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Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, v4 n2 Article 5 2013

North American universities are encouraged to increase opportunities for undergraduate research experiences (UREs). To this end, many universities offer directed studies courses (DSCs) which are 1-2 semester long courses involving one-on-one instruction, with a focus on student-led independent research. Building on the understanding of dynamics generally related to UREs, this paper seeks to compare the motivations, benefits, and barriers specifically related to DSCs from student, instructor, and administrator perspectives. Based on a set of qualitative focus group discussions at a small undergraduate liberal arts institution, we present the similarities and differences in these perspectives and recommend a set of best practices for DSCs. All three groups reported motivations for engaging in a DSC that addressed working with a particular student or instructor, assistance with graduate school preparation, and meeting program requirements. In terms of perceived benefits of DSCs, both students and instructors indicated the mentoring relationship and practical outcomes arising from DSCs. Students recognized the benefits of developing research skills, but stressed the motivation and benefit of independent learning more than was found in other studies. Instructors focused on benefits of research engagement and relationship building. The major challenges to participating in DSCs were workload and time (all groups), unprepared students and lack of guidelines (instructors and administrators), and the oral presentation requirement and lack of information about DSCs (students). Based on these results, we suggest increased clarity in DSC expectations, consistent standards of quality, and promoting research processes common to the DSC's home discipline.

Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Administrator Attitudes, Student Research, Undergraduate Students, Higher Education, Individualized Instruction, Focus Groups, Mentors, Outcomes of Education, Research Skills, Interpersonal Relationship, Student Motivation, Teacher Motivation, College Faculty, Administrators, Comparative Analysis, Qualitative Research

Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Mills Memorial Library Room 504, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6, Canada. Tel: 905-525-9140; e-mail: info[at]cjsotl-rcacea.ca; Web site: http://www.cjsotl-rcacea.ca





Author: Hvenegaard, Glen; Link, Anne-Marie L.; Moore, Sean E.; Wesselius, Janet C.

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=954&id=EJ1016636







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