Courses & Units

Foundations of Educational Research ESM708

Launceston

Note:

Introduction

Improving Teaching and Practice through Action Research

The aim of this unit is to show you a way to improve your practice and that of the colleagues you work with. It is a unit which integrates practice, action, theory and research in a very practical way. The unit aims to relate to and be applied to your own practice and interests and draw upon the other units you have taken. The action research approach is very flexible and has been applied in a wide variety of contexts and to diverse issues; so it will almost certainly relate to your needs and interests.

The purpose of the content in this unit is to explain how action research can be effective as a means of improving practice and the quality of teaching and learning. After reading it you should have a clear idea of what action research is about, and how you could apply the idea to improve your own teaching practice, as well as other facets of the work of teachers, such as curriculum design and course evaluation.

The first part raises the question of what action research is and how it has become an accepted approach to both developing and improving courses and to research in education. Next, we describe how you plan an action research project and present some of the techniques that can be used to collect data for the project. We then give examples of some action research projects with the aim of stimulating your thinking about how you could use action research in your own work.

The examples mainly relate to the context of higher education and to teaching quality enhancement, as this is my background. However, you should easily be able to extrapolate to schools and other educational contexts. Hopefully it should also be apparent how action research can be applied to other aspects of practice as it is a powerful vehicle for educational change and leadership.

By making your teaching practice the subject of your research you can critically examine and modify it. The main difference between teaching per se and action research on teaching is that you will need to adopt a more systematic approach to making observations and keeping records than may presently be the case.

There is quite a large literature on action research including its theoretical underpinnings and historical development. Since the aim of this content is to assist you in getting started with action research, we present only a brief outline of the main theoretical ideas here. Those people who wish to pursue the theory further will find useful sources in the references.

The intention is to relate your practice, and what is taught to you through the content modules, through a series off activities and the assignments. The activities on the MyLO site give you a chance to discuss you, your practice and your ideas with fellow students and get feedback from me. This discussion and feedback can inform your assignments, which are related to the activities.

Summary

Unit name Foundations of Educational Research
Unit code ESM708
Credit points 25
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Education
Discipline School of Education
Coordinator

Dr Jenny McMahon

Teaching staff

Level Postgraduate
Available as student elective? No
Breadth Unit? No

Availability

Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Launceston Semester 2 On-Campus Off-Campus International International Domestic Domestic
Launceston Spring school (extended) Off-Campus International Domestic

Key

On-campus
Off-Campus
International students
Domestic students
Note

Units are offered in attending mode unless otherwise indicated (that is attendance is required at the campus identified). A unit identified as offered by distance, that is there is no requirement for attendance, is identified with a nominal enrolment campus. A unit offered to both attending students and by distance from the same campus is identified as having both modes of study.

Special approval is required for enrolment into TNE Program units.

TNE Program units special approval requirements.

Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 16/7/2018 10/8/2018 3/9/2018 21/10/2018
Spring school (extended) 29/10/2018 21/11/2018 24/12/2018 17/2/2019

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2018 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2018 will be available from the 1st October 2017.

About Census Dates

Fees

Domestic

Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
1 2017: $1,587.00 2017: $3,806.00 070303

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.

Requisites

Prerequisites

ESH714

Co-requisites

Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:

Teaching

Teaching Pattern

Online: fully online with weekly readings and activities

Assessment

AT1: Identification of an issue in your practice (15%);  AT2: Observation of the issue (25%);  AT3: Planning an action research project (60%) OR Reflection on and observation of your practice (60%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable

Textbooks

Required

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Recommended

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Co-op Bookshop links

The University reserves the right to amend or remove courses and unit availabilities, as appropriate.