REU Schedule of Learning Activities


Wk 1/Monday: Students will be introduced to the program as a whole, to the elements of a research project, and to project planning.  They will be introduced to their mentors and projects.  They will be taught the importance of keeping a detailed laboratory notebook and provided with tips on how to do so.  They will be asked to complete a pre-program questionnaire relating to attitudes toward research and understanding of related concepts.

Wk 1/Wednesday: Each student will summarize his/her own research project, as they understand it, to the other students.  They will also relate the specifics of the project to the elements learned in the Monday session.

Wk 2/Monday:  Students will be taught how to keep accurate records for report writing and proof of “ownership” for intellectual property.  They will be given a list of information that should go into a laboratory notebook (download doc).  They will be asked to have their mentor fill out a project description (download doc) for them.  They will then be taught how to plan a research schedule, including a week-by-week plan (download doc) and a one-week plan (download doc).

Wk 2/Wednesday: Students will be asked to critique one another’s notebooks in terms of what has been left out, and what could be more completely stated.  Students will also be asked to provide the broader context of their research project, including a brief history of the laboratory in which they are working and how their project relates to those of other students in that laboratory.  In preparation for the following week’s topic of library research, students will be asked to write down 20 questions that they need to answer relating to their work.

Wk 3/Monday: Students will be introduced to local resources for library research (download doc) and to strategies for finding important information, including journal searches and patent searches.

Wk 3/Wednesday: Students will first be asked to critique one another’s 20 questions.  Students will perform on-line research in which they identify resources that are likely to provide them with the answers to their 20 questions.  They will also be asked to identify resources that do not necessarily relate to those specific questions but may be important to their work.

Wk 4/Monday: Students will be introduced to the elements of professional report writing, including format for a research proposal (download doc),  format of a professional report (download doc), writing tips (download doc) (download Powerpoint presentation), patent structure, and word processing software.   They will be provided with a complicated document (download doc), along with the elements of that document (download instructions, download document text, download Excel file), and asked to duplicate it with the word processing software.  They will also be provided a checklist (download doc) that can be used to check for common errors in their writing.

Wk 4/Wednesday: Group discussion of writing issues.   Students will be given an example of a “Notice of Invention” and asked to generate one based on their project.  Students will supply samples of their own writing to be critiqued by one another.  Students will be provided the web site for the US patent office and asked to find patents related to their work.  They will be asked to provide an outline of their final project report by the following Monday.

Wk 5/Monday: Students will be introduced to the features that make up a good research question and provided examples which will be discussed in terms of these features.  Students will be introduced to the elements of a successful business plan.

Wk 5/Wednesday: Students will be asked to evaluate the project they are working on based on these features and then asked to devise a research question of their own.  These questions will be critiqued by the students.  Students will be asked to outline a business plan based on the project that they are working on.

Wk 6/Monday: Dr. Andrew Marino will lecture on Medical Ethics, and Dr. William Jordan will lecture engineering ethics.

Wk 6/Wednesday: Students will discuss the next phase of each research project and the potential for commercialism.  They will be asked to outline the next logical phase of their research project, based on anticipated results to be achieved at the end of the 10 week REU.  Students will hold a discussion on ethical issues related to their research.

Wk 7/Monday: Students will be introduced to research presentations and the effective use of Powerpoint software.  This will include both the specifics of how to use the software and the importance of the use of photographs, graphs and sketches.  An example presentation will be used to illustrate basic techniques. They will also be taught how to focus their presentations with a succinct point so that the audience receives a clear message from the presentation.

Wk 7/Wednesday: Students will be shown how to use animations in the Powerpoint software, including tricks and hints for animation (download doc), and shown how these can be used in specific presentations (Example Slide.ppt, Presentation BZ.ppt).  Students will apply these techniques to animating a presentation on the Scientific Method.  Students will be asked to prepare and present a brief (5 minute) Powerpoint presentation related to their projects, following the specified Presentation Format (download doc).  Students will be asked to turn in a critique of one of these presentations.  More information will be provided on the use of Powerpoint.  The following exercise files will be use:

Wk 8/Monday: Students will be introduced to data presentation and the Excel software.  They will be taught to use the spreadsheet package for basic data manipulation and to use the graphic capabilities of the software to generate plots that are suitable for publication (download doc).  Students will download an Excel data file, generate a default plot and then modify it to look professional.

Wk 8/Wednesday: Students will be provided exercises in the spreadsheet software, including data manipulation and the conversion of a raw (default format) plot to a professional quality plot.  Students will identify the manipulation that must be preformed on the data they collect, and the specific plots that they will provide in their final reports.  They will discuss these matters among themselves and critique one another’s presentation concept.

Wk 9/Monday: Students will be introduced to the elements of statistical analysis (download doc), including hypothesis testing.

Wk 9/Wednesday:  Students will be asked to identify the central hypothesis of their work and the appropriate statistical testing for this hypothesis.  They will be given additional exercises in statistical analysis in MS Excel.

Wk 10/Monday: Students will be introduced to basic concepts of product liability.
Wk 10/Wednesday: Students will submit a final report and proposal for further research and discuss the next phase of each project.  Students will critique one another on the feasibility and importance of the next phase.  Students will fill out a written exit interview to provide feedback regarding the REU program.

Wk 10/Friday: Students will present their research findings at the IfM projects day.  Research awards will be presented at an honors dinner that evening to which all REU undergraduates, graduate mentors, and co-investigators will be invited.


Louisiana Tech University

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Steven A. Jones