OTL201 – Post 6B

For Lesson four of OTL201 I have decided to highlight two activities that I incorporated into RSMT 3501, Introduction to Research Methods. One of the activities, the Tri-Council Tutorial on Research Ethics (TCPS 2: Core tutorial), is highlighted in Post 6a. The second activity, highlighted here, was taken from Module 2, having students learn the importance of sample size in research studies utilizing surveys. These activities are taken from the courses Blackboard Learn site at:

https://blearn.tru.ca/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&mode=designer&content_id=_187906_1&course_id=_2889_1&framesetWrapped=true

The directions for the survey methods from the course, the topic for this post, follows.

“Surveys: Module 2 – Lesson 5

  • Read the following course notes “Survey Research Methods,” and review The Survey System website at http://www.surveysystem.com/sdesign.htm. Start thinking about the criteria that should be used in the evaluation in the design of a survey. Also, consider how the criteria for evaluating a study that uses survey data will differ from those using experimental approaches. Use the sample size calculator (on The Survey Systems website) at http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htmto investigate the relationship between sample size, confidence interval, and confidence limit.’

 

The above directs students to visit two websites. The first supplements material provided in the module and introduces students the importance of setting sample size in order that the survey results provides statistically significant findings. The second website contains a calculator that shows how the confidence interval and confidence limits of the results vary with the sample size of the study. Understanding these relationships will allow students to evaluate published research studies and design their own projects now or later in their careers.

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OTL201 – Post 6a

For Lesson four of OTL201 I have decided to highlight two activities that were incorporated into RSMT 3501, Introduction to Research Methods. One of the activities, the Tri-Council Tutorial on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2: Core tutorial), is introduced in Module 1 of the course but is a component of the student’s Major Project. The Tri-Council represents NSERC, SSERC and CIHR, Canada’s three research funding bodies and all studies they fund must adhere to strict animal and human subject ethics protocols. The second activity was taken from Module 2, having students learn the importance of sample size in research studies. These activities are taken from the courses Blackboard Learn site at:

https://blearn.tru.ca/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&mode=designer&content_id=_187906_1&course_id=_2889_1&framesetWrapped=true

The description for the TCPS tutorial from the course, the topic for this post, follows.

“Introduction

During the next lesson, we will continue to examine research ethics. One of your main activities for the course will be to review and complete the TCPS 2: CORE tutorial, http://tcps2core.ca/welcome.

This activity will take you at least six hours to complete. You may want to take time this week to start the tutorial. This is an important component of the course which will inform how you approach research and research questions throughout, so it is suggested that you complete it as soon as possible. However, since it requires a large time commitment, this component of the final project will be due at the end of Module 2, though it is suggested that you complete it earlier.

TCPS 2: CORE Tutorial

Research with humans must be done using standards that meet the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).

The Tri-Council has created the TCPS 2: CORE (Course on Research Ethics) online tutorial athttp://tcps2core.ca/welcome to provide researchers with an overview of the standards. This highly interactive tutorial provides you with a thorough foundation in ethics that is applicable to all disciplines and methodologies. The tutorial includes case studies, examples for you to work through, and quizzes. You are expected to complete all website interactive components, as doing so will assist you with learning key ideas, such as the three core principles of TCPS 2 and learning the terminology, and provide you with a reference for future consultation. Completing the tutorial will also give you an idea of what you must be aware of when creating a research proposal.

In addition, a study guide is available for you to download from their site has been created for you to help guide you through the tutorial. Click here to download the TCPS 2 Study Guide.

To complete this tutorial, first create an account at the TCPS 2: CORE website, http://tcps2core.ca/welcome.

  • At the site, click CREATE ACCOUNT.
  • On the next page, click Create new account here.
  • For Affiliation, select Other.
  • For Please specify Affiliation, type Thompson Rivers University.
  • For Email, use your @tru.caemail address.
  • Activate TCPS 2: CORE when you receive the email with the activation link.
  • You will be asked to participate in a pre-questionnaire—it is your decision whether or not you want to participate.
  • Also, you may need to download the most current version of Adobe Flash Player.

TCPS 2: CORE recommends that first-time users read its User Guide, which provides tips for first-time users on navigating the modules. Also, there is an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) link and a glossary of acronyms and research terms. The tutorial has eight modules. As you work through the tutorial, the site automatically provides links, on its Dashboard, to your place in the tutorial.

Upon completion of the online tutorial, you will receive a certificate (as a PDF) from the TCPS 2: CORE website. Download and submit the certificate to your Open Learning Faculty Member. Completion of this certificate will be worth 5% of the Final Project’s total mark and is required to complete the course.”

RSMT 3501 introduces students to evaluate published research and design their own research projects. Given that all credible studies must follow ethics guidelines set out by national, provincial or state and institutional standards, this activity is invaluable. The Tri-Council resource is available to students for their life-long research endeavours.

OTL201 Post 3b

OTL201 Post 3b

For Lesson two of OTL201 I have decided to highlight two activities that I incorporated into BIOL 3131, Introduction to Biochemistry. Both activities are complementary to the student’s completion of their Major Project, writing a review essay on a biochemical topic of their choice. One post will describes the Literature Update activity assigned the students, whereas the next post describes the Author Correspondence activity. These activities are taken from the courses Blackboard Learn site at: https://blearn.tru.ca/bbcswebdav/pid-119740-dt-content-rid-234654_1/courses/OL_BIOL_3131_OV0_Smith_May_2014/assessments/assess.html?target=blank

The description for the Author Correspondence activity from the course, the topic for this post, follows.

“Author Correspondence—5%

There is often a lag between when experiments are completed and when a scientific study is published. Typically, the most recently published scientific work is 6 months to a year out of date. In order to report on the current state of knowledge on your topic for your major project you will be sending an email to the corresponding author of one of your recently-published cited articles. In your email you should identify who you are, what course you are taking, your interest in the author’s research and inquire into any new developments they have had since publication. You should include this information in your paper as it may help you describe future research or recommendations. Use a text citation format such as, personal information, Dr. Smith, TRU. Submit your email correspondence to your Open Learning Faculty Member and then use the correspondence in your final paper.”

The assignment is linked to one of the learning outcomes identified in the course, namely that students will be able to “search, retrieve, evaluate and synthesize information”. This activity is worth more to the student than the 5% they are credited with in the course. It’s my experience that many undergraduate and, even more troubling some graduate students, are very passive and shy away from in retrieving information and making contact and communicating with subject experts. In a high proportion of the student’s communication with the authors they contact they learn that the experts are just people and generally love to discuss their work. The skills learned from this activity are transferable and can be used in other courses and lifelong learning. I’ve even heard that a few students have successfully used similarly structured emails to introduce themselves to prospective graduate supervisors.

There aren’t any links I can provide for this activity and it doesn’t lend itself for a next step.

OTL201 – Post 3a

OTL201 Post 3a

For Lesson two of OTL201 I have decided to highlight two activities that I incorporated into BIOL 3131, Introduction to Biochemistry. Both activities are complementary to the student’s completion of their Major Project, writing a review essay on a biochemical topic of their choice. One post will describes the Literature Update activity assigned the students, whereas the next post describes the Author Correspondence activity. These activities are taken from the courses Blackboard Learn site at: https://blearn.tru.ca/bbcswebdav/pid-119740-dt-content-rid-234654_1/courses/OL_BIOL_3131_OV0_Smith_May_2014/assessments/assess.html?target=blank

The description for the Literature Update activity from the course, the topic for this post, follows.

“Literature Update

As part of your major project you will need to gather 10 or so more references that relate to your chosen topic, the more current the references the better. In the first week of the course you will complete the following tutorial on how to search for relevant literature using the Science Citation Index (SCI). Once you have selected a topic and conducted your original search you will set up a weekly alert through the SCI. The alert signals the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI), the publishers of SCI, to email you all the citations for all the articles identified by your search during the last week. Forward a copy of the email from SCI each week for 5 weeks, beginning in the fifth week of the course, in order to get credit for this assignment. It is not necessary to get any hits with your alerts to get full marks. Your Open Learning Faculty Member will post a reminder in the course schedule for you to get started on this part of the project.”

The assignment is linked to one of the learning outcomes identified in the course, namely that students will be able to “search, retrieve, evaluate and synthesize information”. This activity is worth more to the student than the 5% they are credited with in the course. It’s my experience that few undergraduate and, even more troubling some graduate students, haven’t been made aware of or utilize the tools available to them for searching and retrieving information. The skills learned from this activity are transferable and can be used in other courses and lifelong learning.

Those interested in trying to set up search can do so through most article databases. I chose to direct students to Science Citation Index because of the citation search feature of the index. The link for the resource for those with TRU credentials follows.

https://ezproxy.tru.ca/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fwebofknowledge.com%2f%3fDestApp%3dWOS%26editions%3dSCI

Although not supported in the course, students could be directed to further their knowledge of skills regarding the searching, retrieval and management of information. One such tool embedded in most databases is a reference management system (one such example is Write and Cite). This tool helps organize the information the students retrieve and saves them considerable time in writing their assignments.