ED629 Critical Reflections Seminar

for S1P 2009

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

School For Education Mission Statement
The School for Education at Park University, an institution committed to diversity and best practice, prepares educators to be effective school professionals, reflective change agents, and advocates for equity and excellence for all learners.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.

School For Education Vision Statement
The School for Education at Park University is to be known as a leader in the preparation of educators who will address the needs, challenges, and possibilities of the 21st century.

Park University School for Education  Conceptual Framework


ED 629 Critical Reflections Seminar


S1P 2009 DL


Dennis, Kay S.


Assistant Professor of Education


Ed. D.

Office Location


Office Hours

Tues.–Th. 10:00-8:00 and Fri.–Sat. 10:00-2:00 ET

Daytime Phone

252.241.9463 (By prior arrangement, please)

Other Phone

SKYPE -- kdennis (By prior arrangement, please)



Semester Dates

Jan. 12 - Mar. 15, 2009

Class Days


Class Time



15 c.h. in the program including ED 516, 532. (Adult education students need ED 554 instead of ED 532.)

Credit Hours



Required: None. Most reading time will involve the APA manual and research studies you locate.

Highly Recommended: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). American Psychological Association (2001).

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email helpdesk@parkonline.org or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the http://parkonline.org website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:

ED 629 is one of two concluding courses in the Master of Education program designed to complete the praxis model. This course focuses on current issues in education and provides the reflection portion of the experience. You will write a major paper and make a presentation of that paper. The paper must be related to the emphasis area.   

Emphasis areas:

A.   General studies
B.   School law
C.   Multi-cultural
D.   Teaching at-risk students
E.   Early childhood
F.   Adult education

Adult Education Students

The Adult Education program is designed so that students follow ED 516 (Introduction to Research) with a "trilogy" of research courses – ED 554, ED 629, and ED 630. In ED 554, students identify a research topic and write a literature review. If you have not completed ED 554, I can send you the syllabus, which you may find helpful, along with one of the two textbooks* used. Here in ED 629, the pathway continues with the writing of research proposal chapters 1-3. In ED 630, the action research project is conducted, culminating in the writing of chapters 4 and 5.

* Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (3rd ed.). Author: Jose Galvan. Pyrczak Publishing (2006)


Educational Philosophy:

I believe that students achieve optimal success when they participate actively in a timely manner, consistently apply their best effort, and share the responsibility for their own learning. As an educator I will guide, facilitate and support your learning by:

v       Creating an organized, positive, and interactive learning climate

v       Focusing your attention on important aspects

v       Clarifying performance expectations

v       Encouraging reflection

v       Assessing and acknowledging your achievements

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. The student will demonstrate knowledge of current issues in education using research and writings. (1.2.1 -1.2.11)
  2. The student will utilize critical thinking including the ability to analyze, evaluate, and creatively find solutions to current issues in education. (1.2.1 -1.2.11)
  3. The student will utilize writing to demonstrate the ability to think critically and to propose supportable solutions to educational issues. (1.2.1 -1.2.11)
  4. The student will demonstrate the ability to intellectually present and discuss educational issues. (1.2.1 -1.2.11)
  5. The student will demonstrate an understanding of what it means to be a reflective educator. (1.2.1 -1.2.11)

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Participation in weekly discussions

2.      Journal entries

3.      Series of papers leading to completion of chapters 1-3 of an action research proposal

4.      Proctored final examination


Quality Standards for Academic Writing at the Graduate Level
The research process is writing intensive; and you will find that this course is writing intensive. As you adhere to the following quality standards throughout this course, you will improve your performance and satisfaction greatly. A mini-paper is assigned Week 1 in order to illuminate possible problems that would require prompt remediation. Subsequent assignments – the Idea Paper, Working Abstract, IRB Application, Chapter Drafts – as well as your discussion posts – all require consistently solid graduate level writing.














The controlling idea not only is clear but also is particularly thoughtful or imaginative.

The text seems to the reader to be a full discussion. Makes use of material from supplied readings as well as ideas, experiences, or information originating in the writer. All material is integrated smoothly and supports the overall focus persuasively. The writer seems to be a thoughtful, critical reader of the material with a genuine personal "voice."

Easy to follow; the structure seems effortless because of smooth transitions and a convincing rhetorical pattern.

Reads exceptionally smoothly; the reader detects no errors in grammar, spelling, usage, punctuation, or APA style.




Focus is clear and sustained throughout; but perhaps not so original.

Incorporates source material appropriately in terms of content, and smoothly in terms of style. Personal ideas and experiences are added. The focus is clearly supported.

Employs clear paragraphing and a logical sequence of topics.


May contain an occasional problem in sentence structure or diction, but the reader is never seriously distracted.



Competent; the focus is clear but it seems commonplace or conventional.

Makes at least some use of the supplied readings and some other material to support its focus, though use may not always be relevant, and the sources not discussed critically.

Generally easy to follow, with reasonable paragraphing, though discussion may wander briefly.

Frequent mechanical problems distract reader temporarily, but one can always understand what the writer means.



Lacks focus.

Fails to provide coherent support for the general focus, makes no use of the sources, or makes frequent use of direct quotations (copying verbatim) without any introductory and concluding perspective, interpretation, application, etc. of this material.

Difficult to follow, either because the sequence of topics is not logical, because it is repetitive, or because the paragraphing is not helpful.

Demonstrates severe problems with sentence structure or word choice, such that the meaning is difficult or impossible to understand.

Discussion Participation
Quality Standards & Grading Criteria

Tallied weekly, as follows, 20 pts.

1) Initiative                              6                  

2) Expression                           6

3) Relevance and Merit            8

4) If > 3 writing errors           - 4           


Research Proposal               Grading Schema  

ED 629

Proposal Element


Proposal Topic/Title Page




Table of Contents


Area of Study 


Definition of Terms 


Paradigm and Assumptions 


History/Background of the Issue


Current Literature


Research Problem


Research Questions and Hypothesis


Research Design






Data Collection Procedures


Pilot Testing


Data Analysis Procedures


Limitations of the Study




References (Minimum 10, scholarly)


Mechanics (Grammar, spelling, punctuation, APA; format; length)


Any tables, illustrations, appendices are appropriate


Minus 10 points per day late


Total Points 


 Where paper excels 


 Recommendations to improve 



Weekly discussions
20 x 8 wks. = 160
Wed. & Sunday
Journal entries 
10 x 5 wks. = 50
Wed. & Sunday
Ideas paper
Wk. 1, Sunday
Working abstract
Wk. 2, Sunday
Ch. 1, first draft  
Wk. 3, Sunday
IRB assignment
Wk. 4, Sunday
Ch. 2, first draft
Wk. 5, Sunday
Ch. 3, first draft
Wk. 6, Sunday
Proposal (Ch. 1-3)
Wk. 8, Wednesday
Final proctored exam
Wk. 8, Sunday
Grades due Mar. 17
  Grading scale      

460 – 500 points

92 - 100%


415 – 459 points

83 -   91%


350 – 414 points

70 -   82%


300 – 349 points

60 -   69%


    0 – 299 points

 0 -   59% 


Late Submission of Course Materials:

Due to the accelerated nature of this course, late assignments cannot be accepted except under extreme circumstances and with prior approval from the Instructor. If you have a true emergency such as a death or sudden illness, it is your responsibility to make contact as soon as possible (or have someone acting on your behalf do so). Vacation, travel for work, or other events are not considered emergencies. Exception: Internet access problems during a military deployment.   

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Course Policies                                                                                                 

A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday at 11:59 p.m. MT. Monday of the Week 1 begins the term. Assignments scheduled for completion during a class week are to be completed and successfully submitted by the due date. Due to the brevity of this course, no exceptions can be made.


1.   The Announcements tool in eCollege is an important way the Instructor will communicate with you during the course. You are responsible for reading every Announcement, including the FAQs and the Home Page for each week in the course. If there are any changes required in assignments or due dates, they will be posted in the Announcements.

2.   The Instructor’s Office page contains a welcome message and contact information about your Instructor. If you have a question on the weekly course content, please use the Instructor's Office, so that all students can benefit.

3.   If your question is personal, such as grades, or a personal problem, please contact your Instructor through email. Send the email using the Email tool within eCollege, but select only the Instructor from the list! IMPORTANT: Unidentifiable messages are deleted unread. When sending email, be sure to include your name and ED554 on the subject line.

4.   The Student Lounge enables students to communicate with one another on side issues of interest to them.

5.   Introductions are an important aspect of an online class. During the first week, please post an introduction of yourself. You can also post other messages to your fellow students on this page, but they may or may not see your post. 

6.   The Dropbox is the route used for submission of assignments. With few exceptions your Instructor does not accept assignments as emailed attachments. Use the Dropbox (located at top of screen, second tab from right) to submit your papers.

7.   The Netiquette section on the Help and Resources page offers some helpful information about participation in an online class. At times when we discuss controversial topics, not everyone may agree with one other. We must remember that while each of us has a right to our own opinion, we must respect the right to differ. If anyone in class makes a comment you are uncomfortable with, please deal with it in an adult manner.

8.   Contact the Instructor if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions about the class. It is best to ask questions before an assignment is due, rather than after it has affected your performance and grade.

9.   IMPORTANT: Academic writing is habitual. All text communications should be written in a professional style, free of slang and jargon. To receive the participation grade you desire, be sure to proofread your messages. The discussion threads are not editable. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


Researchers, including adult education professionals, need solid critical thinking and academic writing skills. The requisite writing skills differ substantially from technical writing, email, text messaging, and the typical spoken conversation. You may write extremely well at this point; if so, this paper can reassure you. However, in the interest of your success in this writing-intensive course, during Week 1 you are asked to demonstrate your present writing skills. You are to present a coherent picture of your ideas and demonstrate critical thinking about the broader implications of a specific issue in adult education. Clear thinking, attention to detail, and critical analysis are important. The assignment can reveal deficiencies in writing related to grammar, spelling, subject/verb agreement, punctuation, proofreading, use of correction citation style, and such. Students who receive feedback indicating shortcomings are advised to remediate such deficiencies promptly. Resources available include Park’s Writing Center at http://www.park.edu/support/. SmarThinking is not available to graduate students free of charge through Park University at this time. 

Class Participation
Graduate work is enriched by exchange of ideas through dialogue; in this course you will have numerous opportunities for dialogue with classmates and the Instructor. The purpose of the weekly discussions is to foster collaborative learning through a sharing of ideas, perspectives, and experiences that inform our interpretation of the course materials and content. You are expected to read all discussion posts. Each week please post your initial response by Wednesday. This post (2-3 paragraphs) must include at least 2 salient points from that week’s readings to support your comments. Paraphrase – do not quote verbatim. Include a brief citation of the source. Add at least 2 more posts to the discussion by the end of the week (Sunday midnight). If additional questions are posted by the Instructor during the course of the discussion you should respond to them as appropriate. 


During the term you will have reactions, ideas, and thoughts about the content we are discovering. You are asked to keep a journal of your thoughts as a means of tracking of how your thinking evolves during the course. You will make a journal entry during Weeks 1-5 on your reactions to the course content. Grading will not be related to citations or content, but to your overall entry and reflection on that week’s work. To submit, access the Dropbox and click on Journal. Submit each entry by Sunday midnight.

Idea Paper – Working Abstract – Chapter Drafts

As the term proceeds, you will isolate, describe, and add detail to an action research project to be conducted during ED 630. We move progressively to help you crystallize your thinking on a topic. You will notice that there are no examples of research proposals provided for you. As explained in the course, the reason behind this is that there are many diverse and “correct” ways to develop a proposal. You would gain little by attempting to model your study after another investigation that is completely different from yours. If you have scant experience with research, you would do well to reading extensively and expose yourself to various styles and formats and methods as used in action research. Also, you should take full advantage of the assistance provided by the Park University Reference Librarians.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Application

During Week 4, after completing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tutorial and obtaining a certification, you will complete a web-based application form. Consider it good practice in preparation for Week 7, when you submit your research proposal as an IRB application, you should encounter no surprises.

Additional Requirements

Mandatory for successful completion of ED 629 – the following non-graded activities are required to pass the course:


·         Complete the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Extramural Research (OER) online tutorial, Protecting Human Research Participants.

·         Submit an IRB (Institutional Review Board) application (online) to the Park University IRB.

Proctored Final Examination                                                                                                          

A final examination will be taken in a proctored environment during Week 8 at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location. For proctored examinations, a photo identification card is required at the time of the test. Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Website. 

·         The student is responsible for making arrangements for a proctor. The deadline for this task is Friday of Week 4 of the term. Said proctor must be approved by the course instructor. 

·         Approval of proctors is made at the discretion of the instructor. 

·         A proctor request form will be made available during the first week of class.

·         Failure to take a final proctored exam will result in an automatic "F" grade for the course. 

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 25


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 25

Plagiarism can result promptly in a failing grade for an assignment and the course.

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain 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. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 29

Disability Guidelines:
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. In the case 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: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:1/1/2009 12:30:24 PM