EDUS 660 #12: Building a muscle

Determining what is of value is often the most challenging aspect of completing a               "Self-Assessment."
Determining what is of value is often the most challenging aspect of completing a “Self-Assessment.”

This blog is a self-assessment. Use these prompts to help describe your learning process. What did you learn by being active in this course? How much did you know about research before we started? Did working with an interdisciplinary group interested in all forms of Social Research enhance your learning? Did you do your work the way other people did theirs? Did conversation during collaboration strengthen your learning? What changed your mind about research? What do you still need to learn to do quality research? Or write your own prompt and respond about your study. Tag self-assessment.

  1. What did I learn by being active in this course.  I’m not sure what this question is implying, perhaps nothing at all.  Active as opposed to being passive?  All of the classes that I have taken in my graduate courses at VCU and through other universities (9 courses/5 universities beyond VCU) require me to be active.  Quite frankly, the medium of an online course required the least amount of activity on my part.  What I did learn from this experience is that I love technology and using it to support my learning. I do not like taking an online course.  I love coming to class, interacting with my professor and my classmates. Relationships are important to me.  I told the women that I worked on the proposal that the project was like navigating through a closet or tunnel without a flashlight.  My reaction had nothing to do with them.  They were wonderful.  What I really enjoyed were the interactive programs during the discussion of Ethics and Research Integrity.  I’m a visual person.  I will remember my participation through that activity particularly the errors that I made.
  2. How much did you know about research before we started?  I think that I knew more about research than I realized or admitted to knowing before the course began.  I participated in a research study where I was part of an experimental group and enjoyed doing so.  What I realize now as a result of this course is how much I would have benefited from the research with all of the knowledge that I now possess.  I have a new lens through which to consider research.  This spring, I noticed a research project in the VCU TelegRAM.  The paperwork that was required of the participant was overwhelming.  At the time, I was rather preoccupied with my coursework.  The researchers contacted me last month to see if I was still interested.  I will reconsider and use it for an opportunity to use what I have learned.
  3. Did working with an interdisciplinary group interested in all forms of Social Research enhance your learning? My “overall/generic” learning was greatly enhanced through the integration of sociology and social work into the coursework.  I was disappointed in being segregated from others who are part of my graduate program.  While our program is small and personal, we do not work as a cohort. Working on a research proposal with others from my program would have engaged our learning with a project that could generate knowledge from seminal leaders. This proposal would allow us to consider where the gaps in our field of study lie.   If we walked away with a research proposal from our discipline, we would have done the ground work necessary to participate in the Graduate Research Fair, for example, or to present at a national conference.
  4. Did you do your work the way other people did theirs? Did conversation during collaboration strengthen your learning? I really don’t know how others in my section did their work.  I do know that the individuals in my group did their work and worked cooperatively with each other.  We use Google Apps for collaboration, which was very helpful. I appreciated my group’s willingness to use those tools.
  5. What changed your mind about research? I live in a university town where advertisements for investigational studies are announced using both the television and the radio.  It’s easy to tune out the studies without a firm understanding behind the science and methodology of research. Where I have either grown in my thinking or have a new perspective-
    1. The way in which I view a research program now certainly engages what I’ve learned.  The CITI training, while rather long and sometimes tedious, helped me to feel more comfortable about participating in research. While too much government influence in other areas of life is constraining, the knowledge that there are policies and procedures to protect participants shows evidence of our society’s desire to contribute to the greater good through research.
    2. The word “research” in an academic setting implies an understanding of and a willingness to adhere to an establish set of procedures.
    3. The literature review is crucial when determining what to study.  Research scientists are looking for gaps to fill rather than a way to advance their curriculum vitae.
    4.  Research needs to contribute to a body of knowledge, again, not pump up one’s job prospects.
  6. What do you still need to learn to do quality research? I have a head full of facts and details that really need some form of a schema.  As an educator, I participated in internships and student teaching. My friends have participated in moot court while studying the law.  My doctor proctors the medical student who meets with me prior to my appointment. As a student of social research, a simulated research project would enhance my learning and provide a place for me to ground my experiences from this semester.  Our work was intense and covered a wealth of topics that are crucial building blocks for a research foundation.  An instance to work with a social research scientist where I physically do what I am learning in class would have enhanced my experience.Do I have a talent for doing social research right now? No, probably not until I have all of the patterns in place necessary to grow a talent for doing so.  I have a good foundation as a result of what I’ve learned in this class.

Something this time for “me” to chew on-fly

Consulting Skills class beings in two weeks.  I’m anxious to see how what I’ve learned this summer  can translate when working with clients.

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