USING the Supermarket Botany Article

Steve Hinkson sphinkson at
Thu Jul 8 19:36:44 EST 1999

Excellent Idea.  Good teaching method, gets to the errors, and leaves
out the "bashing".

Ross Koning wrote:

> As a professor in the CSU system, I was quite
> embarassed by the article that has been mentioned.
> Not only does it reflect badly on ABT but also on
> CSU when faculty at our sister campuses don't
> put their manuscripts out for peer review.
> However, several of the posts about this article
> have indicated that such published articles are
> useless to the teaching profession.  And, while I
> agree that errors make us have to do double-time
> to prevent them multiplying in school systems, there
> IS one use that can be made of this article...
> I recommend sending your college students to the
> library (or reprinting the article with permission)
> to read the article and then submit a list of errors
> of botanical fact that they find in the article.  I
> wouldn't tell them about the letters in later issues
> or the authors' reply to the letters.  This activity
> will get the students to read an article closely, and
> the errors are so obvious and aggregious, that even
> non-majors have a good chance of uncovering many of
> them on-their-own. It also reminds students that
> they shouldn't believe EVERYTHING they read in print.
> You could score the student papers on a numerical scale
> because of the multitude of the errors in the article.
> After allowing this to reinforce the RIGHT ideas, I
> would then point them on to the letters and responses
> published in ABT. Were all of the errors reported?
> Were the reported errors truly errata? You might even
> have the students evaluate the authors' reply.  Then,
> as the editor-in-chief of ABT is also the primary author
> of a MAJOR Botany textbook and is a plant physiologist,
> have the students compose a letter to him about his
> responsibility to ABT and to the science. Finally you
> can have students reflect on the whole situation and
> to figure out what is RIGHT about science when the
> letters are published openly in the same journal.
> I plan to do this in my botany class for majors this
> next spring.  We'll see how it works out.  My take on
> the editor is that he is too busy writing his book on
> Evolution to keep an eye on the day-to-day drudgery of
> finding qualified reviewers for botanical manuscripts
> in the journal. He obviously didn't read the "supermarket"
> manuscript himself...he is a bright guy and knows fruits
> and five-kingdoms (I use his book!), but IMHO he is
> spread too thinly. There is a lesson in that for me too.
> ross
> ________________________________________________________________
> Ross Koning                 | koning at
> Biology Department          |
> Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
> Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479
> ____________________________|___________________________________
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