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We will use a variety of approaches to learn the concepts and techniques of school-based inquiry. As noted above, the text has questions that require application of research logic and approaches to answer. I will supplement these questions and develop exercises that should focus your study. We will identify your course project early in the semester and will form project teams. I suggest that you use your project team as a study group. I have found that when students develop study groups to review questions and exercises they gain more competence in their ability to apply this logic. It is imperative that you read the assigned material and work through the exercises independently and in your study group prior to class. Note questions/concerns that you have about your or your colleague's responses or the questions themselves. Please raise these issues for class discussion. Class time will be devoted to discussing the exercises and questions specified on the schedule, both in a small group format and in the class as a whole. Project teams will have approximately half of the class period to work on their projects and discuss them with me. From time to time, teams will be asked to submit their draft projects to me for formative critique and evaluation. (The instructional rationale for using small groups is explained below in the section titled, "Guidelines for Participation in Small Group Activity.")

Evaluation Project

School administrators are often involved with evaluating the effectiveness of curricular and non-curricular programs. Evaluation studies address the question: is this program doing what we intend it to do? Since many evaluation projects are conducted in teams, we will use three person teams in class. For this project, first describe a program in a school and then design a study to evaluate whether or not the program is effective. Follow the outline for a research proposal as described by Babbie (p112). The project should be prepared as if you were submitting it for funding by a school district or a state educational agency. The written proposal should conform to APA style guidelines. You are expected to use PowerPoint to assist your oral presentation. Review the guidelines and helpful hints for oral presentations for tips on better preparing your presentation.

Guidelines for Participation in Group Activity

Purposeful learning primarily is a task-oriented process. The obvious reason for pursuing it in a group format is to bring to bear a far greater variety of cognitive resources and affective supports for pursuit of the task than would be available for any one of the group members acting independently. Research indicates that small-group discussion is more effective than virtually any other educational technique for the acquisition of problem-solving skills and for fostering critical thinking.

In an effective group, the processes of discussion involve cooperation and sharing of ideas, thereby improving individual judgment. In effect, the pooling of ideas in the group allows individual members to correct deficiencies in evidence and reasoning better than they could on their own.

However, the advantages of small-group work can only be realized if certain conditions are met. First and foremost, effective discussion presupposes adequate preparation. The individual must share an equal part of the group burden to ensure distribution of the works and to benefit the most from the exercises.

Second, group members must decide to give the process a good-faith effort and avoid playing destructive roles. If you believe that group discussion is an unconscionable waste of your time, then it will become one. Keeping an open mind, cooperation with the group, and trying to make the technique work will return many benefits.

Third, small-group techniques necessitate developing skills in communication. Not only is clarity of expression important, but the art of listening--actually hearing what the other person is saying-must be practiced. Here are some helpful guidelines to assist you in this task:

  1. Challenge opinions you do not agree with by offering your opinion and then supporting it with evidence from the course material. Specificity is important.
  2. Be willing to change your mind when someone shows an error in your opinion or use of the facts.
  3. Ask for clarification of any point or term you do not understand. Clarification is vital to your own learning and lack of it can cripple the group's effectiveness as well.
  4. Stick to the subject. Do not introduce matters that have no connection to the problem being discussed. Staying on task is extremely important, for time is a precious resource.
  5. Listen carefully. Preoccupation with your own ideas is to be avoided; you should be able to give a summary of what others are saying.
  6. If someone else makes more or less the same point you wish to make, don't repeat it.
  7. Don't continue to talk after you have made your point.
  8. Finally, remember that it is your responsibility to contribute to the solution of the task at hand. Non-participation will detract from your own learning and will seriously hamper the effectiveness of the group as a whole.

 

Communication

Class members can communicate with each other and with me between classes via email. I have established a listserv, EDSP292. To subscribe to the listserv, send the following message to listserv@unc.edu: subscribe EDSP292 <your first name> <your last name>. Do not type anything in the subject line, and do not type a period after your name. When your subscription is confirmed, you will receive a message welcoming you to the list and containing instructions as to how to use the list. Note that these lists are unmoderated (i.e., any participant can send a message to all of the other participants).Since we will use the these lists to communicate between classes; please check your e-mail frequently for announcements vis--vis the class. Messages relevant to specific persons should be sent to their e-mail address, not to the class list. If you do not have a computer with a modem, you may use the computers in Smallwood Lab or in the Mercer Lab. Lab hours are Monday-Wednesday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Thursday-Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Note that sometimes the labs are closed for class use. Check the School of Education's weekly schedules to see if and when the labs are unavailable.

 

Accessing Your Folder on the Horizon Server, EDSP292

We will work in teams to do the project. I have established a folder on the Horizon server to assist you in this work. It is titled "EDSP292." Your team will have a folder within this folder and you can have your own personal folder within the team folder. In effect, you may use this folder as a "hard drive" when in the lab and when at home via FTP.

From the Mercer-Reynolds Lab, log off of the computer by going to the START menu and selecting 'Log Off...'. When the logon window appears, type in edsp292 for the user ID and 292 for the password. DO NOT CHANGE THE DOMAIN NAME; IT SHOULD STAY UNC_SOE. After you have done this, click OK and the system will log back into Windows.
On your desktop will be the icon 'EDSP292'. You should double-click on it to get to the edsp292 folder on the HORIZON server.

IMPORTANT: When you are finished working in the lab, please restart the computer (START -> Shut Down -> Restart). This will log off the machine so the next user does not have access to the edsp directories.

If you are using a Mac, you can access HORIZON by opening the 'Chooser' and looking for the computer HORIZON under the campus-wide network. When you double-click on HORIZON, you will be asked to type your username and password. Do so as instructed in class.

Accessing your folder from home

FTP Access: You can also use FTP (file transfer protocol) to access horizon.unc.edu from anywhere on the Internet to upload and download the files in your directory. If you have never used FTP before, you may want to review the ATN handout on FTP via Windows or Mac. In addition, you can download WS-FTP for Windows or Fetch for Mac to use in FTPing from home.

If you are using WS-FTP for Windows, access horizon.unc.edu by using this setup when you open the program:

  • profile name: horizon
  • host name/address: horizon.unc.edu
  • host type: Microsoft NT
  • user ID: [given in class]
  • password: [given in class]

Click on "connect."

You will see many files and folders. C
lick on "ChgDir" (for change directory).

Type </edsp292>

The 1999 folder will appear in the right window (which is the Horizon server file structure window).

Click on the 1999 folder. You will then see the team folders.

Open your team folder. You can send material to this folder by selecting both the file you want to send from your computer to your folder on the Horizon server and the arrow graphic in the middle of the two sections showing the file structure on your hard drive (on the left) and on the Horizon server (on the right). You can retrieve material from your folder by selecting the file you want to transfer and selecting the appropriate arrow.