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Week 1: Introduction

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[B, the "teacher," enters class a few minutes late as A and other students discuss how long they have to wait before leaving.]

B. Ok! This is class. Welcome.

A. Gee, thanks.

B. This first week...

A. [Raising hand] Excuse me? Why are you B, especially since you spoke first?

B. Because you're reading this, and since you are you, you should be A. I don't want to be characterized as a member of some repressive instructional regime for relegating students to B. status.

A. Whatever. So how does this class work?

B. Well, start out by reading the Syllabus thoroughly. The class is taught entirely online. So each week you come to the course site, read the materials for the week, and complete the assignments. There are times on the syllabus when you can show up for optional chats if you crave synchronous communication. And then there are the even more optional face-to-face socials we'll have during the semester...

A. Sounds kind of boring.

B. I hope to convince you otherwise. If for no other reason, the course will be fairly interesting because you'll spend a lot of time arguing and discussing with me and other students. More time, I dare say, than you would in a face to face course. And then there's the subject matter... quite engaging I think. I mean, what other course assigns you to do things most parents scream at their kids about?

A. Well I'll be the ultimate judge of whether the course is any good or not. So what are we getting into this first week?

B. Glad you asked. The goal this first week is to get you prepared to succeed the rest of the semester [and, actually, for sometime thereafter].

A. So that involves things like telling me all the questions that will be on the test ahead of time, etc.?

B. Actually, it involves giving you some super-foundational information that will be useful to you for this class and the rest of your program / career.

A. What could possibly be so useful?

B. Some basic information related to carrying out research.

A. I thought the research methods courses came later in the program?

B. They do. I'm talking about research ethics.

A. So wait a second. This class is about doing research?

B. Living life is about doing research. At the highest level, research is about carefully observing and trying hard to understand the world around you. You won't do "hard core" research in this class. But the little bit of observing and thinking you will do should be done with ethics in mind.

A. So you're assuming I'm an evil human being, without ethics, and need to be instructed in how to be Good, True, and Kind?

B. Not exactly. You probably don't realize it, but as an educational researcher associated with USU, there are professional codes of conduct that govern your behavior as a researcher. To get a feel for what these are, there are two things you should do:

  1. Head over to the NIH Online Training Course and take the tutorial there on protecting human subjects .

A. [Raising hand again] Excuse me! I went over to the tutorial but it says I have to register!! What gives?

B. Umm. You interrupted my list, but anyway, yes you have to register. Registration's free, and you get a little certificate at the end. It's actually kind of important later in the program [e.g., in order to do your dissertation] to have that certificate printed out and put in a folder somewhere.

A. I hate sites that make me register.

B. Me too, but get over it. Back to my list.

  1. Second, you'll want to read through the Association of Internet Researchers' ethics guide ( PDF ) for doing online research. There's no registration, tutorial, or certificate. But you'll need to know this stuff to work on the kinds of assignments we'll do this semester.

A. Uh, hello. It's sort of long.

B. It's 30 pages. This is graduate school. Get over it.

A. Ok, ok. So is that all for the week? Everything I need to succeed?

B. No. There's one more thing you need to do this week. You need to set up a blog.

A. Why do I need to set up a blog?

B. To participate in the class, and do semi-useful things like post assignments and receive points. Parenthetically, I should mention that if you already have a blog you want to use, you're welcome to do that.

A. I thought blogs came later in the semester...

B. They do. We'll cover blogs in quite a bit of detail then. For now, you just need to get one created and figure out how to post messages on it.

A. So is this the worst type of learning by doing or what? Don't I get any help?

B. Yes, of course. Go to Blogger and use their completely free service to setup a blog. You should be able to do this in [literally] 120 seconds. If you hit a snag at all, the help is superb.

A. So that's it? Just go make a blog?

B. Not quite. Try doing the following. Actually, don't just try -- definitely do these things, since points are attached to this assignment.

Assignment: Hello World

  1. Create your own blog on Blogger as above.
  2. Make a post that says "Hello World!" like this post does.
  3. Copy the URL of your blog out of your browser's address bar.
  4. Come back to this page, click the "add comments" button at the bottom of the page, and put the URL of your blog in a comment so that I can find it.

If you don't remember when this assignment is due, check the Syllabus . That's all for today.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Week 1: Introduction. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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