I have been physically absent from the meetings (and for that I apologize), but RSD is mentally present many times a week. In this post I’ll talk about incorporating research on a course-specific level.
The first half of my communication course was focused on getting students getting used to the idea of research and also showing them that as journalists/communicators in the classroom, they were already doing lots of research (and would need to continue to do so in their fields). I slowed down the development of the research project they are working on and took a week with each stage instead of a class session with each stage. I’m curious to see how everything turns out a the end of the term. They started with independent exploratory research and moved to collaborative research. They developed research questions and identified secondary and primary sources and parameters for projects. And now the findings — the fun part (at least in my mind ; )
As I go through my lessons and this process, I started thinking about the indecisiveness I have about an aspect of RSD. My courses that have the most research components don’t have research in their course titles or descriptions and this might be a good thing. Students don’t come to the course with preconceived notions about what the course will be like. That said, I talk about research from day one, and I wonder if that is a mistake.
I love research because it’s a process of discovering and finding out things that are totally new (or at least new to me.) Would calling this process something else — like “discovery” or “investigation” — get students more engaged from the get-go? Or does that make it confusing when they start to compare research amongst their courses and the various disciplines on campus? Should prioritize having a common language across campus about what research is, or should we focus on getting students engaged on a course-by-course level?