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1. Pre-Institute Assignments

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Homework Assignment #1: Introduce yourself to the Transitions listserv
Due: Monday, May 12th

Email address:
Subject heading: “Your Name - Introduction.” 

Please answer these questions:

1) Describe your teaching responsibilities and the type of student you teach. If you do not teach, describe your professional responsibilities.

2) Describe what you would like to take home as a result of attending the Transitions Institute.

3) Tell us about your interests outside of the classroom and a book that you have read recently.


Homework Assignment #2: Annotated Bibliography - 10 references that relate directly to your study
Due: Friday, June 6 

1.   Find published resources relevant to your biology education study
2.   Evaluate the value or usefulness of a resource
3.   Explain how your study fits into the larger body of knowledge about teaching and learning

Your assignment:
1.   Find ten (10) references that are directly related to your project. Although you may have your own strategies, Google Scholar is a very useful tool for finding peer-reviewed literature ( Do your best to find 1-3 references that relate to each of the following aspects of your manuscript: rationale or motivation for the study, design of the study, methods for data collection and analysis, and interpretation of the results. Although it is appropriate to include policy documents as references (e.g., reports from the National Research Council), 8 of the 10 references should be peer-reviewed, primary literature.
2.   Format your references in APA style. You can find information about APA style here:
3.   Annotate your ten references by explaining how each is useful for your project (see below for more information how to write an annotated bibliography).
4.   Create a new “Bibliography” tab under your individual main page as follows:

  • Go to the Wiki ( and click the orange log-in button. Use the first letter of your first name and your full last name (e.g., John Smith would be jsmith) for both your Username and Password.
  • Use the left-hand navigation bar to find the "2014 Transitions Cohort" page, then click on your name.
    Note: You may see another page called “My Page” at the top of your wiki screen. This “My Page” is NOT visible to anyone but you and SHOULD NOT be used for these assignments.
  • Feel free to personalize the page by clicking “Edit Page” in the orange bar at the top, and adding a bit about yourself and/or a picture. Be sure to hit “Save” when you are done.
  •  Then, in the orange control bar at the top of the page, click “Add Page” and label it “Bibliography.” The "Bibliography" page should now appear UNDER your Scholar page. Upload your bibliography by either pasting it to the page or attaching it as a document. Be sure to click the “Save” button at the top when you are done.


**Having trouble? See our Wiki Guide.

What is an annotated bibliography and how do you write one?
An annotated bibliography adds to the traditional list of citations a paragraph that provides both a description of the research, a critical evaluation of the quality of the content, and the relevance of the citation to your work. These annotations are typically ~150 words. There are many on-line sites that describe annotated bibliographies and how to create them, such as this site at the University of Toronto ( 


Homework Assignment #3:  Draft of Your Manuscript 
Due: Monday, July 7

Your third assignment is to draft and submit a “work in progress” manuscript. The study you described in your application to the Transitions Residency must be the focus of the manuscript. In addition to drafting your manuscript, please draft a cover letter that indicates the journal to which you plan to submit your manuscript, including the journal’s criteria for review / instructions to authors. Most importantly, identify the problem areas of your manuscript - what areas need improvement in order for you to submit? We will use these manuscripts to provide each other feedback according to the target journal’s review criteria in the fourth and final pre-institute assignment.

Manuscript guidelines
To give everyone time to read and review manuscripts prior to the institute, we ask that you submit your draft manuscript and cover letter no later than Monday, July 7th. We encourage you to follow the manuscript formatting guidelines in your target journal, including standard headings of articles in that journal (e.g., Introduction, Methods, Results Discussion, et al.). The following aspects of your study should be articulated at some point in your manuscript:

1.    Problem, question, or hypothesis that was the focus of your study
2.    Key research or policy that motivates and situates your study (here is one place to make use of your annotated bibliography!)
3.    Research design and methods
4.    Results, including evidence to support each claim you make
5.    Discussion of your findings and claims, including how they relate to the existing body of knowledge
6.    Implications for teaching, learning, and future research 
7.    References in target journal format (again, be sure to use your annotated bibliography)

Manuscripts should be 7-10 pages in length, single-spaced, Times New Roman size 12 font, and include citations of references and a header with page numbers plus “[Your last name] – BSP Transitions Assignment 3.”

Cover letter guidelines
In your cover letter, please articulate the particular journal where you plan to submit your manuscript, that journal’s criteria for review, and identify the problem areas of your manuscript.

As you know, journals vary widely in the level of detail regarding criteria for review. Some may include this information in a structured rubric, others may offer more general instructions to authors regarding nature and focus of manuscripts. Although you should not feel limited to these, we have posted information (as attachments, below) from three journals as examples: Advances in Physiology Education, CBE – Life Sciences Education, and Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education.

Submission guidelines:

Please send your completed assignment, including the manuscript and cover letter, as an attachment to using the subject line “[Your name] - Transitions Manuscript.” Do not submit the manuscript through the listserv.

Homework Assignment #4:  Peer-Review
Due: On-Site

On July 11th, you will receive a manuscript and cover letter from your fellow Scholar. You will be asked to review the manuscript according to the criteria of the target journal, identify the statement that defines the project objectives in the manuscript, and comment on how the results align with those objectives and support it. Be ready to share your feedback onsite, July 23rd.

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Files 3

FileSizeDateAttached by 
 CBE_Reviewer Guidelines.pdf
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94.96 kB12:19, 21 May 2014ksherwoodActions
 JMBE Research Section Rubric_5.1.14.pdf
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101.81 kB12:19, 21 May 2014ksherwoodActions
 Reviewer Guidelines for Advances in Physiological Education.pdf
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3.97 kB12:19, 21 May 2014ksherwoodActions
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