Week 6: Teaching as Research - Part 2

Teaching as Research, Part 2

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

    • Identify the requirements/components/characteristics of a Teaching-as-Research question; analyze a TAR question based on the characteristics; write a teaching and learning question.

    • Write evidence-based objectives for a classroom (or other learning community or learning through diversity) activity.

    • Describe the assessment for objectives of a TAR project.

    • Design and describe the teaching and learning intervention/change/implementation designed to achieve the objective(s); can demonstrate how their implementation aligns with the assessment plan.

    • Describe how the TAR project as conceived can potentially change instruction, environments, or communities around teaching and learning; define the threshold(s) for having met the objective(s).

    • Complete a plan for a TAR project; can describe their steps, the Teaching-as-Research question, the implementation, measurement, expected data, and how it will inform their future teaching or learning community practice.

Video 8.0.0 — Week 6 Introduction

Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University and Dr. Trina McMahon from the University of Wisconsin introduce the concepts and content that will be covered this week in the course.

Goals and Functionality

Video 8.1.1 — Goals and Functionality

Dr. Bennett Goldberg from Boston University reviews the concepts and methods covered in the rest of the course and then discusses the learning goals of the final module of the course. He delves into details concerning the development and implementation of the final project in the course.

Video 8.1.1 Slides

Tools for the TAR 2 Module

Here are the tools you will use during this module. Both are re-posted from Module 1, the Introduction to Teaching-as-Research module. You will use the worksheet to develop your Teaching-as-Research plan, which you will advance from an outline to a draft to a full plan for submission as the final, keystone project for this course. It will be submitted as a peer-graded assignment during the week following this module.

For this module, you will work in teams. If you are already in a MOOC-Centered Learning Community, please ask your facilitator to put you in teams. If you are not associated with an MCLC, we (and the MOOC team) will put you in a team of selected participants.

Teams are expected to work cooperatively on their Teaching-as-Research plans. Teams will share ideas, provide direct critical and supportive feedback, and encourage each other. Teams should continue to add to the discussion forums, but are encouraged to also have their own, side conversations. In particular, while you may develop your TAR question, objectives, assessment, and implementation plan in teams, you are expected to post the ideas also in the common space.

TAR Project Planning Worksheet

TAR Rubric

Blank TAR Rubric

TAR Questions

Video 8.2.1 — What Makes a Good TAR Question?

Students from Vanderbilt and Michigan State Universities discuss how they developed research questions for their individual TAR projects. In addition Dr. Goldberg talks with Dr. Jed Sparks from Cornell University about what makes a good TAR research question.


Post a potential TAR question in your discipline.

Then post a response to someone else’s question. (Use the rubric first introduced in Module 1 for your evaluation. Responses can be constructive advice, a detailed question about it, or analyzing the characteristics in the TAR question.)

Finally, revise your question based on the feedback you received.

TAR Objectives

Video 8.3.1 — What is the importance of having well defined TAR objectives?

Drs. Goldberg and Sparks discuss the differences between TAR questions and TAR objectives. They go on to discuss the importance of well defined objectives and how this can benefit both students and faculty.

Discussion: Post 1-3 objectives based on your question; post a response/analysis of at least one other participant’s submission of objectives. Remember, your objectives should be measurable either quantitatively or qualitatively. Apply the rubric from TAR1 module to guide comments, to plan, and to evaluate.

Discussion: Access the literature for one specific objective related to a Teaching-as-Research question. What has been done, how does it inform or help you build your objectives, the way you are thinking about measuring the objective(s)? Post the objective(s), the paper (or link), and three short things the paper provides as evidence to support your objective(s). If you can’t find any literature, post your objective and ask for assistance from the community.

TAR Assessment

Review the videos from An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching on Assessment.

Discussion: What are the challenges of measuring teaching and learning? For example, discuss the ethics of conducting a randomized controlled trial in teaching and learning; or what is A/B testing and how could you use it in teaching and learning or in learning communities?

Video 8.4.1 — What did you discover when you started to develop or implement your assessment?

Students from a variety of universities discuss their experiences with implementing their assessment strategies in each of their individual TAR projects. Followed by Drs. Goldberg and Sparks discussing some common issues when developing and implementing assessment strategies in a TAR project.

Discussion: How do you define the threshold for your assessment of change? Explain how your data could lead to a change in instruction, environment, or communities around teaching and learning.

TAR Implementation

Video 8.5.1 — What are actual outcomes of TAR projects?

LeighAnn Tomaswick, a student from Michigan State University, discusses some of the expected and unexpected students outcomes from her TAR project.

Activity and Discussion: Go back to Module 1 where you analyzed a CIRTL TAR poster. Identify the particular change and its implications to improve teaching and learning in that TAR poster project.

Complete your Teaching-as-Research worksheet. Share with your team and provide constructive and supportive comments. Use the TAR rubric and apply it to your teammate’s 2-page TAR-planning worksheet. Question each other.

What did you learn? How will this affect how you think about teaching and learning in the future? How will this affect how you’ll spend time in the classroom? How will your future students respond to your intervention(s) and the changes in instruction such interventions and assessment drives? Many students may have little experiences with interactive classrooms.

Video 8.5.2 — Implementing a TAR Project

Dr. Goldberg discusses the task of implementing your TAR project and gives several examples of different contexts in which TAR projects can be implemented.

Video 8.5.2 Slides

Week 6 Review

Video 8.0.1 — Week 6 Wrap Up