Lab Notebooks

A new wave of panic and annoyance has permeated through the lab directed at the mentors about lab notebooks and grading. A few students were caught off guard when their lab notebooks were graded while in lab. In actuality, I said the first day (and it is in the syllabus) that lab notebooks would be graded more frequently this semester. It should be signed by a mentor weekly. It is 10% of your grade and your responsibility to keep updated (we will check 4 times during the semester). As a reminder (directly from the syllabus):

"A part of your grade will be based on what you put in your lab journal. A well-kept, organized, continually-updated lab book is what you are aiming for. You are required to write EVERYTING pertaining to experiments down in the lab notebook. This includes planning, protocols and procedures, results and interpretation, data, commentary and extra lab activities (racking tips, cleaning). Keep your notebooks in lab unless you take it home for updates or planning so that I can check it regularly. We do not require duplicate numbered pages, but understand that the notebooks are property of the lab and you must leave them with us after each semester. It is your responsibility to make duplicates of protocols and data you wish to keep. We recommend buying notebooks from the ACS student group (outside WEL 2.216), or the COOP (my preferred notebook is the Blue Line Composition, 192pg Cat# 69775-46003 $5.75 from the COOP). Make notebook entries often, discussing your plans, data and community involvement as a means to defend your contributions, attendance and ideas."

I also uploaded a rubric onto blackboard for you to see how we will be grading. But have no fear, this first go around is to show you what you are doing wrong. Don't freak out. I've instructed the mentors/TA to grade particularly hard this time so you know EXACTLY what to do. As Nia points out:

"I feel that at times [students] are perceiving that some things are okay in the FRI lab, [yet these same things] would not be okay in medical / graduate / schools and lab. We are trying to prepare [students] for their future by teaching them how to effectively keep a lab notebook [and document experiments]. I say it because having been taught and reinforced positive lab skills through FRI has helped me".

So, we are checking notebooks when you are around in lab. Keep them updated. Follow the rubric on blackboard.

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