquisa sobre a enfermagem ligada à família; e para a ex-professora Maria Angélica Pagliarini Waidman, do Departamento de Enfermagem (DEN), da UEM. Maria Angélica, falecida, também trabalhava com família no curso de Enfermagem.

Os convidados estrangeiros farão suas palestras por videoconferência. É o caso das professoras Cristina Garcia Vivar, da Universidade de Navarra, na Espanha; e Olívia Lorena Chaparroz, da Universidade Nacional da Colômbia.
 
A programação completa do Congresso podem ser vista no site. Outras informações também podem ser obtidas pelos telefones (44) 3011-5156, 3011-4494 e 3011-4318.


sábado, 19 de novembro de 2016

Consensus methods


 

How to use the nominal group and Delphi techniques


Abstract

Introduction The Nominal Group Technique (NGT) and Delphi Technique are consensus methods used in research that is directed at problem-solving, idea-generation, or determining priorities. While consensus methods are commonly used in health services literature, few studies in pharmacy practice use these methods. This paper provides an overview of the NGT and Delphi technique, including the steps involved and the types of research questions best suited to each method, with examples from the pharmacy literature. Methodology The NGT entails face-to-face discussion in small groups, and provides a prompt result for researchers. The classic NGT involves four key stages: silent generation, round robin, clarification and voting (ranking). Variations have occurred in relation to generating ideas, and how ‘consensus’ is obtained from participants. The Delphi technique uses a multistage self-completed questionnaire with individual feedback, to determine consensus from a larger group of ‘experts.’ Questionnaires have been mailed, or more recently, e-mailed to participants. When to use The NGT has been used to explore consumer and stakeholder views, while the Delphi technique is commonly used to develop guidelines with health professionals. Method choice is influenced by various factors, including the research question, the perception of consensus required, and associated practicalities such as time and geography. Limitations The NGT requires participants to personally attend a meeting. This may prove difficult to organise and geography may limit attendance. The Delphi technique can take weeks or months to conclude, especially if multiple rounds are required, and may be complex for lay people to complete.
Keywords: Consensus methods, Delphi technique, Nominal group technique
 

Teaching students how to learn



Saundra McGuire: Strategies to Teach Students How to Learn

 
 
ACUE - community.acue.org


As a chemistry professor and leading expert in learning strategies, Dr. Saundra McGuire has spent her career working to empower students to take control of their own learning. This week, Dr. McGuire will share her insights and lessons learned with educators who are attending the 23rd National HBCU Faculty Development Conference in New Orleans. In the days leading up to her presentation, Dr. McGuire spoke to ACUE about who inspired her research and scholarship interests, strategies that empower student learning, and her hopes for the future of student success in higher education.

Dr. McGuire is also a featured expert in ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices for Engaging Underprepared Students.

On what changed the trajectory of her research and scholarship.

 

video

 


Before I got to LSU, I really didn’t understand that there were strategies for students to use to increase the quality of their learning. I knew how to teach chemistry. I’d won teaching awards, and I was a very successful faculty member. But I didn’t know that you could give students very simple information and strategies that would empower them to take control of their own learning.

That changed within my first month at LSU when I saw the interaction that Sarah Baird, an outstanding learning strategist, had with one of her students. I saw her explaining straightforward changes to study habits that could transform the student’s entire approach to learning. That’s when I started reading everything I could get my hands on in order to find out exactly how any teacher could do this. I knew that if I understood that information, it would allow me to acquire the language and the deeper knowledge to empower my students to take control of their own learning.

On applying her research to help students.

The first student I helped become his own tutor was an LSU football player who was failing his math class. He came to talk with me and said that he was struggling to understand his tutor.
I said, “You don’t need a tutor. You can be your own tutor.” He replied, “Be my own tutor?” I asked him if he had tried to learn the information and then explain it to the tutor during their sessions. I also showed him how to use additional learning strategies, which I’ve recently compiled into a book, Teach Students How to Learn. The football player did everything I suggested, and he made an A on his next test.

It was that kind of thing that I never would have been able to do had I not seen Sarah Baird’s interaction with students. That sent me on the path to learn this information, which I’ve been teaching to students for the past 15 years or so.

On the teachers and mentors who inspired her own success.

There are a number of them, and I’m actually working on something that’s been on my bucket list for 20 years. It’s a banquet to honor the faculty members who were in the chemistry department at Southern University when I was an undergrad there from 1966 to 1970. It was a department that was unparalleled. Dr. Vandon White had compiled 17 African American PhDs in one department, and they were excellent mentors for us.

One of them was Dr. Jack Jefferson, who was an analytical chemistry professor. He was an outstanding teacher, and he also very much believed in us. It’s so important for faculty to express confidence in their students’ ability to learn and achieve. The research shows that the most important determinant of the amount of effort students put into a task is the confidence they have that they can be successful. And there are so many students—especially in STEM disciplines—who don’t feel like they can accomplish the work. But if faculty members tell them “I believe in your ability to do this. You can learn the material,” then the student can really hook into that confidence and do what is necessary to succeed.

On how instructors can get started in teaching students how to learn.

 

video

 

 

I would recommend that they look at the 50-minute presentation that I do for students. In my book, there are also presentation templates you can use for your specific class or for individual students.

To summarize, first, help your students identify the differences between what they have been doing and what they need to do to excel in the course.

I start with two questions. First, I ask them to explain the difference between studying and learning. Usually, students will say that studying is about memorizing information and learning is about being able to explain something and apply it in other ways.

Second, I ask “Would you work harder if you had to make an A on a test or if you had to teach the information to a group of your classmates who are preparing for the upcoming test?” They always say they’d work harder if they had to teach the material. When I ask them if, up to this point, they’ve been working to make an A or to teach the material, they say they’ve been studying to make an A.

And so we begin talking about learning strategies that will help them prepare to teach the material. That’s when the brain becomes aware of things they thought they understood but really didn’t.

 
On one change you would like to see in higher education that could make a big difference in student success.

The change that I would love to see is an institutional attitude that every admitted student can and will succeed with the learning tools they need and that institutions will provide them with those tools. Many institutions say they do this, but there are still a lot of majors with a very limited number of spots. They bring in more first-year students interested in that major than they have spots for because, they say, “Well, we know that not everybody is going to survive freshman year.” I would really love to see that change.

I do understand the attitude that there are certain students who aren’t smart enough to be successful. But that’s just not true, and I really wish that we could infuse every institution with the attitude that all of our students can be successful.