In OEB 119: Deep Sea Biology, groups of students have to present and lead discussions on scientific papers throughout the semester. Before class each week, all students have to read an assigned scientific paper and post a summary paragraph and two questions to an online forum. A group of students has to prepare a short presentation about one part of the paper, so that each paper is presented by a different group of three to four students each week.
The class breaks up into two groups, each led by one TF. The group leading the discussion gives their presentation, using and resources or images that they have brought in, and then that group (with help from the TF) facilitates a discussion of the paper. Students are asked, either by the TF or the presenting students, specific questions about the paper to make sure they understand the key components. Students are asked to share any thoughts, critiques, or questions they have about the paper. Then, the class is invited to try to answer these questions.
After class, the presenting group has to write a one-page summary of their presentation experience. They are asked to describe what went well and what could have been done differently. The goal of this activity is to help students learn to read scientific papers and to help them gain experience leading discussions.
See below for a handout and PowerPoint instructions of this activity.