Research and Written Communication

Proficient with educational research methodologies and writing skills

 

A Research Proposal Based on Professional Practice

From the UBC course, ETEC 500 – Research Methodologies in Education (core)

Evolving Reflections

As often happens in life and learning, our views and opinions sometimes change as we acquire new knowledge. That is exactly what happened with my research proposal, as the two separate reflections (below) will illustrate.

Two Reflections: the most recent from 2015 and the original from 2014

My Most Recent Reflection 

(after receiving some new information)

Please note that, although it took time for the reflections to mature, the methodology contained in the proposal itself is valid. (Of all 10 courses in the MET Program, the highest final grade (97%) was in this one.)

This second, more recent, reflection is entirely the result of new knowledge that I have acquired while working on the MET course ETEC 520: Planning and Managing Technologies in Higher Education. As a result of now being aware of the reality that universities are usually dominated by a collegial culture in which it is a “given” that faculty needs for autonomy and research pursuits are to be respected–and, at all costs, protected–I have found myself needing to do some serious rethinking about my earlier position while preparing the research proposal. In other words, I now realize that the course redesign project that is considered in the proposal has most likely evolved in the best way possible, given the fact that my university is, like most others, currently undergoing a period of change that is seriously challenging its collegial culture.

Among many other factors, a combination of cost cutting measures, technological advancements, and student demand for quality education, has prompted this change and the institutional leaders who manage the university’s operation have recognized that a major shift towards Blended Learning (BL) could significantly lower costs in the long term. To design, redesign, and implement more BL courses requires the cooperation and collaboration of both managerial staff and instructional staff.  However, managerial staff culture is very different from the faculty’s collegial culture. In fact, according to higher education e-learning thought leaders , they are often very much at odds with each other.  Therefore, if the shift to BL courses is not handled with great care, such cooperation and collaboration between the two cultures may not be possible.

Now, in retrospect, I have a better understanding of why the decision makers for the proposal’s redesign project took the minimally interactive approach to BL  that they did.  Had they directed the redesign team to make the online portion of the course fully interactive immediately in its first iteration, they would have been ignoring the concerns–and collegial culture–of many faculty and probably increased their resistance to the use of educational technology and the entire BL initiative.  That is why, before submitting it to my university, I would need to seriously rethink and rework the entire proposal.

Because this ePortfolio is intended to document my learning and professional development, the first reflection that I originally composed several months ago, is posted below, inside the other toggle.

References

The Original Erroneous Reflection

Please Note: The following reflection was written before I had a clearer understanding of how collegial and managerial cultures co-exist in higher education and my views have since changed considerably. It is posted here solely as a means of tracking my professional growth and, as stated in Reflection #2, I now believe that the entire research proposal needs to be redeveloped according to my new understanding of how higher education institutions function.

This reflection is being posted more than 18 months after completing this assignment. It was not posted immediately because, when I took this course, I was less than half way through the UBC MET Program and had not yet completed enough scholarly work to feel confident about defending this paper, should it ever be necessary. However, now that I am literally just weeks away from receiving my Master’s with a solid A+ average–and continuing to enjoy respect from my UBC peers and UBC professors–the time has come to go ahead and confidently publish this work, knowing that it is thoroughly researched and well supported.

The proposal is based on a real-life situation at my current place of employment–and it accurately describes a series of events that may cause some discomfort for the decision makers who were responsible for those events.  But, more importantly, my research proposal also involves a much wider scope than just my immediate workplace and deals with an almost universal dilemma in higher education: how to implement instructional design changes that are pedagogically beneficial to students without being excessively problematic for effective and dedicated instructors. Please note that, although the proposal itself was very highly regarded by my UBC professor and UBC cohort collaborators, it was, for reasons that will be articulated in a future reflection, not possible to implement it at my current workplace. Regardless of that, I present my ideas here and now because they have relevancy and value that should be considered as we search for viable solutions to some increasingly complicated and challenging issues in higher education.

Tap/click to read the paper via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed.

Tap or click here to check out the references for the above artifact.

References

Tap/click to read the detailed assignment description and expectations

Research Proposal 35%

Developing a Research Proposal involves an iterative process of identifying a research problem, finding and selecting relevant and high-quality literature to gain an understanding of the scope and current thinking in a field of research, determining the best methods to apply to the research problem and planning the details of how to proceed with conducting a study. The process is not linear, but there are significant points within the process where decisions must be made upon the best information available to the researcher. In this assignment, you will engage in this iterative process, being cognizant of the opportunity to always review, revisit and refine your Research Problem in light of gaining insights along the way.

You will begin with an initial research problem or small set of research questions that will guide you to seek and select relevant literature to critically review. After you review the literature (a minimum of 8, a maximum of 10 high quality articles), you will select appropriate methods to apply to the research problem, and develop a plan that has as much detail as possible to carry out your study. You must articulate the rationale for your decisions and demonstrate that you have considered the most recent and best knowledge available to you. The following format will guide your work.

We strongly suggest that you begin thinking about your research problem during the first week of class. We will provide discussion forums for you to exchange and discuss your proposed topic and preliminary research questions with your colleagues for feedback. In Week 6, you will submit your provisional topic and a set of 3-5 research questions to the Assignment Dropbox for instructor approval (5%) so that you may proceed to the writing of the Research Proposal. This assignment should be no more than 1 page in length.

We strongly suggest that you also keep a personal log of your ideas as you proceed, these will be very valuable to you as insights continue to emerge in your thinking about this proposal.

Include all cited articles in APA formatting (Minimum of 8 and Maximum of 10). The total length should be no more than 4000 words excluding references.

SOURCE: ETEC 500 Syllabus – 2014

An Article Critique

From the UBC course, ETEC 500 – Research Methodologies in Education (core)

Reflection: Methodology Matters

This critique pertains to an article that is concerned with the high potential for culture clash that could occur when a population of predominantly White teachers is entrusted with the education of students who come from diverse non-White backgrounds. The article focuses on the second year of a five year project that involved the participation of twenty-eight preservice teachers—26 females, two males, and one participant of non-White heritage.

A pdf version of the critique is linked to the word cloud that was generated from the critique:

Tap or click to read the paper via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed)

Tap or click to read the detailed assignment description and expectations

Article Critique: Value 15%

  • Lenski, S.D., Crawford, K., Crumpler, T. & Stallworth, C. (2005). Preparing Preservice Teachers in a Diverse World, Action in Teacher Education , 27(3), pp. 3-12 Manassas, VA. (Find the article at the end of Chapter 16 of Gay, Mills and Airasian.)

Directions: Read the above article and prepare a 600 word (maximum length) critique. Your critique should include a brief synopsis of the article plus an analysis of the scholarly writing, understandable to someone who hasn’t read the article. Specifically, your critique should contain:

  1. a summary of the main question or argument dealt with in the article
  2. the approach or methodology taken by the writer or researcher
  3. the main points or conclusions
  4. your viewpoint, including any questions, or concerns you have about the article.

 

Methodological Critique

From the UBC course, ETEC 500 – Research Methodologies in Education (core)

Balanced Perspectives Can Result from Team Efforts

Personal Reflection

This paper – done in partnership with Caroline Kim Moore – analyzes two examples of quantitative and qualitative research. The quantitative study was primarily concerned with the possible effects that certain first grade classroom characteristics (specifically instructional and emotional support) might have on children who were considered to be at risk of academic and social difficulties in school.

The qualitative study was primarily concerned with 1) how new teachers’ thinking becomes more complex while they undergo challenging professional development and 2) how this might inform teacher training pedagogy. Working on this with Caroline was a huge benefit because her background in teaching math helped me to understand some ethical aspects of the quantitative study that I may not have understood otherwise.

The word cloud, based on the critique, is linked to a pdf version of it:

Tap or click to read the paper via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed)

 

 

Tap or click here to check out the references for the above artifact and reflection.

References

 

 

Tap or click to read the detailed assignment description and expectations

Methodological Critique: Value 25%

This critique will focus on the similarities and differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods. You will read the sample research studies provided at the end ofChapter One in your textbook. Prior to beginning this assignment, you may wish to carry out Tasks 1A and 1B in Chapter One of your textbook as preparation.

Your critique is divided into two parts.

Part 1: Descriptive Analysis and Critique

  1. Describe the methods used in each article and state why the authors selected the particular methods to study the stated research problem or questions.
  2. Discuss how the selected methods are the best methods for addressing these problems, and if so why. If not, why not.
  3. Describe the major differences between the Quantitative Example and the Qualitative Example in terms of the following dimensions:

Description of research problem

  • Selection and Assignment of Participants
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Procedures and Instruments
  • Reporting of Literature
  • Reporting of Conclusions

 

Part 2: Methodologies for Your Future Research
This part of the assignment asks you to look at what you have done in Part 1 and discuss how your analysis and critique may influence your perspectives on the kind of research you consider most relevant to your own interests.

  1. What does each of these studies tell you about how to design an educational research project? For example, what are the particular characteristics of quantitative design that you see as most important to articulate and consider.
  2. The space of educational research spans from purely quantitative to purely qualitative to mixed methods. Thinking of your own research interests, which of the methods are more or less appealing to you as a new educational researcher, and why.

NOTE: All writings in this course should adhere strictly to the APA style as outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (available in the bookstore and library). Abbreviated versions are available on the library website and on the APA website and at:http://www.library.ubc.ca/pubs/apastyle.pdf All sources used in writing should be cited and a complete bibliography provided (for single article critiques we realize your bibliography will be very brief). Papers should be submitted as attachments so they do not lose formatting. Be sure pages are numbered, and for longer assignments, use headings and subheadings (following APA guidelines) to provide a clear indication of your paper’s organization and flow.

Source: ETEC500 Syllabus – 2014

 

Analysis of a Vignette

From the UBC course, ETEC 532 – Technology in the Arts and Humanities Classroom

The Writing Process with Partners

The word cloud (below) is based on and attached to a pdf version of my analysis of “Vignette #2.” It was a very enjoyable assignment from my early MET experience: working together with well educated adults for the first time in my life was, at first, a bit intimidating, but it got easier as we all got to know one another personally.  Further reflection is embedded in the audio player below.

Tap or click to read the detailed assignment description and expectations

In Week 8 you will analyze one vignette each. Begin by reading all of the vignettes, watching the various videos, going to the suggested web sites and reading the additional readings. Indicate the vignette of your choice to your group. Please note: Each member of your group must choose a different vignette to analyze. The vignettes present various forms of teaching and learning and dilemmas with the use of educational technologies.

How do I teach/learn from creating a website?

The social studies teacher started incorporating technology in school as a part of an extra-curricular Web Club. The club was small and students learned together their first steps in web design. They worked on creating websites that would be used by students. With the success of the websites, there was financial support from the government as well as growing support of the administration. The next step was to incorporate web-design into the classroom.

The websites generated at the school have been used in several ways: 1) websites for individual teachers, who post course outlines, hand-outs and assessment rubrics. 2) websites that provide students with research resources and are integrated into the learning process. Examples of such websites, created by groups of students are: Commercial Drive and how it has changed over the years, geography of the Fraser River. And 3) website are used as a medium for connection with other students in other schools (in Europe).

Students and teachers involved in creating these websites learned research skills as well as elements of presentation. The focus has shifted from the content and product to the process of learning the material and finding the most appropriate ways to exhibit it. Now that these sites are functioning other students use them as instructional resources.

In a discussion around the use of technology in learning social studies, students indicated that they enjoy the use of technology, however, they don’t want technology to replace the teacher and real classroom discussions. They emphasized the importance of variety of strategies used in the classroom. They warned about the challenges of using particular programs (statistics in geography in particular) without technical support. They also pointed to challenges of access and lack of computers at home as well as limited access in school. They worry that if the teacher uses technology as a way of having students access resources and analyze them, the teacher many not “cover the material from the textbook” and they will have to tackle that by themselves as they study for their final exams. The students discussed the links between using technology and working in small groups in collaboration with other students. They mentioned their frequent use of chat rooms to share information and help each other with homework.

The questions that still remain lingering are how to integrate the use of computers into the classroom particularly when there are only five computers in every class; how to involve students in using the resources on the web in meaningful ways; how to provide students with the technical as well as the critical skills needed in order to use the technology thoughtfully; how to overcome questions of access; how to invite parents to explore the websites and become more active partners in the students’ learning; how can the teacher negotiate the gaps in students’ experiences and expertise in using technology; what are the necessary shifts in assessment that will follow a more integrative approach to technology?

Source: ETEC532 Syllabus – 2013

Tap or click to read the paper via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed)

Tap or click here to check out the references for the above artifact and reflection.

References