CEP 900 & 930, Summer 2010, EPET PhD Hybrid   Koehler / Roseth

Face-to-Face Schedule – June 21 – July 2

Meet in 133E Erickson Hall:

Mondays, 9 – 12, 1 – 3:30
Tuesdays, 9 – 12, 1 – 3:30
Wednesdays, 9 – 12
Thursdays, 9 – 12, 1 – 3:30
Fridays, 9 – 12

Online Schedule – July 5 – August 6

Meet online, using this website. Schedule available through the “schedule” tab at the top of this webpage.



Dr. Matthew J. Koehler (mkoehler@msu.edu, website)

Dr. Cary J. Roseth (croseth@msu.edu, website)

Graduate Assistants

Mete Akcaoglu (akcaoglu@msu.edu)
Megan Fedor (fedormeg@msu.edu)


CEP 900 Proseminar in Educational Psychology / Educational Technology

The Proseminar introduces students to the intellectual life of doctoral education in general and educational psychology and educational technology (EPET) in particular. Accordingly, the Proseminar introduces major theories and issues in education and will also be an important starting place for developing your skills in reading and writing critically about educational research. Most importantly, the Proseminar will also help you learn to conceptualize and conduct your own research on EPET issues.

Specifically, the Proseminar is designed to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Provide an overview of the major EPET theories and issues.
  2. Foster a general sense of EPET scholarship.
  3. Develop the ability and skills to appreciate and criticize EPET scholarship.
  4. Provide opportunities for students to become familiar with the research process, important tools, resources, as well as important professional activities and events in education research.

CEP 930 Educational Inquiry

CEP 930 provides students with an overview of the goals, methods, contexts, issues, problems, and consequences of educational research. The course places “educational research” into the larger context of “scientific inquiry,” with the latter presented as an important component of all educational activity. Key course themes include the origins of research questions, approaches to research, the evaluation of research results, and the rhetoric of educational discourse.

Specifically, CEP 900 is designed to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Provide an overview of inquiry in education and introduce a range of contemporary issues and problems in educational research.
  2. Develop the ability and skills to become critical consumers of published research.
  3. Develop introductory knowledge about modes of research (e.g., field studies, experimental, quasi-experimental, mixed modes) and issues that apply to all research (e.g., theoretical frameworks, validity, reliability, generalizability).
  4. Develop an understanding of the fundamental issues involved in various kinds of research, from both quantitative and qualitative traditions, including appreciation of the complementary nature of both kinds of methods and of the importance of multi-method approaches.


Required Readings

  • Derry, G.  (1999). What science is and how it works. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational psychology (11th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon. OR: Woolfolk, A. (2007). Educational psychology (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. All writing in this class will conform to APA standards, so it is very important for you to get familiar with the APA book. Much of educational research uses the APA guidelines for publication. Formatting is important.

In addition there will be a series of articles for the course.

Recommended Additional Materials

  • Campbell, D. T. & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Chicago: Houghton-Mifflin.
  • Alexander, P., & Winne, P. (2006). Handbook of Educational Psychology. 2nd edition. New York: Macmillan. Filled with over 30 different chapters covering most of the major areas of the sprawling field of educational psychology. Although not always a pleasure to read, the Handbook is an indispensable reference source.

Finally, we also recommend that you use a bibliographic database to document and organize what you read (CiteULike, Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley, etc.). It will make your academic life much easier if you get into the habit now of documenting and organizing what you read, taking notes, and keeping track of your thinking as you read. We will discuss bibliographic databases in depth during early class sessions, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of options. Please wait until after our discussions to choose a bibliographic platform.


  • Class Attendance. For the face-to-face sessions, students should attend every class, except in cases of illness and/or extenuating circumstances.
  • Incompletes. A grade of incomplete will be given only if (1) all completed work is satisfactory (i.e., averages 3.0 or better) and (2) there is a valid reason that you cannot complete the course. If interested in an incomplete, students should contact one of the course professors as soon as possible.
  • Students with Disabilities. If you are a student with a documented physical or learning disability, please contact one of us by the first week of class so that we can make arrangements for necessary accommodations.

Course Grades

Final grades will be assigned as follows, based on the total number of points you earn

4.0 = 94-100 2.5 = 78-82 1.0 = 63-67

3.5 = 89-93 2.0 = 73-77 0.5 = 58-62

3.0 = 83-88 1.5 = 68-72 0.0 < 58

The following weighting of the assignments will be used in determining course grades:

  • 30% Research Development Paper (RDP)
  • 30% Three Critiques of Empirical Research
  • 5% Online Portfolio
  • 30% Learning Activities (Constructive Controversies, Technology Projects, Discussion Forums)
  • 5% Two Annotations of Course Readings


The Research Development Paper (RDP)

The basic objective and structure of the RDP is given here; more detail will be provided later. The RDP is a written report of your semester-long activities and thinking about the nature of your evolving research interest and what you have learned about important concepts and research relative to that interest.

Importantly, the RDP should be conceptualized as an iterative, developmental process rather than a final product. The RDP process began with the statement that you wrote when you applied to the program and subsequent sections will recount how you have altered, reframed, or refined your interest during your first semester of coursework. Students whose interests do not change dramatically will be encouraged to push their research thinking and potential research designs as far as possible in one semester, potentially to include proposals to conduct research of their own. That said, the criteria for an “excellent” RDP will depend on the nature of your interests and how deeply they change during the semester. Don’t focus on final targets now; trust the process and focus instead on the next sensible step.

Three Critiques of Empirical Research

The Proseminar is an important site (though not the only one) for developing your skills to read and write critically about educational research. There is no more important component of academic literacy for you to develop, quickly and deeply, than the ability to “critique” empirical research, where ‘empirical’ refers to gathering data (hence, empirical) and drawing inferences from those data. Developing critical thinking skills will make you a better reader, a better writer, and a better speaker and thinker. Importantly, critical thinking skills will also make you a better researcher. To put it as concisely as possible, you cannot generate knowledge without learning first how to evaluate critically extant work.

It is important to understand that critical does not mean negative. Many cultures teach us to be appropriately respectful of the ideas of others, especially when they appear in print. Though respect is always an appropriate professional stance, all research – published and not – has limitations, holes, and sometimes, out-right errors. You will grow and develop as a scholar only as you learn to find these limitations, write about the unanswered questions, and point directly to errors of design and reasoning. All these things can be done respectfully.

Online Portfolio

As part of the Proseminar you will also create a Web site that will become a portfolio of your work. Please note: we will discuss the form and purpose of your online portfolio in Proseminar, but we will not focus on how to create web pages. It is up to you to decide what tools you will use to create your Web pages, and to learn to use those tools.

Your online portfolio should represent your intellectual work in the Proseminar and also serve as starting point for representing your work and interests throughout your doctoral studies. Specifically, your online portfolio should minimally include: Research Development Project, research article critiques, annotations of course readings, Curriculum Vitae (professional resume), other written work for this course.

Two Annotations of Course Readings

With classmates, you will write (and post online) two annotations of the weekly course readings. The purpose of writing these annotations is to promote your deeper attention and comprehension of the texts, to support richer class discussions, and to assess your mastery of the ideas in the readings. You will also begin to develop the important scholarly habit of writing regularly and thoughtfully.

Each annotation should consist of two parts. In Part 1, there should be a short summary of the piece. Although it is quite easy to cut-and-paste a summary or abstract of the reading, it is essential that you write in your own words. This is not a matter of academic honesty or plagiarism but, instead, basic cognitive psychology. As we will discuss in class, research shows quite convincingly that putting ideas in your own words (and especially writing ideas in your own words) is the best way to help you comprehend and remember new information. In Part 2 of your annotation, you should describe how you reacted to the ideas of the piece. What questions arose, what connections did you see to other things you have read, what connections did you see to things you have seen or experienced? As we will discuss in depth, this second step – i.e., making new information personally relevant – is also an essential part of the psychology of learning.

IF extremely well-written, a good annotation may be as short as a half-page (125 words), and should not exceed to pages (500 words). Remember, these annotations will be shared with your classmates and are for your collective use during this semester and beyond. We will periodically review and comment on your annotations.

Learning Activities

Constructive Controversies

To deepen understanding and enhance critical thinking thinks, you will engage in a series of Constructive Controversies. For example, during week one we will consider the controversy: “Should schools embrace computers and technology?” At the end of each controversy, you will work with a partner to write a brief (1/2 – 1-page, or 125 – 250 word) consensus statement reporting your final position on both sides of the controversy. Unlike traditional debates, however, where the goal is to ‘win’ the argument, the goal of our “constructive controversy” (and science in general) is (a) to ensure a full, and critical understanding of both sides of the issue, and (b) to synthesize respective positions in a consensus statement that includes only the best and most valid arguments from all sides of an issue.

Technology Projects

Two, technology-related projects have been designed to engage you in thinking about the affordances and constraints of using technology for educational purposes.

  • Using an audio interview to explore motivation
  • This I believe: Making research interests compelling using digital storytelling

Discussion Forums

Two different Discussion Forums will be used during the online portions of the courses. They include (a) weekly Base Group check-ins and checkouts and (b) reading discussion questions.

  • Base Groups – Base Group “check-ins” and “checkouts” are intended to personalize course material and help you perform at your highest level. Sample questions include: How did the last week go? Did you find something particularly interesting? What will you do differently this week and what will you do the same? Base Group posts should be thoughtful and encouraging. Bad posts are overly general – e.g., “Tough week.” Or, “Hang in there. Keep it up!” Good responses are specific – e.g., “I enjoyed the Great news about X… You’ve inspired me to try and do the same this week…” Or perhaps, “I’m sorry to hear about X… My work also involves these types of situations and, for what it’s worth, I’ve found that…”
  • Reading Discussion Questions – Each week you will be asked to respond to a list of questions related to the readings, the goal being to encourage understanding and critical thinking. Responses should not exceed 250 – 500 words (i.e., no more than 1-2 pages). Bad responses to reading discussion questions are vague and not at all well developed, whereas good responses are thoughtful and reflective. Thus, good responses incorporate course material(s) and involve cogent thinking; good responses also avoid simplistic over-generalizations and personal anecdotes.

In addition to posting your own responses to reading discussion questions, we also encourage you to respond to at least TWO classmates’ reading responses. Once again, the goal here is critical thinking, sharpening understanding, and making new connections. Responses to classmates’ posts should be written clearly and criticism should be courteous and respectful. Bad responses are overly general – e.g., “Nice post. Interesting ideas. Never thought of that.” Good responses are specific: “Your point about X made me think more about Y and the way it relates to Z…” Or, “Your summary of X surprised me, as I interpreted that to mean Y…”


Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.”

In addition, the (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu.)

Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use the http://www.allmsu.com web site to complete any course work in (insert course number here). Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including–but not limited to–a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work.

Deliberate alteration or deletion of official course documents on this website, or other misuse of editorial privileges are also considered to be a violation of the academic honesty and integrity policy with consequences for your grade, up to and include a failing grade on an assignment or the course.

See also http://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/honestylinks.html

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