Equisetum spores/lab size

James W. Perry jperry at UWC.EDU
Tue Oct 28 12:08:20 EST 1997

Equisetum spores have a very short period of viability. My experience is
that it's in the order of weeks, if not days. I have never tried to collect
and grow spores from strobili at this time of year.

I seem to recall that Dean Whittier (Vanderbilt) has an article (American
Fern Journal? Am J. Bot?) on this very subject.

Re: Lab size, the question becomes "what's the ideal lab size"? I have had
both upper and lower level classes, for both major and non-majors with
anywhere between 6 and 24. 6 was an EM course, 24 for the most part intro
bio and botany courses, 18 junior/senior level courses. My personal feeling
is that beyond 24 is too many. Re: the entomology course, if materials are
not limiting, I don't think 20-24 would be too many. In fact, I enjoy the
stimulation that a class that size brings.

As I say this, I will also point out a comment from a recent report "Science
Teaching Reconsidered: A Handbook" (Nat'l Academy Press, Washington, DC,
1997): "Developing and teaching an effective laboratory requires as much
skill, creativity, and hard work as proposing and executing a first rate
research project." (p. 16). In my mind, this argues for keeping lab sizes
'reasonable' (whatever that is) and also for counting labs as equivalent to
lecture hours for workload purposes. As the only CEO/Campus Dean among 13 in
my 13 campus institution, this is a point I am forever defending (barely
winning), in light of dwindling fiscal resources.


James. W. Perry, CEO/Campus Dean
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road, P.O. Box 8002
Menasha, Wisconsin 54952-9002
Office: 414.832.2610
FAX: 414.832.2674
jperry at uwc.edu

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