I thoroughly enjoyed reading the thoughts, ideas, and struggles articulated in your Project 3. I was a junior high school science teacher for 10 years in a racially-diverse urban environment and I empathize with nearly every struggle articulated in the problems of practice I reviewed throughout the course. I believe many of you are well down the path of defining your dissertation research/evaluation agendas, and I look forward to following your development.
I do want to point out a couple important points related to your proposed lines of inquiry and your upcoming courses. As you learn more about different research methods, it will likely become very clear to you which models and approaches best fit the purpose of your dissertation. And since you will be addressing a problem of practice, your research designs may seem more like program evaluations than research. Rest assured that the fundamental methods used for educational research AND educational program evaluations are the same….only their purposes differ. I will be teaching a program evaluation course during your third year of doctoral study, and if you choose to take this course you will learn common program evaluation models used regularly by institutions to determine effects and effectiveness of interventions. Again, within these evaluation models are the same methods you will be learning about in your quantitative and qualitative research courses, but the evaluation frameworks presented will focus on programmatic effects (those defined by your dependent variables). So keep this in mind as you continue forming and writing your dissertation stories.
It was a pleasure helping you learn more about learning theory and how it applies to your own research. I advise that you keep the Schunk text as part of your professional library. It will help you write the first chapter of your dissertation because you will be asked to define your problems, research variables, and proposed interventions in light of existing theories and models, and the text will help you focus on “big picture” ideas.
I hope you enjoy the short break before you start learning more about research theory and design. And good luck as you tackle the challenges of planning for the coming year. If you find yourself questioning the best way to approach using technology to help you meet your instructional needs (and perhaps promote a positive change in teacher practice), don’t forget that Instructional Technology is a well-defined sub-field of educational psychology that has been addressing these types of problems and issues for many, many years!
p.s. The final grades have been adjusted. I decided to set the cut-off for an “A” at 200 points (out of 230). This allows for any adjustments needed regarding exam item issues.