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Collaborative student research projects

April 28, 2011

  • Kenny Kwong talked about two student assignments for his social work practice class. Students are asked to post reflections on their social work practice in private journals, visible only to the instructor.  Kenny responds to the journal entries and provides suggestions.  Kenny noted that the level of student reflection in the journals is much deeper than the reflection they do during in-class discussions. Students also undertake a collaborative research project, in which they are asked to use multiple research techniques and sources in order to develop skills they will need in the field.  Students have time to meet in class and use a wiki to support their collaboration outside of class. In the past, Kenny had assigned individual written papers, but found that these collaborative presentations are closer to the type of work done by social practitioners.
  • Howard Lune discussed how he restructured his social movements course to center on a semester-long project in which students engage in a social change campaign.  Students are given a wiki template with sections corresponding to the different parts of the assignments (e.g., Goals, Plan of Action, etc.) and use a discussion board to communicate.  Each group makes an in-class presentation at the end of each unit.  Howard allocated one class period per week for group meetings.  Students were given a group grade for the project and were also asked to discuss the contributions they made to the project.
  • Tricia Striano showed how her students used Voice Thread to create presentations for her research methods class.  Students work in groups on a particular theme and write individual papers on different aspects of that theme.  Each group also gives an in-class presentation on their work.  Groups used Voice Thread to create presentations in which they narrated over PowerPoint slides and shared their presentations with the class.