Introducing Students to Research Through Ready-to-Use Bb Modules

Ioulia Rytikova, Mihai Boicu, Inna Vasilyeva

Session Information

Year: 2018 | Time: 2:45pm-4:15pm | Location: WORKSHOP: Johnson Center (Room B)

Abstract

BRIEF SESSION DESCRIPTION:

Developing and effectively incorporating research learning experiences into undergraduate courses is a challenging task for many instructors who have limited time and resources. It can also be difficult to blanace discipline-specific guidance on the research topic and with step-by-step instruction for students on how to perform the research. Our team designed, developed and will share six research methodological modules that can be integrated into any course that uses the Blackboard LMS (Bb) either for the initial introduction of how to perform research or for a quick review of fundamentals of research practices in more advanced research-intense classes. Participants will be able to use a suite of learning modules shared on Blackboard LMS that introduce students to basic topics in performing research. They will learn how to integrate the modules in their course, how to customize them, and how to process the associated grades.

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FULL ABSTRACT:

Research learning experiences in higher education are often viewed as "high impact practices” that benefit students from different backgrounds (1).  However, developing and effectively incorporating such practices into undergraduate courses is a challenging task for many instructors who have limited time and resources (2). Moreover, many times the instructors will concentrate in providing domain-specific guidance on the research topic and not a step-by-step instruction on how to perform the research. 

Our team designed and developed six research methodological modules that can be integrated into any course that uses the Blackboard LMS (Bb) either for the initial introduction of how to perform research or for a quick review of fundamentals of research practices in more advanced research-intense classes. 

Currently the methodological modules cover the following activities, but we plan to further extend them:

1.     Identifying a research topic.

2.     Identifying credible sources of information.

3.     Narrowing down a research question.

4.     Finding and evaluating the credibility of the collected evidence.

5.     Evaluating how scholarly publications answer the research question.

6.     Explaining how chosen inquiry affects the society.

All modules have the same format and can be easily integrated into any Bb course as individual assignments. Module activities are graded automatically and grades will appear in the Grade Center once students complete them.  It is suggested to review modules in the order listed above however it is not required. Each module can be also added to a course independently of the other modules for a review of a single activity. Proposed approach of incorporating research practices into undergraduate courses provides both easy integration and high-level of customization. 

In addition to the methodological modules, an inquiry module is developed to guide students in applying all the above techniques for a relevant question of interest for a particular course. The module follows the same steps as in the six methodological modules identified above. The module requires the students to create a journal detailing their experience in following these steps, an explanation of the research question and its relevance to society, and a brief literature review with respect to the considered research topic. The students may also be asked to make a short class presentation about their research.

In order to disseminate our work to all GMU faculty we will create an open resource on Blackboard. Later we plan to use an open resource platform to make it publicly available outside GMU. This workshop will contribute in advertising this new resource and identifying an initial pilot group.

Participants will be able to use a suite of learning modules shared on Blackboard LMS that introduce students to basic topics in performing research. They will learn how to integrate the modules in their course, how to customize them, and how to process the associated grades.

Keywords

Research experiences for undergraduates; creativity

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