EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

EDUC 761/ISTC 685-Research in Education/Instructional Technology
Towson University-College of Education
Department of Educational Technology and Literacy-Fall 2016

College Mission: Inspire, educate and prepare facilitators of active learning for diverse and
inclusive communities of learners in environments that are technologically advanced.
Additional details about the College's Mission and Vision:

Instructor: Scot W. McNary, Ph.D.
Office Location: Towson University Hawkins Hall 0102F
Office Contact: phone: 410 704-4835 email:
Office Hours: By appointment
Class Meeting Dates: Tuesdays 5:20-8:00pm
Class Meeting Location: HH0219

Course Description: Theory and methodology of educational research. Students write a
research proposal and concentrate on elements of a research study, data collection, and
research literature in the fields of education, educational technology, and school library media.

Goal: The course is designed to introduce graduate students to theory and methodology of
research in education and educational technology. It provides an opportunity to identify a
significant research problem in the area of teaching and learning, elementary education,
secondary education, instructional technology, or school library media. The process of
developing the methodology for a research effort that addresses the identified problem allows
the graduate student to become familiar with the importance of elements in research design
when attempting to answer empirical questions. The research aspect of the course culminates
in a formal written and defensible research proposal with the potential to improve student
learning and teaching practices.

At the completion of this course, graduate students are expected to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts used in research reports in the area of
elementary education, secondary education, instructional technology, and school
library media.
2. Formulate a coherent statement of purpose for a research study concerning a specific
3. Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze research reports and to relate them to a
problem in elementary education, secondary education, instructional technology, or
school library media.
4. Demonstrate the ability to select data and analysis procedures appropriate for a
proposal for research in elementary education, secondary education, instructional
technology, or school library media.
5. Develop a research proposal related to a specific issue or problem in the area of
elementary education, secondary education, instructional technology, or school library

Standards: This course is consistent with standards from the following sources:
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Proposition 3 Teachers are Responsible for Managing and Monitoring Student Learning
Proposition 4 Teachers Think Systematically About Their Practice and Learn From
Proposition 5 Teachers Are Members of Learning Communities

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

Master of Education Program Goals
Goal 4: Use Technology to Enhance Learning
Goal 5: Understand and Use Appropriate Assessment and Evaluation to Enhance
Goal 6: Engage in Scholarly Activities
Goal 7: Think and Reflect Critically About Educational Processes and Professional
Maryland Teacher Technology Standards
Standard 1: Technology Information Access, Evaluation, Processing and Application
Standard 2: Communication
Standard 3: Legal, Social and Ethical Issues
Standard 7: Professional Growth

Course Texts:
Mills, G.E., & Gay, L.R. (2016). Educational research: Competencies for analysis and
application (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
ISBN: 9780133859386.

Patten, M.L. (2014). Proposing Empirical Research: A Guide to the Fundamentals (5th ed.).
Pyrczack Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 9781936523306.

Grading: This course is graded according to the following criteria.

A=95-100% A-=90-94% B+=85-89% B=80-84% C=70-79% F=69 and below

Course Evaluation Component Descriptions:
An Original Research Proposal
A research proposal is the final course paper and presents a major, term-long project. The
proposal is upon a topic of your choosing, but should be related to a significant school based
problem in the area of elementary education, secondary education, instructional technology,
or school library media. The written research proposal should be 8-10 pages (not including
references and appendix—not to exceed 12 pages), and be written in APA format. The
components identified below will result in a formal written and defensible research proposal
due at the end of the semester.

Research Proposal. This 8-10 page paper should clearly indicate your chosen
research topic, include the description of your research problem, as well as
clearly state the purpose of your proposed study. This statement will guide your
review of literature and research methods. You must use your own words in
your writing; direct quotes are only rarely needed. The proposal consists of two
sections: 1) an introduction section with a background, statement of the
problem, literature review, and statement of the hypothesis; and 2) a method
section, containing a description of the proposed sample, discussion of
measures to be used, description of the procedures to be employed, and a data
analysis description. Anticipated outcomes, implications, and a timeline are also
required. A reference list containing at least ten empirical papers is required.
All references in the list should be referenced in the body of the text and vice
Institutional Review Board Application (IRB Form). You will complete an IRB application
for your Research Proposal. It will become a part of your major project and will be
included in the appendix of your research proposal. IRB applications and information
can be found here:

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

Research Proposal Presentation. You will be expected to give an in-class presentation
of your research proposal, followed by brief class questions and/or discussion. This
presentation will highlight the major components of your final research proposal. It is
not necessary that you use a Powerpoint or other slide presentation, but you are
welcome to. The presentation should be five to seven minutes in length.

The above three items are due on the last day of class in hard copy.

Draft Research Proposal
Midway through the semester you will turn in a draft proposal. This will be an approximately
two page written document describing your research proposal including a background,
statement of the problem, review of literature, and methodology. A timeline is necessary to
include. At least two empirical references are required for the draft research proposal. You
must use your own words in your writing; direct quotes are only rarely needed. The draft
proposal is intended to provide you with an opportunity to receive feedback on your progress
and ideas. You will turn in a hard copy of the draft for feedback.

Article Reviews: Evaluation and Discussion of Research Reports (2 Articles, 1 peer review)
You will evaluate and discuss two primary research articles, focusing on specific sections of
each report. These evaluation exercises will help prepare you for developing your own
research proposal. You must use your own words in your writing; direct quotes are only rarely
needed. Chapters in the Gay et al. text and certain portions of the Patten workbook provide
guidance on the elements to address in your review.
There will also be a peer-evaluation review that you will conduct later in the semester in which
you will want to use similar skills to evaluate another classmate’s work. You will exchange
proposal drafts one week prior to the assigned class. You will read the other person’s draft
and prepare a set of comments and suggestions for improvement. During the lab section of
the next class meeting, you will exchange feedback on your respective drafts. Bring one hard
copy of feedback for your classmate team and one to turn in.

Research Summary
You will summarize ten of your empirical research articles in a spreadsheet provided on
Blackboard. Relevant background features of the studies will be encoded (author, date,
population, etc.) as well as overall findings and interesting observations about the study. A
‘vote count’ of how many articles of the ten show positive, negative, or null findings will help
with synthesizing findings in your proposal. Organizing the research articles in this way should
facilitate writing of the literature review by highlighting patterns of findings. You will turn in
a hard copy of the spreadsheet.

Chapter Discussion Questions on Discussion Board
Weekly assigned readings will have discussion questions posted on the Blackboard Discussion
Board that you will respond to with your own questions and comments. You are expected to
have read the relevant chapter or article and other posters’ comments before responding to
the question. Good comments should expand on other teams posted ideas, express
agreement or disagreement, and/or request clarification; all are valid means for referring to
earlier posts. These are due on the dates specified and are submitted on Blackboard only (no
hard copy needed).

Midterm Examination

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

You will take an examination that will you’re your understanding of the research concepts and
processes discussed in the textbook and during class meetings. The examination will include
multiple choice, short answer and/or essay questions. It will be administered as a take-home
time-limited examination. You will bring in a hard copy to turn in the next class after the
examination is assigned.

The following shows the relative influence of each assignment on the final course grade:
Part of Final
Component Grade
Draft Research Proposal 10%
Research Summary 10%
Article Reviews (2, plus 1 peer review) 15%
Discussion board posts (about 8) 5%
Midterm Examination 25%
Research Proposal (Presentation) 5%
Research Proposal (Final Paper/IRB application) 30%

Class Policies:
Academic Integrity.
You are expected to maintain a high standard of ethical conduct and academic integrity.
Cheating and plagiarism in preparing materials submitted as original work constitute a
violation of academic integrity. Penalties for academic dishonesty may result in failure for the
course. The university statement on academic integrity is here:

The following website has resources compiled by Sara Nixon at Cook Library for learning more
about plagiarism and how to avoid it:
Attendance is required. If you must miss a session for an emergency it is your responsibility
to inform the instructor prior to the missed class, seek notes from a classmate for the missed
class, and make up all work missed.

Class Participation and Homework.
Class participation by students is expected, and online discussions may be extensive some
weeks. Expect to interact often and at length with your peers during the course of the
semester. The main research materials will be at the library. Therefore, frequent visits to the
library (physically or virtually) are required for this class. Expect to spend an average of six
hours per week studying and preparing for classes.

Assignment Due Dates.
Students are expected to submit all assignments on the due dates and participate in all
discussions. Unless indicated by the instructor otherwise, submit the written assignments in
person in class the date it is due. Late assignments will incur a point reduction of 5% for each
day the assignment is late.

Class will be canceled only when Towson University announces that classes will be canceled.
Announcements will be posted on the TU website ( Towson usually informs
media sources with closing information such as: WBAL Radio 11 (1090 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM),

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

WWMX (106.5 FM), WYPR (88.1 FM), WBAL-TV (11), WJZ-TV (13), WMAR-TV (2), and the
Associated Press wire service.

Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance.
The following statement is taken from the Towson University Undergraduate Catalog (p. 39)
and from the Disability Support Services (DSS) website:
“Towson University is committed to providing equal access to its programs and
services for students with disabilities, in accordance with Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Disability Support Services is the office designated to provide reasonable
accommodations to students with disabilities. Students seeking
accommodations must identify themselves to DSS, request an appointment to
discuss their needs, and provide DSS with up-to-date and complete
documentation of their disabilities. DSS determines what accommodations are
reasonable on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the student’s
disabilities and needs, nature of their learning task, course standards and
essential requirements of the program of study, and educational environment.
Students are encouraged to register with DSS as soon as possible after
admission to the University to ensure timely provision of services.”
If you accommodations you should provide a statement to the instructor from the Towson
University Disability Support Services Office (410-704-2638) authorizing your

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

Tentative Course Schedule:
The following schedule may be adapted to meet the needs of the class. Chapter assignments
refer to chapters in Gay et al. (2012) and Patten (2014). Note that the week of the class
meeting is in the date column.

Week of Topic Assignment
08/30/16 Course introduction Mills & Gay Chapters 1-3; Patten Part A:
Topics 1-7
09/06/16 Selecting topics Mills & Gay Chapter 4; Patten Part B: 8-
11; Discussion Board 1 09/09
09/13/16 Internal/External Validity threats; Mills & Gay Chapter 7-8 and 22; Patten
Types of Research Designs, Part C: Topics 12-18
Descriptive, Correlational
09/20/16 Types of Research Designs: Mills & Gay Chapters 9 and 10; Discussion
Descriptive, Causal-comparative, Board 2 09/23; Article review #1 due
09/27/16 Types of Research Designs: Mills & Gay Chapter 11; Patten Part D:
Experimental, Quasi-experimental, Topics 19-21
Single subject
10/04/16 Types of Research Designs: Patten Part E: Topics 22-26; Discussion
Replications, Meta-analysis Board 3 10/07
10/11/16 Sampling Mills & Gay Chapter 5; Patten Part F:
Topics 27-31; Draft proposal due
10/18/16 Measurement, Types of Measures, Mills & Gay, Chapter 6; Patten Part G:
Reliability/Validity Topics 32-36; Discussion Board 4 10/28
10/25/16 Research ethics Mills & Gay Chapter 12; Take home
midterm examination assigned Discussion
Board 5 11/04
11/01/16 Descriptive statistics/Graphing Mills & Gay Chapter 17-18; Patten Part I:
methods 40-44; Discussion Board APA 11/11
11/08/16 Inferential Statistics Research summary due; Patten Part H:
Topics 37-39; Discussion Board 6 11/18
11/15/16 Inferential Statistics, continued Mills & Gay Chapter 14 and 18; exchange
of drafts for peer feedback; Article review
#2 due
11/22/16 IRB application/peer feedback Patten Part I: Topics 68-74; Discussion
Board 7 12/02
11/29/16 Overflow day
12/06/16 Writing day/TBA Mills & Gay Chapter 21; Patten Part J:
Topics 45-49
12/13/16 Writing day/TBA Final proposal/presentation/IRB application
12/20/16 (presentation day)