I am a teaching assistant in an undergraduate bioinformatics course. A few weeks ago the students in the course handed in the final assignment (which is worth 80% of the final grade), which we (me and the other members of the course staff) are currently in the process of grading.

The lecturer in charge of the course wants to give the students only their final grades for this assignment without any feedback on why points were taken off.
Her justification for this is that she do not want students to pass the feedback to the next class that will take this course and thus avoid copying of answers.
While she did not say so explicitly, my impression from some things she did say is that by avoiding a more detailed feedback she hopes to discourage student from appealing their grades. My university’s regulations state that a student can appeal any grade, but in the appeal form the student must specify exactly which question/part of the assignment they appeal and why do they think that points were taken off unfairly, so no feedback – no appeal and thus no extra work for the course staff.

I am rather uncomfortable with this attitude for several reasons:

  1. From a didactic point of view I think that merely giving a student their final grade without any indication what was his/her errors is wrong is it does not allow them to improve.

  2. Not giving feedback will not prevent students from passing their work to the next class. It will just mean that the errors of student from this class will propagate to the next class.

On the other hand, I am uncomfortable from insisting on this issue from several reasons:

  1. This is my first year as a TA, whereas the lecturer has been giving this course for many years, so it is possible that her judgement is better then mine, even though it seems wrong to me.

  2. It is unlikely that I will teach this course again (I intend to graduate and move to another university later this year). Thus, even if I do manage to persuade the lecturer to give a more detailed feedback, I will not be around to face the consequences she is afraid of whereas she will, so insisting on this may be a bit unfair to her.

  3. The other TAs in the course do not seem to share my opinion (they did not voice any strong opinion of this matter).

  4. I do not want to start a confrontation with the lecturer, as I might need a reference from her in the future.

There is still a window of a few weeks until we are supposed to give the grades, so theoretically I can reopen this discussion.

So basically I have two questions
1. Given all of the above, should I attempt to persuade the lecturer to allow a more detailed feedback?
2. If I should, How can I persuade her.

Any comments will be mostly appreciated.

I’m applying for PhD programmes over in the UK and begun to get my first invitations for interviews. Some of them have to be in person as they include a tour of the facilities and such. Unfortunately, travel over here is not cheap and it got me wondering – is it customary for the interviewing institution to reimburse the cost of my travel?

On one hand the invitation emails do not mention anything about the cost of travel but on the other hand I got reimbursed even for travelling to my undergraduate interviews.

Are there some reasons to include them besides a historical tradion? Let’s assume that it’s not a requirement by the publisher.

There are some answers (such as this) which claim that keywords basically do not matter. However, I wonder if there are some empirical results or conflicting opinions on this. Perhaps they help with search engines?

My field is computer science, publishing mostly in IEEE conferences. Feel free to share experiences from other fields.

I am going to finish my Masters degree in EE at a German university soon.
My problem is that I want to work in the CS (AI and ML) branch, but did not have many lectures in that field so I don’t know anything about all possible topics there, like NLP, ASP, Big Data, … .
I only had 6 months internship experience in a big company working with CNNs and 2 rough lectures.

Because I want to do a PhD afterwards, would you recommend doing another Masters degree, maybe especially in mathmatics, statistics (focused on ML) or ML itself or is it better to do some more internships to increase knowledge and qualification or instantly jump into a PhD?

I’m at a conference and I really enjoyed a plenary lecture by a speaker.
His work resonated with some of the stuff I have been working on myself.

I have a Journal Club presentation coming up soon in my lab and I’m planning to present a few of his recent papers along with other perspectives in the field. Would it be ok to ask for a selfie at the conference dinner to put in the presentation?

In general, is it acceptable to ask scientists for selfies? I doubt that it matters, but the field in question is protein chemistry.

Suppose I have devised a way to cheat at cards, exams or any other situation in which secret communication with other people or machines provides unfair advantage. The method is novel and uses original technology and algorithms such that I think they might be worthy of a scientific publication.

The method is not a mathematical trick to solve a game while sticking to the rules, in which case I would see no ethical issue with publishing it. Think more of a method to remotely stream answers of a test directly into the retina without anyone else noticing.

I wonder if it would be unethical to publish this method in an academic journal. I personally feel strongly against cheating at exams, a little less strongly about cheating at cards but still, I wouldn’t like to be making cheaters’ life easier.

In their book “Beat the Market” Thorp and Kassouf write about why they published their method to edge their stock market investments. While the situation is different since using maths to make money is neither illegal nor unethical, some of their arguments might hold in my case.

In short, they say that they chose to publish their trick because other people will figure it out eventually, so:

Any other things I should be considering?

Let’s ignore the legal aspects of that process since they are boring and off topic.

I’m taking an online class which states that APA style must be used for all assignments. The first assignment is to answer a list of questions after reading a chapter in the textbook. All of the questions are about the reader’s experiences and opinions, in the following style:

  1. How does Stack Exchange help you on a daily basis?
  2. What is your favorite thing about the Stack Exchange interface?
  3. How do you contribute to Stack Exchange?

Obviously those questions are made up, but the actual questions are equally simple. Anyone reading this could easily answer the questions. They all contain the word “you,” and do not require any external references to answer. There are less than ten questions.

I did not even consider trying to answer these questions in an APA format, because I unconsciously decided that APA format was not the right way to answer a list of questions. I merely typed the questions and my responses, and submitted the result. I received a grade of 50% for not following APA format, and was directed to resubmit my work in the proper format for re-grading.

Everything I know about APA format is designed for a research paper, which is not what this assignment is at all. I have no references to cite, because all the questions are about opinions derived from direct experience. A title page and an introduction to a list of answers doesn’t make any sense to me. I clearly need to email the instructor about this, but I want to know if this is a reasonable use of APA before I do so.

I did find a few references online to an APA question-and-answer format, which suggest that the answer is what I submitted (i.e., a simple list of questions and answers) but with APA margin, font, and spacing guidelines followed- which I didn’t do, so that could be the entire issue. Those references were only FAQ-type answers, though, rather than a specific guideline about lists. I plan on emailing the instructor to make sure I understand what changes are desired, but I want to know how common it is to ask students to use this style for simple homework questions in the first place, and what the expected submission usually consists of (i.e., is a title page expected, etc.).