EDST 837: Evidence of Learning in School and Everyday Life

Weekly Projects

Weekly projects: General Purposes and expectations

First week's project: Description of my interests (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 02/14 Sat. via class Web)
Second week's project: Reflections on a pathway to schooling (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 02/21 Sat. via class Web)
Third week's project: Teaching and learning curricula (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 02/28 Sat. via class Web)
Fourth week's project: Learning in everyday life (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 03/07 Sat. via class Web)
Fifth week's project: Grants for informal learning (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 03/14 Sat. via class Web)
Sixth week's project: Relevance of classes for future teachers (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 03/21 Sat. via class Web)
Seventh week's project: Analysis of college syllabi (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 03/28 Sat. via class Web)
Eighth week's project: Inequalities in education (1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 04/03 Fri. via class Web)
Thirteenth week's project: My vita for my dream job (about 1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 05/09 Sat. via class Web)
deadline.jpg (3914 bytes) Last week's project: What I've learned in the class (1 single-spaced page, max.; DUE 04/22 Fri. via class Web)

WB01158_.GIF (255 bytes) General purpose and expectations for weekly projects

There are many weekly weekly projects in this course. A major purpose of the projects is to provide you with an opportunity to be involve in hands-on projects, to think critically and reflectively about educational practices, and to communicate your thinking through your writing. There is no single right answer for any of the projects. Therefore, your focus in the papers should NOT be on whether your essay is correct or not. The focus should be placed on what you think about the topics and how you develop and communicate your arguments and provide evidence supporting and illustrating your ideas.

Another important purpose for doing the weekly project is for you to receive feedback on and responses to your thinking from other class members so that you can think and discuss the topics further with others.

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WB01542_.gif (729 bytes) First week's project: Description of my interests

Describe how the course will fit your career goals and what you would like to get out of it. The following questions will guide your writing:

How does the course relate to your interests (e.g., personal, professional, political, etc.)?
Why do you take this class? What are your expectations from the class? What skills and other graduate student requirements you expect or want to can learn/fulfill by taking this class (e.g., learning to write papers for publications, preparing for dissertation or qualifying exams, developing syllabi for future college teaching, writing grant proposals)?
What were your best and worst experiences as a student in school, including college (please, give examples)?
What do you expect to be your chief satisfactions and rewards in your future work as a researcher and educator?
What do you, as a becoming researcher and educator, expect to face major concerns, dilemmas, and difficulties in your future teaching?
What are your main research or educational issues that you are deeply concerned and why?
How (and where) do you yourself professionally in ten years from now?
If there is any question that you want to reply to express your interests and concerns regarding the class, raise it and reply.

Make Description of my interests the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Description of my interests: Why I want to be a researcher).

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WB00955_.GIF (255 bytes) Second week's project: Reflections on a pathway to schooling

Describe your reaction to the passage from Carol Rogers’ and Jerome Freiberg’s (1994) book, Freedom to learn, pp. 338-339 (available on our web at http://www.ematusov.com/EDST837.98S/school.pathway.htm ). The following questions may guide your writing:

How similar and different is the described Johnny’s experience in regard to your own past school experience, your friends’ past school experience, your own current college experience, and your friends’ current college experience?
What is wrong with this experience in your view? How did teacher’s learning assessment, teaching and organization of the classroom contribute to the situation? Why do you think this experience occurs?
What was teacher’s curriculum and what did Johnny learn from his experience? How and why were teacher’s and learner’s curricula different? What was teacher’s and Johnny’s evidence of Johnny’s learning?
What do you think student’s school experience should be? Please, describe it in detail. What changes do you propose for teaching and organizing the classroom to avoid Johnny’s experience?

Make Reflections on a pathway to schooling the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Reflections on a pathway to schooling: Problems with traditional school).

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WB00882_.GIF (263 bytes) Third week's project: Teaching and learning curricula

I’d like you to interview a teacher (e.g., a schoolteacher, a college instructor, a teaching assistant) and his/her student to reveal what the teacher tried to teach and what the student learned for the last week of the class. The following questions may guide your designing interview and writing:

Teacher’s point of view

Student’s point of view

Questions for your reflection

What are similarities and differences in teacher’s student’s perception of the classroom curriculum?
Why do you think there are differences?
Whether and how did other students contribute to the student’s learning?
Did the students contribute to the teacher-defined curriculum?
Any other question, you want to address?
What have you learned from this project?

Make Teaching and learning curricula the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Teaching and learning curricula: Informal learning). Please, do not forget providing a brief description of the interview so we (readers) can follow your discussion.

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Rock.gif (1120 bytes)Fourth week's project: Learning in everyday life

I’d like you to interview a friend or two to examine how people learn in everyday life. Choose a valuable skill that the interviewee learned outside of school (e.g., using computer for the Internet browsing, filling tax forms, cooking, dancing, fishing). The following questions may guide your designing interview and writing:

What valuable skill did the interviewee learn outside school? Why is it valuable for the interviewee? Why was it learn outside the school?
How was the skill learned? What help and resources were available? Who and how initiated the learning and through what means?
How does the interviewee know that the skill has been learned? Have people around the interviewee are aware of his/her competence regarding the skill? How does the interviewee use the skill and in which contexts?
Can the interviewee demonstrate the skill on your demand (test the interviewee)?
How different with and similar to is this learning to school learning and why?
What have you learned from this project?

Make Learning in everyday life the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Learning in everyday life: Learning as survival). Please, do not forget providing a brief description of the interview so we (readers) can follow your discussion.

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WB01539_.gif (682 bytes) Fifth week's project: Grants for informal learning

Select one or two calls for grant proposals (or if you find actual grant proposals) on informal learning (informal education) among government, private, and/or philanthropy foundations at The GrantWeb site (http://web.fie.com/cws/sra/resource.htm). I’d like to ask you to focus on grant agencies’ goals, assumptions, values, definitions, functions, approaches to, and consequences of informal learning implicitly or explicitly expressed by the agencies. The following questions may guide your writing:

How do the agencies explicitly or implicitly define informal learning? How do their definitions differ from learning in everyday life and schooling?
Why do they want to finance projects involving informal learning?
How are the agencies going to review the proposals regarding informal learning?
Could you find any explicit or implicit attempts by the agency define learning assessment of informal learning?
How do you think assessment of informal learning relate to the issues of project evaluation in education?
How would you, as a researcher, define informal learning and design informal learning?
What have you learned from this project?

Make Grants for informal learning the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Grants for informal learning: How formal is informal?). Please, do not forget providing URL addresses of the selected calls for grant proposal starting with http:// , titles and brief descriptions of the selected grants so we (readers) can follow your discussion.

Exclaim70B2.gif (1443 bytes) Do not leave this project for the last day before the deadline: You may need my help facing with problems searching for calls for grant proposals!

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WB01542_1.gif (729 bytes) Sixth week's project: Relevance of classes for future teachers

I’d like you to interview 2-3 undergraduate students with major in education (but not freshmen) to examine how they perceive relevance of their undergraduate classes for their future teaching profession. The following questions may guide your designing interview and writing:

Do the students perceive relevance of their undergraduate classes for their future teaching profession and why?
How do they describe the most relevant classes? What makes them the most relevant in students’ eyes?
How do they describe the least relevant classes? What makes them the most relevant in students’ eyes?
How to increase the relevance of classes from the students’ and your point of view?
What are students’ explicit or implicit definitions of relevancy?
Why are some classes taught by instructors in irrelevant ways, from students’ and your judgements?
How do you think students and instructors contribute to the relevancy of their classes?
How would you make your future classes relevant for your future students?
What have you learned from this project?

Make Relevance of classes for future teachers the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Relevance of classes for future teachers: Passive learning). Please, do not forget providing a brief description of your questions and the students’ replies so we (readers) can follow your discussion.

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Green Ball.gif (257 bytes) Seventh week's project: Analysis of college syllabi

In an area of your future possible teaching (e.g., education, psychology, sociology), please, select two contrasting syllabi at The World Lecture Hall website (http://www.utexas.edu/world/lecture/). This website carries hyperlinks to instructors’ syllabi all over the country (and even around the world in lesser degree). I’d like to ask you to analyze goals, assumptions, values, definitions, functions, approaches to, and consequences of learning assessment implicitly or explicitly expressed by the instructors/authors. The following questions may guide your writing:

How are the instructors (the authors of the syllabi) going to access their students’ learning according to their syllabi?
What are the explicit and implicit goals of such learning assessments regarding their students, themselves as instructors and college professors, the college/university/department, students’ parents, the state, students’ futures jobs?
What are positive and negative consequences of these learning assessments for students’ learning and instructor’s teaching?
Are the used learning assessments consistent with the content of courses developed by the instructors (please, give examples and provide justification for your answer)?
Why do you think the instructors do what they do?
How would you, as an instructor, design learning assessment in your class?
What have you learned from this project?

Make Analysis of college syllabi the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Analysis of college syllabi: Grades and constructivism). Please, do not forget providing URL addresses of the selected syllabi starting with http:// , titles and brief descriptions of the selected classes so we (readers) can follow your discussion.

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WB01062_.GIF (249 bytes) Eighth week's project: Inequalities in education

The purpose of the project is to become familiar with issues and problems of educational inequalities (in achievement) because of students’ gender, socio-economic status (SES), and race/ethnicity in US schools (specifically, in Delaware). For this purpose, I’d like to ask you to:

examine Delaware educational statistics of school achievement (see below for the statistics website),
find interesting/puzzling group differences and similarities as evidence of educational equalities/inequalities (please, provide necessary numbers in your message),
explain and discuss the reasons for such phenomena,
make suggestions for teachers how to compensate found inequalities of achievement in their teaching,
how do you think learning assessment the schools used contributed in the inequalities, and
say what have you learned from the project.

The state statistics about Delaware achievement by gender, SES, race/ethnicity, academic subject, grade level, and school years (93-95) are located at:

http://www.doe.state.de.us/reporting/glance/glance.htm#assess

go to the subtitle "INTERIM ASSESSMENT PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS" in the second part of the web page (see multicolor tables).

I suggest you focusing on the percentages of students with BELOW achievement level (although, of course, you can explore the tables in your own ways).

Make Inequalities in education the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., Inequalities in education: Underachievement of poor children).

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Green Ball.gif (257 bytes) Thirteenth week's project: My vita for my dream job

Check websites with job announcements (Chronicle of High Education at http://chronicle.merit.edu/.ads/.links.html ; APA at http://www.apa.org/ads/ ; APS at http://psych.hanover.edu/APS/employment.html ; Academia The First Worldwide Register at http://psy.anu.edu.au/academia/ ) and a job description of your dream. Develop a vita based on your educational, teaching, and research experiences to fit this description. Please, provide job description, your vita, and your reflection on the project on the web for people’s feedback. Ask faculty members to show their vitae if you need. I want you to focus on the following issues:

What do you think the main reason of why academic jobs ask for vita?
What is your goal in writing the vita? How would you know if the vita is successful for sure?
How could people who are responsible for hiring know about your qualifications and job skills from your vita?
How well has the college prepared you for the job of your dream?
Do you have a gap between the job requirements and your vita? If so, what can and should you do between now and the day of your graduation to eliminate the gap and increase your "market value"?
What have you learned from the project?

Make My vita for my dream job the subject of your message on the Web. You can make your own subtitle as well (e.g., My vita for my dream job: Market, job, and education).

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WB01062_.GIF (249 bytes) Last week's project: What I've learned in the class

To facilitate the your reflection on the class, I'd like you to write (via posting on the class web) 1-3 paragraphs at the end of the class on what you have learned in the class that is interesting or relevant for your future career and what issues you'd like to explore in future. Make What I’ve learned in the class the subject of your message on the Web.

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