Inquiry through Blended Learning

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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Monday, April 07, 2014

Utah Trip - March 2014

I had the opportunity to travel to Utah for a conference on Undergraduate Student Research at Utah ValleyUniversity.  En route, I spent a day at Brigham Young University with Dr. Charles Graham and his graduate students.  This was a particularly stimulating experience for me as Charles has a tremendous amount of experience in the field of blended learning and it was fascinating to learn about the research that his graduate students are conducting in this area.  I was honoured to facilitate a noon hour session about my own research related to Student Engagement and Blendedlearning, which was followed by their weekly Wednesday community lunch.

The Undergraduate Student Research Conference was equally as stimulating as I am trying to get a grasp on this approach to learning for my own teaching practice at Mount Royal University.  The highlight of the conference for me were the four keynote sessions.  The first session by Dr. Ed Nuhfer entitled Turning Undergraduate Research (Original Scholarship) into a Model ofReflective High Impact Practices really set the tone for the conference. Ed really demonstrated how important undergraduate research is for helping students develop their reflective and critical thinking “habits of mind”.

Next up was Dr. Jenny Shanahan, the Director of Undergraduate Research at Bridgewater State University. Here session was entitled Inspiring Student Inquiry in Courses that Matter: The Casefor Undergraduate Scholarship across the Curriculum. Wowsa, Jenny clearly demonstrated how undergraduate research is one of the key high impact practices!!  She also introduced me to the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and I’m going to be using these resources along with Jenny’s to make a case for undergraduate research for our B.Ed. program at MRU.

And, then there was Dr. SusanLarson, a Canadian working at Concordia University in Minnesota who demonstrated the importance of Using Assessment of Undergraduate Research toImprove Programming and Student Outcomes. Again, some great CUR resources that I plan to share with our Office of Research Services to promote a strategy for undergraduate research at MRU.

Finally, there was Dr. Norm Jones from Utah State University who spoke about Undergraduate scholarship and Other High Impact Practices: Assessing theOutcomes not the Content.  Norm introduced me to the Lumina Foundation and their Degree Qualification Profile2.0 and the Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP): Implications forAssessment document.