Carrie Ann’s April 6th Class reflection

How do we accomplish assessment in-group work and for me how do we accomplish this in a large class setting?  This past weeks class and our discussion of the Cross and Steadman book helped me make some educational choices in this area.  This summer I am teaching a larger sized class on the topic of the Introduction to Classical Music, and a group project will be a part of the summer assignments.  I am going to try Darren’s idea of taking a portion of the points awarded to allocate to the peer evaluations of the other members and their role(s) within the group.  This way no one student takes complete control of the project and all members are equally involved in the final project. In my own teaching and assessment of group work in my classes, I need to try different assessment strategies to see what works and what does not.  Also, I need to realize that some strategies will work for a particular group of students one semester, but might not work with the next semester’s students.

The discussion that Aracelie led with regards to veterans returning to the higher education setting really struck a chord for me.  We need to make this transition easier for this particular group of students and take into account life experiences that only veterans can understand.  When asking students to write on topics that might bring up events or feelings that they are not ready or willing to delve into, we as educators must come up with “tools” or know of ways to guide our students through some difficult times.  As we saw in class, the research on this topic today is just beginning to scratch the surface and much more is needed to be effective in helping these students.

Teddy’s CTCH604 Reflection of Jason’s Reflection 04.05.2010

Teddy’s CTCH604 Reflection on Jason’s Reflection 04.05.2010


Reflecting on Jason’s reflection posted April 04, 2010, I too have witnessed many reports of research projects that provided data of a one-sided nature. On many occasions, I have found myself floating breathlessly in my over-zealous attempt to report the facts.  As Jason reported, it could have resulted in a discreditable situation. I truly appreciate the fact that he took the time to re-evaluate his own evaluation of the article. Most of all, I was impressed by his honesty and willingness to make his re-evaluation public! A great attribute of a great SoTL student! Enthusiasm has often thrusted poorly documented projects into the hands of society, even those that were well intentioned inquiries. Easily, we can see how researchers might prefer to report data of successful experiences and leave out the negative stuff. But, SoTL is about accurate reporting of data as well as the sharing of responsible reporting.


We must set up check points for ourselves while conducting research that will help keep us grounded. Flawed reporting could have devastating effects on the SoTL movement and hamper efforts to obtain the support of political and academic leaders. Just like Institutional Review Boards, we must make every effort to protect out subjects, students, researchers and their institutions. SoTL work should accurately report all data, positive and negative, acquired during the research process. This is serious business and I feel that stated outcomes should reflect just that while keeping student related aspects as non-public. Our goal as researchers is not be selective information gatherers, but to present valid facts. Without accurate reporting, the SoTL mission would soon become one of unreliable fact finding. Careful appraisal of information is needed to ensure that others using this data are building on a firm foundation. Scholarly review is essential to the success of the SoTL project.

Aracelie_Reflections_23 Mar

At last…my language is being used, even if only very briefly.  My old friend SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) has reappeared in my life.  Last class, Darren gave us an outline to use for creating an Action Plan when beginning work on a research question, and SWOT is one of the elements of that plan.  It is a tool commonly used in business planning, so I saw it frequently while doing my MBA.

The Action Plan includes situational updates (current and ideal), benchmarks on a timeline (if possible), SWOT Analysis, and resources to be used.  We spent a few minutes applying these steps to our own questions. The topic of whether it was easier to write on paper then type, or simply type directly onto the computer from the start came up at this time.  Ironically, I wrote down initial thoughts, then typed the rest and saved them onto a flashdrive.  When I tried to retrieve the files, the drive had malfunctioned, and I have not been able to access the work I did.  Lesson learned?  When conducting idea-generating exercises and not near your home computer (where you can backup info immediately), beware of relying entirely on hardware.  (I know, I know; email it to myself from now on.)

Finally, we spent some time going over the community college-focused articles.  It was interesting to hear how the community college differs from larger and/or four-year institutions from a faculty perspective.  Jason offered much of his experience to the discussion and was adamantly against forcing faculty members into the “publish or perish” state of mind.  After much discussion, we convinced him that was probably not what the author intended.  However, it did get us talking about why community college faculty would not be more willing participants in the higher education arena.   It is not always that there is no money available; some schools receive millions of dollars to be able to incorporate aspects of SoTL.  Many community college educators are content to remain only in the world of similar educators.

I would venture to guess, though, that much of it is awareness.  As Prager mentions, a good deal of knowledge is passed on by word-of-mouth, essentially as folkloric tales.  For new “tales of SoTL” to be created, someone would need to be there dedicated to advocating its use.  It may not be that SoTL for the masses will apply to the community college realm, but there are so many aspects, as pointed out in McKinney’s ch8 that can be tried and possibly instituted.  It is as I said before about sending a Tiger Team.  They would be a dedicated team to focus on what was being done with SoTL, and then hand out copies of McKinney’s book to help faculty get started on the journey to implementing SoTL.

Jason’s Reflection from March 30th

During this week’s discussion, I noticed exactly how unlike true SoTL my article was.  I realized how much differently I thought about classroom research after taking part in this course.  A few semesters ago when I came across this article I thought it was a great example of how sociologist could study their own classroom.  While I still agree with the main point of the article, I know see it as a good starting point in need of serious changes.

What was interesting to me was that the article was, in part, about making sure to not exaggerate because it can strip you of your creditability.  However, the author only reports success stories from the proposed teaching techniques.  And not just positive responses, really over the top “this course changed my life” kind of quotes from students which is obviously an exaggeration. Surely, some students hated the course, learned very little, or even preferred the other technique of teaching.  Looking back the author didn’t even perform a real literature review, and reported the results of the new technique in a blatantly biased way.

Teddy’s Reflection Log 03.16.2010

Teddy’s Reflection Log 03.25.2010

 For CTCH 604 class session 03.16.2010

Last week’s class was just superb! It was an honor to have guest speaker Barbara Cambridge with us. She gave us insights into many of the issues pertaining to scholarship, teaching and learning. Dr. Cambridge asked each of us to explain our position concerning the securing of permission to use student research as instructors. At first, I did not feel obligated to share such credit as a college instructor. It was clear that I was wrestling with the topic. Actually, I felt at the time that inquiries taking place in courses using in-class subjects was the property of the teacher/researcher. After a bit more conversation with Barbara I was convinced that sharing credit for research, obtaining permission, no harm policies and ethical issues were of too great significance to the student and the institution. In other words, it was best to be safe than sorry. Proactive instead of being reactive!

 Next, we had a great discuss about (IRB) Internal Review Boards. This fascinating topic explored the internal and external determinants that faculty must compete with in order to secure IRB approval of their research. The three levels of risks are considered with great care in regards to the use of student work so that participants of the course are not damaged or intimidated. Students are not required to take part in the project. Some students may feel that they will fail the course based on non-participation. So, Internal Review Boards must implement procedures to protect student research data & privacy. Again, it was an honor to meet and speak with our distinguished guest and mother. Thank you Darren for such a fabulous mom! Thank you Barbara for an incredibly brilliant son!

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