EDU 595: Directed Study in Education or Behavioral Sciences - Page 2
Expanded description of course expectations
The focus of the course is on the construct of change in education or behavioral science. That is, you will be encouraged to think about a change that has occurred, is occurring, or is expected in the near future in some area related to your interests, and to develop a project that will allow you to analyze that change.
Some examples of significant past changes in education include the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court ruling regarding racial segregation of public schools, and Title IX. Some current changes include the recent practice of gender segregation in some classrooms in middle and secondary schools, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, and the growth in the number of English language learners in U.S. public schools. A change occurring now and on into the future is the impact of technology on education. If you were to select one of these changes as a focus, your project would be a description of the issue and the social, political, economic, cultural, or other forces that influenced it, are influencing it, or will influence it. Your project would also address what led (will lead) up to the change, what affected it, what appears to have been or will be the outcome, what further outcomes may be anticipated, what other solutions might have worked better, etc.
Another possibility would be to identify an area of education or behavioral science where you think change is needed. Again, you would research the issue thoroughly and then develop a project related to the topic. For example, suppose that in the work setting with which you are most familiar there has been a recent change in the demographics of the clients served. As a result, certain common practices aren't working as well now as they did before, and it seems that some changes will be needed. Your project would then consist of a full description of the issue; an analysis of social, political, economic, cultural, or other forces that seem to have led to the need for the change; a review of potential solutions or past efforts to address the issue, along with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of those efforts; and a well-developed proposal for addressing the issue, including not only a potential solution but a well-substantiated rationale for the solution and a methodology for evaluating the success of the solution.
Please note that regardless of the project you identify, you will be expected to do a thorough review of relevant literature to determine what has been done before and how successful past efforts have been. This will involve finding journal articles, texts, online resources, microfilm and microfiche, etc. Furthermore, as part of analyzing the problem or issue, you may need to interview people, conduct a survey, or otherwise collect some information that will help to build the case for the concern you have identified or the solution that you propose. In some cases, where feasible you may be expected to try out your solution on perhaps a pilot basis, or at least describe fully a method for testing out the proposed solution. What group will be studied, and how, and what data will be required to determine the success of your proposed solution? How will you know if the solution is workable?
Suggestions for preparing to work on the project
As this project is designed to be the culminating experience of your program, you should begin thinking about it as soon as possible.
- Develop some potential topics at the beginning of your matriculation in the program.
- Approach your other courses with the potential project in mind, perhaps using course readings and assignments to help you prepare.
- Narrow down the list of topics by selecting a particular population of persons (e.g., alcohol abusers, smokers, children of immigrants, GED students, students with special needs, displaced workers, etc.) and a particular work or educational setting.
- Having identified a population and a setting, investigate relevant historical trends or current issues to determine either a past change that you can analyze or a problem in need of a solution.
- Prepare a brief proposal for your project, following guidelines provided by your faculty supervisor.
- Secure your faculty supervisor's approval of the topic and project.
- In the event that Western's library does not have certain books or journals that you need, begin your literature review early enough to allow yourself time to request materials through interlibrary loan, if necessary.
- Set (and strive to meet!) realistic deadlines for completion of the various parts of your project so that you can meet the project due date established by the faculty supervisor
Registering for EDU 595
At the time that you meet with your advisor to prepare your program of studies (Form B/C), discuss with your advisor the semester when you hope to be ready to enroll in EDU 595 taking into account the need to have completed all other core requirements except the practicum/internship requirement. It will be your responsibility not only to develop a project focus for the directed study but also to ask a faculty member to supervise the directed study. Once you have developed a tentative project focus, your next step should be to discuss your ideas for your project with appropriate faculty members (generally, those from whom you have taken courses, or those with expertise related to your project's focus), and seek agreement from one of them to serve as your faculty supervisor. When you are ready to register for the course, contact the program coordinator to ask to be cleared to register. At that time you will be expected to tell them the faculty member who has agreed to supervise your project. The program coordinator will arrange for you to be cleared to register, and then you will be able to do so on TopNet.
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