Since being an undergraduate student, I've always felt that regular discussion and feedback with mentors is pivotal in guiding a student's learning process. My primary supervisor and I have set up weekly short meetings starting today. It will keep me on track and allow me to quickly receive input on a regular basis. An MRP such as this is a large undertaking and meeting regularly with my supervisor will allow me to break the process into small manageable milestones. I am grateful for a supervisor that is so dedicated to her students and their research.
Weekly Meetings with my Supervisor
Beginning the REB Application Process
Since my project is focused on measuring learning by conceptual change of undergraduate students, it is important to complete a research evaluation. Of course, that also means completing a Research Ethics Board (REB) application to protect the participants involved. It's a long and daunting form. I need a gameplan and some time to mull over some of the questions such as the purpose of my project and the recruitment method. The project is satrting to come to life!
The project proposal is meant to inform people such as my commitee, granting agencies, and scholarship committees, what my research is about and why it is worth doing. It is also a map as I embark on this long journey so I have something to refer to when I am not certain how to move forward. There is always a methodology to designing and this document will help guide the process.
The purpose of creating a literature review and resource audit is to ensure that the media resource that I am proposing does not already exist. It will also help to identify gaps that my project will fill and determine what has already been done in the subject area. It will also help in critically evaluating existing resources to help me in defining the challenges I will face when designing my own project. I have found quite a few resources on molecular simulations and explorative learning tools that were created in conjuction with University research studies in student learning. It is also a great starting point since there is already a wealth of knowledge and research on higher learning pedagogy so I will not have to reinvent the wheel.
Initial Committee Meeting
This was my first full committee meeting. It was a joint meeting with a peer who I will be working closely with this year as we are creating different projects with related goals for the same committee. It will be interesting to see what our findings are at the end of our evaluation. In the meantime, I was prepared for this meeting with research articles handy, an agenda, some questions I had, and the desire for creating an outline for this project. We did not cover the agenda, and my committee members led the meeting which actually really turned out well. I have a better sense of what they are looking for in these projects - and as expected left the meeting with some questions I will need to look into and research. These projects always turn out to be much less linear than anticipated but I am becoming comfortable with learning to navigate these challenges.
Familiarizing Myself with the Research
Mendeley is my absolute favourite research tool. It allows me to store articles that I find in neat folders, with the reference information available readily. It is also easy to export citations for reference lists. This does this all with the click of a button! Naturally I was thrilled when I met with my supervisor for the first time and she suggested that we use Mendeley. She has created a group account and shared some of the literature to get me started, and I will be able to add to the list as I complete further research. There is a large scope to read up on, namely higher education pedagogy, biology misconceptions, 21st century teaching, interactive teaching tools, and so forth. I've started reading through and mentally making connections between the touchpoints so I can have a productive discussion at my first committee meeting. Until then there is a lot more research to be done!