Saturday, December 27, 2008

Written materials prepared before one-on-one weekly meetings

Posted on Saturday Oct 13, 2007

I recently talked to a colleague, Dr. Nagiza Samatova, who kindly shared her experience in training students' writing, and inspired by her way of training, I have tried to install a similar mechanism in my research group. I suspect that it will solve some students' issues in delaying writing in the last minute and turning their research as a black/grey box to me. Below is adapted from my email sent to some students in my group who have already had some concrete research projects ongoing:

Before one-on-one student meetings, the advisor requires the student to bring formal technical writing on the things to be discussed: the written materials later will be turned into a part of a paper submission so it is not wasteful or just specific for being used in one-on-one meetings.

For example,

-- if you plan to discuss a new idea that you may have, write paragraphs describing it, which can be turned into the introduction section, example section, or approach overview section of your future paper.

-- if you plan to discuss about design and implementation of your approach, write paragraphs describing these designs or implementations, which can be turned into the approach and implementation sections of your future paper.

-- If you plan to discuss about your evaluation, write paragraphs describing your experiments (either experiment setup, design, subjects, or results), which can be turned into the experiment section of your future paper.

-- If you plan to discuss other related papers that you read, write paragraphs describing them and the differences of them with your own approach, which can be turned into the related work section of your future paper.

In any case, you shall prepare your writing and present it to me along the way of weekly one-on-one meetings rather than a big bang in the end immediately before the deadline. Doing so can allow me to (1) give you early feedback on your work and writing and to (2) keep track of your work since currently your work?s technical progress is more a black/grey box to me.

In addition, this mechanism would be also very helpful to yourself in keeping yourself in having the habit of writing things down more formally (when you try to write things down more formally, you can have a better idea and generate new good ideas).

I expect you to send me an email telling me the sections/paragraphs in LaTeX in your paper in a specific CVS paper directory ** not later than the same morning ** of an afternoon one-on-one meeting. I don?t accept informal writing being put in the body of an email message or any way other than the preceding specified way.

If you cannot prepare such writing before a one-on-one meeting, I would suggest you to cancel or postpone that week?s one-on-one meeting with me. If you cancel or postpone too many weeks? meetings, the implication of reflecting your work progress/performance is self-evident.

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