Total time: 1 hour (30 minutes each for Parts A and B)
• Provide a means for trainees to evaluate and interpret what they are learning from their ponds to assist them in making management decisions;
• Provide practice writing professional technical reports;
• Provide means for evaluation of trainees' comprehension, ability to apply learned material and ability to interpret information they get from pond work;
• Provide documentation of trainees' pond activities.
Overview: Once their ponds have been stocked and they have begun management of their ponds, trainees are required to submit weekly reports that inform the staff of the activities being carried out at their ponds, observations they have made, data they have collected, and their interpretations of that data. This set of meetings provides trainees with information about what is expected and required in the weekly reports, and establishes a format that will be used throughout the program for all weekly reports (except the final report).
Note: Please note that this is a two part session, and is actually two separate sessions in that the parts take place on different days.
1. This meeting takes place after all ponds have been stocked. The trainer announces that trainees will be required to submit a technical pond report each Monday morning which will provide the training staff with a summary of their pond activities for the previous week. The trainer makes the following points clear:
• The report should be a formal presentation of all activities, important observations, data collected and interpretation of that data;
• The report exclusively concerns their own ponds, it is not a report of all training activities;
• These are to be formal, professional reports, being written for and submitted to the training staff (not for a theoretical or imaginary audience);
• Reports should be clear, concise but complete, well organized, informative, and neat. In short, the reports should be of professional quality. Professional presentation includes such considerations as writing in pen (pencil only used for graphs, charts or diagrams), correct spelling, minimal erasures (either complete erasure or use Whiteout), pages numbered, etc.
2. The trainer asks the trainees to contribute some ideas about what information should be covered in the first pond report, and records these on the blackboard as they are called out. Trainees' responses should include, at minimum: pond number, pond location, pond description (including dimensions and volume), pond condition upon being assigned to the trainee, pond preparation activities, volume of water added, date stocked, species stocked (if known at this point), number of fish stocked, individual and total weights of fish stocked, equipment used, accounting or bookkeeping information, and other activities or information collected up to this point. For example, any information related to water quality, feeding or fertilization that the trainee has done. (These latter topics will definitely be relevant in future pond reports, but not all trainees will have begun these activities in time for the first report).
3. At this time, the trainer does not designate a specific format. If trainees ask, he/she tells them that the format will be set after the first report has been done. This will give them a chance to get a feel for what kind of information goes into the report and to experiment with their own ideas for a format. After the first report has been submitted, a standard format will be established based on some of their ideas.
1. The trainee who was selected (see Trainer Notes) to design the standard report format presents the format to the group. He/she may request input from the group, but discussion should be limited, and this trainee will take the leadership role in making final decisions. (There is usually some arguing, so some control must be exercised in order to settle this matter in a reasonable amount of time). The trainee invites questions to ensure that everyone is clear on the format that has been decided upon.
2. After the trainee has finished, the trainer checks again with the group to make sure everyone is clear on what has been covered. He/she acknowledges that there are many options for a suitable format. The one the trainee has presented was accepted as being appropriate for this situation and for the intended audience (the staff). The trainer reminds the group about the importance of professional presentation, completeness, clarity and conciseness, and organization. The trainer then informs the trainees of the following guidelines and procedures:
• Reports are due each Monday morning upon arrival at the training site. A box marked "Reports and Assignments" will be placed in the classroom or other designated common area, and trainees are to place the reports in that box. The trainer will collect them from the box;
• Trainees will be informed of which trainer reads and evaluates their reports (each trainer is assigned certain trainees' reports and works with those same trainees' reports throughout the program);
• The reports will become the property of the training staff, to be kept on file in the office. However, trainees will have an opportunity to look at their reports after they have been read in order to see the remarks made by the trainer. Thus, each Thursday afternoon, the reports will be returned on loan. Those reports are to be turned back in with the following report the next Monday morning to be put in the staff files. If the report is not acceptable (due to not meeting any of the established criteria), it will be noted in the trainer's remarks. In this case, the trainee will be required to redo that report (or specified sections, as noted by the trainer). The redo will be due the following Monday along with the original report and the next weekly report. All reports will be returned to the trainees at the end of the program.
Resources and Materials:
• Blackboard, chalk, eraser;
• Newsprint, markers and tape for the use of the trainee facilitator (to make visual aids for presentation of the format);
• Cardboard or wooden box, or other suitable container, for trainees to put their reports in.
• The trainer who is in charge of reports (based on assigned supplemental duties) facilitates these meetings. He/she makes all final decisions regarding reports (in conjunction with the master trainer) - this applies to both trainees and staff. He/she will inform the staff of the criteria and of the format that was decided upon by the trainees, as well as any other information that will help insure consistency and good organization on the part of the staff;
• This trainer goes through all of the first week's reports and selects a trainee whose report was well written, in the format that the trainer feels will work best for a standard. He/she notifies the trainee, and asks him/her to prepare a presentation of the report format to give to the group. The trainer can discuss particular minor changes, additions or other points that will help finetune the trainee's format to make it completely acceptable to the trainer;
• The report should at least include the following, with specific format and organization to be decided upon by the trainees:
• Title Page: title, name, dates covered, date submitted, pond number;
• Table of Contents: with page numbers;
• Introduction: pond number, purpose of report and of project, stocking data and information;
• Relevant sections addressing various categories of management, including:
Sampling and Growth;
• Methods: can be included within each section;
• Materials: can be included within each section if appropriate, but must be listed in Accounting section as part of costs;
• Data: both raw data and data that has been synthesized into a form to facilitate interpretation (graphs, charts, etc.). Trainees (or trainer in charge) can specify whether data is to be reported within the relevant sections or as appendices;
• Results and Interpretation: can be subsections within each section, or can be a main section with the above management categories as subsections;
• Optional Sections: additional categories to be included as appropriate, such as reproduction, disease, mortality, fish behavior that does not fit in elsewhere, partial harvests, etc.;
• Accounting: itemized list of equipment used, all costs and expenditures, all income. Should include a running total of expenditures to date;
• Conclusions/Discussion: general comments, problems, goals or plans for following week.
• After the first weekly report, once the standard format has been set, the trainer in charge should inform the other staff members of exactly what format has been established. He/she should divide trainees among trainers so that each trainer always works with the reports of the same trainees. This improves consistency and allows for trainers to track progress and improvements. All reports should, however, pass through the hands of the trainer in charge when turned in (in order to account for all reports turned in) and for distribution back to the trainees. The trainer in charge should check through the trainers' comments to be sure all staff members are being consistent in the type of feedback they are providing and in their own interpretation of the standards and criteria that have been set;
• If the staff feels it would be helpful, the trainer in charge of reports can develop a checklist to help trainers review the reports. This checklist should be as detailed as possible.