Discussions in this course are meant to probe your thinking about the content and deepen your understanding. As a learning community, it is my hope that everyone participates in creating a dynamic environment filled with evidence-based inquiry. You should build upon the ideas of others and those in the readings using your personal knowledge and experiences. You should also feel free to challenge the ideas of others (including me) and those in the readings, and raise questions or post new insights.
You are not required to quote from the readings or formally cite, but it should be evident from your posts that you have read the material. Discussions do not have to be lengthy, but must demonstrate that you are thinking critically about the issues in the course. You will be graded on the quality of your original response, as well as the quality of your interaction with peers, but not on the quantity of your posts.
You will complete your original post to a discussion item by Thursday of the assigned week; you may continue to post your peer responses to that item through Saturday.
Prior to beginning your readings in the course in Week 1 you will create a three-column chart that contains the following information:
K: What current knowledge do you have about how students learn, how teachers can optimize learning, and how theory and research inform what we do in classrooms?
W: What do you want to know about how students learn, how teachers can optimize learning, and how theory and research can be applied to what we do in classrooms?
L: This part will be left blank for now. At the end of the class you will fill in this column with what you have learned.
A template for this assignment is available in the Week 1 Content area. The length of this assignment is open-ended, but the more you put into it the more you will get out of this class! Full points are awarded upon submission of the assignment to the proper Dropbox.
Your text,Perspectives on Learning, contains many case studies that represent authentic classroom applications of theory and research. Two have been selected for formal assignments in the first two weeks of class. Some of the others serve as the foundation of discussion questions in later weeks; some are simply to help you make the connections between theory and practice.
Your two formal case studies each contain two sets of prompts, and each prompt is worth 10 points (for a total of 20 points per case study). A simple, holistic grading rubric will be utilized for each prompt. Case studies will be due at 11:59 pm CT Sunday of their respective weeks.
Choose a non-lifeworthy lesson you have taught in the past, or one from the Internet (cite appropriately). In MS Word, use the Track Changes feature to identify the changes you would make so that the lesson can meet the criteria for lifeworthiness. Use the Insert a Comment feature on the Review menu in Word to provide an explanation for the changes you are making. Then, provide one or two paragraphs reflecting on the process of adapting the lesson.
At a minimum, you should consider the following in your reflection:
(1) the ease/difficulty of adapting the lesson, and whether or not the resulting lesson would be feasible in terms of implementation
(2) how student learning in the lifeworthy lesson compares to student learning in the original lesson.
Other than addressing these two points, your reflection is Your Lesson Redesign is due at 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 3.
The culminating assignment for this course is to complete an investigation into an area of learning science. You will develop this project throughout the session as follows:
• Week 2: Brainstorm questions
• Week 3: Identify question and 3 references
• Week 4: Full reference list and one annotated reference
• Week 5: Two annotated references
• Week 6: Rough draft
• Week 8: Final project
You will begin by brainstorming questions about learning, the answers for which would be of high interest to you and have practice implications for educators. Some possible sources for questions include:
• your KWL Chart from Week 1
• readings from this or other courses
• personal experiences, instruction or assessment challenges
• school or district priorities; or
• discussions with colleagues
You’ll find that the more specific you are with your questions, the easier it will be to complete this project. After receiving feedback on your question brainstorm, you will select one question to pursue in the research literature. Because we are interested in the science of learning, you will be limited to using scholarly articles from peer-reviewed journals. In total you must review a minimum of 12 articles for this project, and at least 10 must be write-ups of an original research study. Other requirements of the project are provided below. Additional details and an example of a completed project is available in the Content area.
Inquiry Project Components
You will create the following for the final draft of this project (in correct APA format):
• Cover page
• Research synthesis
• A set of recommendations for educators
• Annotated reference list
Research Synthesis: Length: 5-8 pages, typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, Times New Roman 12-pt. (APA format)
Your synthesis should show that you understood the articles and can integrate/compare/contrast them, as well as relate them to material from the class. Use headings and subheadings to separate the main ideas, and include a brief introduction and conclusion. Note that there is a difference between summarizing research and synthesizing research, and you are expected to do the latter (see example).
Recommendations for Educators: Your project must include a set of recommendations based on the findings of your literature review that can inform educators and improve their practice. These can be recommendations contained within the literature (you must cite), or recommendations you derive from your readings of the literature. In other words, what are the practical applications of learning science related to your inquiry?
Annotated Reference List: The annotated bibliography must be placed in reference order, with the full citation (APA) provided for each article you reviewed. Follow the full citation with your summary and reflection, which should adhere to the following guidelines:
• The purpose of the study, research questions and/or hypotheses are presented using your own words
• The participants are clearly described
• Included is an explanation of what data was collected and how; this includes a description of instruments other materials used to collect data, and the timeframe of the data collection
• Findings or conclusions are clearly stated and parallel the research questions
• The author’s interpretations of findings (discussion) are briefly stated
• Limitations of the study are presented (author(s) and your own thoughts)
• A reflection on how the article fits into your research (i.e., helps to answer your research question) is provided
Project timeline: You will begin working on this project in Week 2 This way you can receive feedback along the way and make improvements before the final project is due