April, AR Project Update and Reflection

How is my AR project unfolding?
I had intended to begin my first cycle at the end of march,  but I realized I did not have all of my materials prepared. My class is changing quite a bit, and it wouldn’t have made sense for me to start then. Last month my students had issues getting their course materials and that threw another monkey wrench into the process. I have had several meetings over the last couple months with my lab instructors and other staff, and we have spent time thoroughly analyzing what sort of problems the students have been having in connecting with the course material. There are several things we are changing around in the curriculum, but only a few items that are part of my AR project in order to avoid it getting overly complex. I think my entrance and exit surveys will be very insightful as I move through the cycles. I am looking forward to seeing if my students will truly connect with the material more effectively. Ultimately if just a couple more students end up passing my class I will be happy with the results.

When will Cycle implementation begin?
Cycle 1will begin with my next term of students on April 30th. Cycle 2 will begin the following term on May 28th.

How do I plan to  track my data?
Data will be tracked in these ways. 

  1. Entrance and exit surveys will be used to gauge students own feelings about what they know and what they have learned.
  2. 8 tests (4 in lab and 4 in lecture) given over the 1 month duration of the  class will allow me to determine how well the students are learning the material and if there are any signs of improvement.
  3. Exit evaluations will allow me to see how relevant students feel the class was and how well the material worked, what was effective and what wasn’t.
  4. I will be making notes from lecture classes as well as the lab instructors will be giving me their feedback during weekly meetings.

What happened in my research that I didn’t expect?
I was surprised to  come to the conclusion that something as simple as the students lack of connection with their computer could be a substantial cause of their poor performance. We will see if this is true and if it makes a difference, but to think that some lessons focused on basic computer operation and Internet resources, gave me hope that little changes could possibly make a big difference. Again, I will be happy with minor positive changes as well. Either way I expect to see a change of some sort.

How has this month’s course Digital Media and Education Applications helped in shaping my Action Research Project?
This months course has helped me reflect on some of my lab activities as well as my lecture presentation style. I am presently making some adjustments to a few points in my lecture to help clarify some details that were either text heavy, or lacking clear explanation. Also I am creating screencasts for some of the lab activities and I will be surre to add some appropriate explanations and graphics while paying attention to not create cognitive overload. I will be creating short videos to post on the course website, as well as a few interactive and explanatory flash activities to help create a more interactive learning environment for the students outside of the classroom as well. If I truly want to show my students that there are much better things to do with their computers than check their Facebook page, then I need to make sure my class is really providing the opportunities for them to connect with those options.


1 Comment

  1. EMDT Action Research said,

    April 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Excellent responses, even though you did not start when expected you are still on track to complete on time. During implementation expect the unexpected, any setbacks will still be a part of the process that evolves your project. Just be sure to document the implementation process, it will help you reflect journey during stage 3.

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