When I returned to blogging after 4 years, I had a small list of accomplishments/tasks that happened since 2015 I wanted to share. So here is the first in a series of (hopefully) short recaps of the past few years.

While my institution is mainly a teaching one, one is expected to do research and publish. Way back in 2015 I blogged about “number crunching.” That study, a retrospective study of an online course redesign was the beginning of a synergistic and fruitful collaboration with my colleague Dr. Rachel Simmons. It was published in the Journal of Research In Innovative Teaching, a semi-internal journal by my university. The peer review was surprisingly stringent, and it was a good exercise for what was yet to come.

Some time in 2015, the Dean of my school announced small internal grants for “teaching pairs” who wanted to try out novel teaching approaches. I teamed up with another colleague, Dr. Veronica Ardi, in “flipping” a majors general biology course. That project made it through the wringer of the ASM Biology Scholars Program, meaning it received plenty of amazing feedback, critiques, and recommendations while still happening (so there was time and room to improve it). The data were rich and very complex, but thanks to Rachel’s magical data fingers, they started to make sense.

Fast forward 2 years, and the results of that study were published in CBE Life Sciences Education. It was a long and winding road, with sections put in, removed, put again, and finally removed. And oh so many versions. It is known the grit and stubbornness required to be published…and we had it.

Now what I learned from that experience is…1) Collect your data considering the data format your numbers person is going to use. We started collecting data in a certain way, and with every iteration I had to copy/paste/transpose to make them the right format for the statistics program. It was painful, but it made me intimately connected to the raw data and soon I could spot errors right away, 2) Let sit the latest revision for several days before sending it away, so you get out of the tunnel vision stage, 3) Practice and perfect the art of being diplomatic in writing when people doubt your statistics or experimental design, and 4) Help the reviewers. And what I mean by that…make their job easier. Both to review the original paper and to read the revision. Not to mention minimizing noise such as typos and grammar issues, which can usually be done following #2 above.

So that is for today. I am trying to catch up before ONL191 gets full speed next week!