It was a pleasure for me this week to share some research in my field of music education. In discussing how philosophy in music education research has changed from a qualitative to a quantitative approach, it was encouraging to see how other fields such as sociology (as Jason stated), has also dealt with this shift in approach. Arts-based research as added a third approach to researching in our field and after our discussion on other practical applications of this research philosophy, I plan on learning more about the techniques applied and how I might be able to combine this approach with a qualitative or quantitative method.
Ted’s discussion on using “podcast” type technology to critique and pass on comments to students on their work has really had me rethinking how I respond back to my students. As we realized through our discussion, it will still take just as much time, or even more, to comment on student papers in the electronic manner. We want to give our students the best possible feedback that we can, electronic commenting can add a personal touch to the dissemination of comments, but is it the most effective in large classes… this I am not too sure of yet. Will students respond to this type of commenting/assessment procedure, or would they prefer the traditional writing out of comments by teachers? Does this technique work better in some educational settings then in others? These are questions that I am still pondering after our class discussion of last week. I know for me that I prefer seeing written comments right next to a specific topic in my paper (it is easily accessed), I feel that if I had to listen to a recording and then keep finding the corresponding spot in my paper I would be less inclined to keep listening over and over as I am making adjustments. This is not to say I am writing off this technique completely, I just need some time to decide if it is the right course of action when grading my student’s papers.
This week’s reading about e-portfolios was very interesting. I plan on designing an e-portfolio for one of my courses this fall, so this week’s class should help me with that. I had never really taken the time to situate the development of portfolios within historical context. When this is laid out, as it was in the readings, you begin to notice that this is not a new idea just a new way of using an older idea. I have constructed a paper teaching portfolio in the past (which I don’t update nearly enough) however, it would make sense to move it online at this point. Beyond the paper/electronic difference, e-portfolios have a course focus instead of a teacher focus.
By constructing these course portfolios we can attempt to monitor HOW and IF students are really learning. Exactly where did they or did they not “get it”. This design also allows us to step back and view our courses as a whole. Instead of thinking in terms of specific classes, activities, or exams, we can take a more holistic approach to see if our course “fits” together to meet the most important learning objectives.
The portfolio allows us to asses not just rather or not students are meeting predetermined desired outcomes, but how and why they are meeting them, within the context of our own classroom. This allows us to measure the more “messy” process of learning which applies to our specific classroom (and may or may not generalize to others). Portfolios also allow professor to reflect on there course designs weaknesses and strengths, beyond more traditional student outcome assessment techniques. In other words, course portfolios allow us to move beyond a simple “snapshot” at the end of the semester.
Here are some more details about the final proposal assignment. If you have questions, post a comment.
Audience and purpose
Obviously, I’m one audience member. I’m looking to see that the proposal demonstrates you have a good sense of the idea of the scholarship of teaching and learning and general and how it translates into practice in your own area of specialization. I want to see proposals that are thoughtful about each of the areas specified below, e.g. theoretical grounding and dissemination. However, I think it’s worth considering other possible audiences for your proposal. I hope that you’ll consider writing about a project you might actually like to complete in some form, at some point. If you do, you’ll likely need to persuade someone (or some set of people) it’s worth doing and the way you propose to do it is promising. It may be there you’ll need to convince someone to give you funding to make your scholarship possible or to provide you with access to a population your wish to research. It may also be you’ll need to convince someone it should count for some academic or professional requirement. Depending on who you imagine as these additional audiences–bosses, principles, disciplinary association officers, dissertation advisors, etc.–your approach is likely going to need to be a bit different.
Here are a set of general categories to include in your proposal. Some, like objectives and budget, would be more important in a funding proposal than, say, a dissertation proposal. Others, like theoretical background, vice versa. There is no set length. It should be as long as it needs to be to do what you need to do in each section. That being said, I’d guess it would take something in the range of 15 pp. on average to accomplish that.
Problem statement: What’s the problem you wish to investigate? What evidence do you have that it is genuinely a problem? Why is it important, and to whom? Make sure to show how student learning will be improved by solving this problem and explain why it calls for the scholarship of teaching and learning, as opposed to some more traditional orientation to educational research.
Objectives: What are some specific, measurable outcomes of your project that will show whether or not it was successful? How you you evaluate the success of the project?
Theoretical grounding: What broader philosophical or scientific understanding of learning underlies your question and your approach to inquiring into it? How does the theory help clarify and deepen your understanding of the problem? What gaps in the theory can investigating the question help to bridge? How can you project help further develop the theory?
Literature review: What other scholarship of teaching and learning has been done that relates to the problem, both within your area of specialization and more broadly? What other educational research sheds light on the issues at hand? What are the limitations of this body of knowledge you hope to address through your project? What does your project add to the literature in the field?
Methodology: What methodology and methods will you use to investigate the problem? What kinds of data will you collect, and how will they be analyzed? Why is this approach appropriate to the nature of the problem? How will you ensure your subjects informed consent? In what ways might learners be involved as co-researchers as well as informants?
Dissemination: How will the results of the project be made public? Who are the audiences for them, through what venues will you addresses these audiences, and what forms will that communication take? (e.g. Will you publish articles in disciplinary journals? Hold workshops as SoTL conferences? Build a course portfolio?)
Timeline: Over what period of time will the project be completed? What are specific milestones along the way? If multiple people will be involved in the research, who does what, when?
Budget: What resources will be necessary to complete the project?
Teddy’s CTCH604 Reflection 04.17.2010
For class session 04.13.2010
This week’s discussion started with Carrie Anne’s article on Music Education. It is amazing how there can be so many different approaches to SoTL work. As we could see the decisions to use quantitative verses qualitative research methodologies is still a toss-up! Regardless of the discipline, these two approaches seem to be involved in the basic make-up of any inquiry. The discussion presented to us a third option of research-based inquiry that is known as “arts-based research.” According to the author it is self-reflective through the emergence of the immediate evidence produced through performance oriented attributes. For many years now, I have heard discussions among music scholars and those outside of the field as to whether or not if this type of research is valid. Some agree that it is valid as a result of “discovery methodologies” related to music theory. Personally, I too believe this is conclusive and relative to the mission of SoTL work as defined by the Carnegie Foundation.
Our second discussion was on my article that promotes the use of podcasting to provide timely and useful feedback from tutors to their learners. One of the main problems with this form of extended classroom communication is the time professors would need to read, grade and comment for each student and assignments. Even though the time is reduced significantly in comparison to traditional methods it is still a huge job! I really love the idea that was suggested in class of simply having the teacher to teach and an additional service or services outside of the institution to provide grading and feedback. This seems more proficient and efficient for all involved in the teaching and learning process. Any method that will increase our ability to reflect for longer periods of time on assignments, increase our learning capacity and help us in practicum to better prepare our future work is surely worth a grand investment.
Finally, I think all discussions converged as we began to stretch our thinking group-wise concerning the music education research, veterans entering college and podcasting feedback issues. Varied views around the table were out-of- the-box and constantly enthralled us. This ecology of philosophically enhanced hypotheses was grounded to current knowledge and inspired by our passions for own disciplines or fields of study. I truly found myself engaged and challenged to listen, learn and explore the input of my colleagues as we all raised the bar of scholarly inquiry within the classroom and the external laboratory of our minds. This was indeed good food for the soul!
I enjoyed this week’s class because it opened my eyes to two new ideas. Both of these ideas I understood somewhat before this discussion, but I now feel that I grasp both on a deeper level.
The first idea came from Carrie Ann’s article. This is the idea that while all disciplines differ in there pursuit of SoTL research, we also have a ton of similarities. The discussion of qualitative and quantitative research could have taken place in one of my sociology specific courses. It was interesting to see that the music department and the sociology department are having some of the same methodological discussions (limitations of traditional quantitative research), coming to similar conclusions (a move to incorporate qualitative methods or develop new methods altogether), and feeling constrained by the same external pressures (the higher status often associated with quantitative research).
The second idea that become more clear to me was the overpowering influence of expanding class sizes. Before being exposed to CTCH course I would have believed that large class sizes affect k-12 much more than college. College is lecture based, and for the most part it is “on the student” to put in the effort to succeed. This biased and false assumption was primarily based on my ability to navigate my poorly structured college experience, where I relied primarily on teaching myself though individual study sessions and reading. Since this “worked” for me, it should work for everyone, right? Now as a teacher, I see exactly how problematic large classes are. They severely limit my ability to bring in students that are not able to succeed in the traditional format of lecture, read, lecture, read, and repeat. The only solution I see to larger class sizes is more teachers, which has a huge financial barrier to overcome. Until that solution becomes a reality, we may have to adapt, develop, and accept less than ideal new techniques that take the reality of larger class sizes into account.