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ED 629 Critical Reflections Seminar
Sillman, Cathy


ED629, Critical Reflections Seminar

Fall 2, 2005 (S2P05)

Instructor: Cathy Sillman, Ed.D.,  Associate Professor of Education

Office:    Downtown – 911 Main, Suite 900, Office 903

Office Hours:       By Arrangement.

Contact Info:   Downtown (816 842-6182, x 5532); e-mail:

Class Dates: October 24-December 16, 2005

Credit Hours – 3




The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.




Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learner within the global society.




One of two concluding courses in the Master of Education designed to complete the praxis model.  This course is designed to focus on current issues in education and is the reflection part of the experience.  Each participant will do a major paper and make a presentation of that paper.  The paper must be related to emphasis area.  Prerequisites: 15 hours in the program including ED516 and ED532.

a.       general

b.      at-risk

c.       multicultural

d.      school law

e.       early childhood

f.        adult education




The instructor’s role is to provide students with the opportunity to take an active role in reading, researching, presenting, discussing and applying information related to the course objectives and learner outcomes.  The instructor recognizes the importance of student contributions to the learning environment and encourages the cooperative exploration of ideas, issues, and contradictions.



            [NBPTS Core Proposition]

At the conclusion of this course the student will be able to:


Ø      The student will demonstrate knowledge of current issues in education using research and writings. [1-4]


Ø      The student will utilize critical thinking including the ability to analyze, evaluate, and creatively find solutions to current issues in education. [1-5]


Ø      The student will utilize writing to demonstrate the ability to think critically and to propose supportable solutions to educational issues. [1-4]


Ø      The student will demonstrate the ability to intellectually present and discuss educational issues. [5]


Ø      The student will demonstrate an understanding of what it means to be a reflective educator. [4]




Leedy, Paul D. & Jeanne Ellis Ormrod, 8th edition (2005).   Practical Research: Planning and Design.    (ISBN 0-13-110895-6)   




Academic honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park University will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers, and other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from the university.




Plagiarism, the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work, sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.  This does not make it less serious.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their course faculty member.




Professors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  Excused absences can be granted by the instructor for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands including temporary duty.  The student is responsible for all the missed work.  Absences in excess of four (4) class periods in a 16-week semester (or 2 in an 8-week term) will be reported to the Dean or Director of the individual graduate program for appropriate action.  Any student failing to attend classes for two consecutive weeks, without approved excuse, will be institutionally withdrawn (unofficially withdrawn) and notified by mail that an “F” will be recorded unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the course.  At the beginning of each course professors will announce the date and time of the final examination.


Plan to attend all class sessions.  In the event of an unavoidable absence, and with prior notice and approval from the facilitator, the student may substitute an individual project or paper for work missed in class.  To receive full credit, however, the project or paper must be closely related to the course content and/or learner outcomes covered during the student’s absence.




This course is designed to emphasize the application of knowledge and dispositions through structured performances requiring the student to read, analyze, and respond to a variety of educational situations.  The articulation of ideas through verbal and written discourse is paramount in maximizing learning outcomes.  Hence, all assigned work is expected to be completed in a timely fashion.  A grade reduction of 20% will be assigned for late work.  The instructor may make modifications to these requirements for unique and/or extenuating circumstances.




Participation - Student attendance and participation is essential in achieving maximum learning.  It is generally expected that students will participate weekly in the e-companion discussion thread (at least three postings) and contribute to the classroom learning environment (e.g. constructive peer reviews).  (40 points)


Proposal Outline – A brief outline of your proposal should be presented.  Identify your problem and briefly explain what procedures you plan to use to solve it. (About 1 page double space -- 5 points)


Formal Proposal (Chapters 1-3) - Each student will develop a proposal that describes the project.  It should include a definition of the problem, a review of literature and a corresponding methodology. (55 points)


The proposal is the plan by which you will explain your project and determine how it will be evaluated.  The following format is provided for guidance as you develop the proposal for your project.


I.    Define the Problem

Ø      State a well-defined problem.

Ø      Identify possible solutions, again using current appropriate research.

Ø      Identify your solution and why you decided on your particular approach.

II.  Review of Literature           

Ø      Include current and appropriate research in review. 

Ø      Literature review should include multi-disciplinary perspectives when appropriate

Ø      The project needs to be related to current best practice research.

III.  Methodology

Ø       Action Research design should be sound and relevant

Ø      Data collection techniques should be workable and design should include a triangulation of data sources (e.g. including both quantitative and qualitative sources when possible)

Ø      Hypothesis should be testable when included





Participation                         40

Initial Proposal                        5

Final Paper                           55



90 - 100 – A

80 – 89 – B

70 – 79 – C

60 – 69 – D

0 – 59 – F




Students whose behavior is detrimental to good order in the classroom or interferes with the learning of other students will be subject to disciplinary action ranging from dismissal from the classroom to expulsion from Park University.  Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, the use of abusive or obscene language, attending the class under influence of drugs or alcohol, excessive tardiness, and excessive absences.




Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance.  These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal.  It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply.  Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page:



The following is a tentative weekly schedule of classroom activities.  Please note that the schedule may be modified to achieve to maximize learning opportunities.  Although subject to change, individual meetings/ communications with students are planned to be held during weeks three through seven in lieu of formal class meetings.

Week One (October 26-November 1)

Ø      Get acquainted activities

Ø      Brainstorm possible educational needs/problems

Ø      Discussion of Chapter 1

Ø      Action Research

Ø      Submit proposals according to guidelines provided – Due November 1

Weeks Two & Three (November 2-November 9)

Ø      Submit chapter 1 for peer review (Due November 9)

Ø      Peer and instructor review of proposals and Chapter 1

Ø      Suggestions provided

Ø      Discussion of Chapter 2

Ø      Chapter 1 is due no later than November 15

Weeks Four & Five (November 16 – November 23)

Ø      Submit chapter 2 for peer review (November 22)

Ø      Peer and instructor review of chapter 2 with suggestions

Ø      Discussion of Chapter 3

Ø      Chapter 2 is due no later than November 29

Week Six & Seven (November 30 – December 7)

Ø      Submit chapter 3 for peer review (Due December 6)

Ø      Reflective comments (what would you do differently if you had it to do over again?)

Ø      Final instructor review with suggestions for final proposal

Ø      Chapter 3 is due no later than December 14

Week Eight (December 14)

Ø      Final project due no later than December 16 (Friday)

Ø      Discussion related to final project