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-Spring 2017

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
TU Campus
Class Meeting Dates: Thursdays 5:00-7:40pm
Class Meeting Location: HH0021
Howard County Cohort
Class Meeting Dates: Wednesdays 4:30-7:10pm
Class Meeting Location: Room 305

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

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 problem.
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 media.

Standards: This course is consistent with standards from the following sources:

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Proposition 3 Teachers are Responsible for Managing and Monitoring Student
Proposition 4 Teachers Think Systematically About Their Practice and Learn From
Proposition 5 Teachers Are Members of Learning Communities
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 (5 th ed.).
Pyrczack Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 9781936523306.

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

A=95-100% A-=90-94% B+=87-89% B=83-86% B-=80-82% 79%
F=69 and

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,

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

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 versa.
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:

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

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

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
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

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.

EDUC 761/ISTC 685 Syllabus

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.

TU classes will be canceled only when Towson University announces that classes will be
canceled. Announcements will be posted on the TU website (http://www.towson edu).
Howard County folks, please consult the Howard County Public School System website for
guidance on cancellations ( Towson University and other systems
usually inform media sources with closing information such as: WBAL Radio 11 (1090 AM),
WLIF (101.9 FM), 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
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
01/30/17 Course introduction Mills & Gay Chapters 1-3; Patten Part A:
Topics 1-7
02/06/17 Selecting topics Mills & Gay Chapter 4; Patten Part B: 8-11;
Discussion Board 1 02/10
02/13/17 Internal/External Validity threats; Types of Mills & Gay Chapter 7-8 and 22; Patten Part
Research Designs, Descriptive, C: Topics 12-18
02/20/17 Types of Research Designs: Descriptive, Mills & Gay Chapters 9 and 10; Discussion
Causal-comparative, Board 2 02/24
02/27/17 Types of Research Designs: Experimental, Mills & Gay Chapter 11; Patten Part D: Topics
Quasi-experimental, Single subject 19-21; Article review #1 due
03/06/17 Types of Research Designs: Replications, Patten Part E: Topics 22-26; Discussion
Meta-analysis Board 3 03/10
03/13/17 Sampling Mills & Gay Chapter 5; Patten Part F: Topics
27-31; Draft proposal due
03/20/17 Spring Break (TU only)
03/27/17 Measurement, Types of Measures, Mills & Gay, Chapter 6; Patten Part G: Topics
Reliability/Validity 32-36; Discussion Board 4 03/31
04/03/17 Research ethics Mills & Gay Chapter 12; Take home midterm
examination assigned Discussion Board 5
04/10/17 Spring Break (HCPSS only) Descriptive Mills & Gay Chapter 17-18; Patten Part I: 40-
statistics/Graphing methods 44; Discussion Board APA 04/14
04/17/17 Descriptive statistics/Graphing methods, Patten Part H: Topics 37-39; Article review
continued #2 due; Discussion Board 6 04/21
04/24/17 Inferential Statistics Research summary due; Mills & Gay Chapter
14 and 18; exchange of drafts for peer
05/01/17 Inferential Statistics, continued Patten Part I: Topics 68-74; Discussion Board
7 05/05
05/08/17 IRB application/peer feedback Mills & Gay Chapter 21; Patten Part J: Topics
45-49; Final proposal/IRB application due
(Friday for all)
05/15/17 (presentation day) Final presentation due