Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1986398-Applied-Dissertation-Seminar-Activities
Rated: 18+ · Other · Educational · #1986398
An attempt to implement a strategic plan to carryout an applied dissertation.
NAME  Claude H.A. Simpson                                  ITDE 10                                   
                                                                               Applied Dissertation Seminar I


To begin your applied dissertation work, you will need to set up a desk, work station, or briefcase with the following materials:

                                                       x                         Applied Dissertation Guide
                                                       x                         Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (4th Edition)

                                                       x                         Dictionary

                                                       x                       Thesaurus


In your applied dissertation, you will be asked to review the literature related to your topic. When did you last write a review of the literature?          Date: May ’xx.
Please answer the following questions with Yes or No.
1.          Are you currently using NSU’s Electronic Library?  Yes.          
2.          Do you use another resource for electronic library services?  No.          
3.           If “Yes,” indicate the name of the resource.

Read the Applied Dissertation Guide, and jot down any questions that you want to ask at the seminar or when you talk to your adviser.

         1.What is the recommended target group size if the implementation involves adults?
         2.What are the minimum number of references?

         (List all your questions).

Return to the Applied Dissertation Guide, and review the pages that contain specific information about the expectations for reviewing literature for the applied dissertation.  Write a paragraph summarizing your findings.

It is emphasized that a review of related literature will widen the scope of one’s thinking and as such will expand the potential for solutions. The literature review should be fully covered in the proposal. It should provide current findings and should conclude with a summary statement that ties the bibliographic research to the specific problem in the work setting.

Complete the seminar activities A through E.  The activities are to be word processed.  Keep in mind that the activities are process exercises and will not be graded.  At this point, stay open to the experience.  The problem that you select for these exercises may or may not be the problem you will use for your applied dissertation.  Do not try to form closure on the specific problem that you want to solve for the applied dissertation.  It is too early in the game to do that!  Stay with the process!

Following the first seminar, you will be assigned an adviser and you will have an introductory teleconference.  That phone call with your adviser will assist you in defining parameters for applied dissertation success.

When we attempt to define a problem, we usually jump to a solution.  You probably can cite many examples of changes that have been made in your work setting, in curriculum, in agency policy, or in staffing that resulted in a waste of time and money rather than in bringing about a solution to the problem.  Change that is made without a comprehensive analysis of the situation usually does not solve the problem.

Our first task is to define a problem clearly without thinking about solutions.  To develop the mind set that you will need, complete all sections of Activity A, then move to the other activities, following the directions for each exercise.  Activity B and C are designed to assist you with problem generation.  Move along the path to applied dissertation success!  There are no right or wrong answers to the process activities.

Activity D asks you to support your “practice problem” with evidence and your vision.  Activity E directs your attention to the causes of your “practice problem.”


Finally, fill out the enclosed Student Information Form for Applied Dissertations.  The information will be used when we assign your applied dissertation adviser. Please be sure to fill out the form completely.

Bring a HARD COPY of the completed seminar materials with you to the seminar, including your responses to Step 1.  This work will not lock you into a particular applied dissertation problem but will be the basis for our seminar session and will provide information to your adviser.  An adviser will not be assigned until all the seminar assignments are completed and submitted to the applied dissertation office.  Please be sure to include page 1 of this seminar assignment when you turn in your work.

Name: Claude H.A. Simpson        Cluster: 10                        Date:  July 23, xxxx _________                                         

Activity A - Work Setting and Writer's Role

(Applied Dissertation - Chapter I)

1.          Write a brief paragraph that describes your work setting.  Do not include the name of the organization or the name of the community.  Write in the third person.  (Avoid the use of I, me, and our.  Instead, refer to yourself as the writer.)  What social or cultural factors make your work setting unique?  Describe the population and the staff.  Describe your work setting in general terms that make it similar to other programs.  Then be specific about factors that make it unique. Your description should be approximately one page in length (word processed, double spaced).

         The institution in which this project will be implemented is a teachers’ college which is situated in a southeastern city in a Caribbean island. The community surrounding the college is a densely populated commercial and residential one. The socioeconomic status of the community is predominantly low but members and friends of the college although relatively poor do make an effort to support the institution in fund raising activities. People from the community make an effort to volunteer their time in order to help with programs such as field trips, beautification of the campus, and educational tours. The student population is about 1000 with a ratio of about 4:1 males to females. The students and staff are predominantly black. The faculty and staff include 40 lecturers, five paraprofessionals, six full-time custodial workers, nine office (clerical) staff, a guidance counselor, a vice principal, and a principal. There are several programs in place at the college that are progressing successfully to meeting the needs of the students and the community on a whole. The programs are: full-time day college, part-time/evening college, pre primary education, primary education, health services, community service, and job placement service. The college fulfills its’ mission to educate and evangelize, striving for excellence in service and stewardship in preparing students for the teaching profession. The college is committed to fostering: a relationship with God, dignity, a sense of community, professionalism and care of the earth. The college’s policy is to continue to build a school community where the harmonious development of the entire person is fostered.     

2.          Briefly describe your role in the work setting.  Refer to yourself as the writer.  Include any training or background experience that makes you "the expert" in your particular role.  Your description should be approximately one page in length.

         The writer has been a teacher for 20 years. The writer is a specialist mathematics tutor and lectures to juniors and seniors at the college level. The writer is chairman of the newly formed Technology Development Program and is a tutor in computer education. The writer is one of two representatives, teaching lecturers at the college how to use a software (Virtual U) to put courses online.
            The writer has earned a diploma in Industrial Technology and Education, a bachelors in Education, and a masters of science in Mathematics and Education. The writer has training in Computers for Teachers and Administrators at the post graduate level.
Activity B - Problem Generation
(Applied Dissertation - Chapter II)

Part I:  Use the spaces below to come up with situations, conditions, or programs that need to be improved.  These situations must relate to the use of instructional technology and distance education.  Generate a list of tentative problem situations.  Idea generation is a process that defers judgment or evaluation.

Caution:  Do not indicate what you will do about the problem.  If your statement begins with a verb, it is a solution, not a problem.  The action component (the "doing" part, the implementation) relates to solutions.  Stay in the problem mode, and do not consider solutions at this time.  Avoid statements that begin with "lack of" something.  Such statements usually imply a solution.

1.  Student teachers are having difficulty learning mathematics.

2.  Student teachers are having difficulty obtaining current information for their research.

3.  Student teachers are having difficulty coping with the teaching practice exercise.

4.  There is no technology plan in place.

5.  Inadequate access to computers by staff and students.

6. Interaction between students and lecturers during the delivery of lessons is almost non-existent.

7.  Centers for distance education are not available.

8.  Incompleteness of curriculum.

9.  There exist a serious under-funding of college program.

10. Fund raising activities take a lot of instructional time.

11.The curriculum is structured to accommodate direct instruction via the traditional pedagogies.
12.Students are having difficulty linking theory and practice in the absence of instructional media.
13.          Low achievement in Mathematics.
14.          The over use of the lecture method as the main form of delivery for direct instruction.
List more than 10 if you are "in the flow."

Part II: Develop problem statements for your situations above.  Begin with “The problem is that…” A problem statement should answer the “So what?” of the situation.  For example, a situation might be that computers aren’t being used by teachers.  Why is this a problem?  What is happening or not happening because of this?  A related problem statement, as an example, is that grades are not up to date in the school’s electronic database so transcripts are incomplete.

Translate the situations you listed in Part I of this exercise into problem statements:

1.  The problem is that grades for mathematics in the Joint Board of Teacher Education Examination are predominantly low.

2.  The problem is that grades for research papers are below standard.

3.  The problem is that too much time is spent making and constructing teaching aids so there isn’t adequate time for instructional planning.

4.  The problem is that teachers and students are not able to use the technologies to enhance learning.

5.  The problem is that teachers and students are not able to use the computers to assist in instruction and learning.

6.  The problem is that teachers rely too much on the traditional approaches in the delivery of instruction, so students are limited in their ability to explore and investigate.

7.  The problem is that students are not given the opportunity to experience distance (dual-mode) learning.

8.  The problem is that students are not able to do some of the questions on the examination so they get low grades.

9.  The problem is that some of the college programs are not functioning effectively so students suffer.

10. The problem is that students miss out on a lot of instructional time and hence poor results.
11. The problem is that teachers do not use technology to assist in direct instruction as technology is not integrated into the curriculum.
Activity C - Problem Articulation

(Applied Dissertation - Chapter II)

1.          Select one problem from your problem list, and focus on it for the next exercises.  Write the problem statement below.

The problem is that grades for mathematics in the Joint Board of Teacher Education are predominantly low.

2.          Write a short letter about your problem.  Describe the situation as if you were writing to a consultant.  Elaborate to expand your thinking, but do not discuss solutions.

Dear Consultant:
                        I wish to bring to your attention, the existing situation as it relates to mathematics at my institution of learning.
                        At the college Sir, student-teachers are having difficulty learning mathematics. The problem is that grades for mathematics in the Joint Board of Teacher Education are predominantly low. I do have a deep concern about this matter. The results have shown that final year students perform very poorly, year after year and this is due mainly to the structure of the curriculum. There is no continuity in topics from year 2 to year 3. Year 3 mathematics has a vast amount of content but it does not necessarily equip students for their profession in elementary education.
                        Please share my concern with your board members.
                        Thanks in advance.
                                                                      Yours truly,
                                                            Claude H. Simpson (Lecturer/Year 3  Advisor)

3.          How do your co-workers and clients (students or others) relate to the problem you describe?  Complete the chart below.

                                                                     Perspective                              Help or
         Co-Owner of Problem                    Compared to Mine                    Hinder Me?

a.          Tutor 1            concerned                    similar                            help                                                                                    

b.    Tutor 2            aware                            complacent                    neutral

c.          Tutor 3            understanding              different approach          neutral

d.          Students          conscious                      uncertain                        co-operative                                         

e.          Others                  talk                                uncertain                        neutral

4.          After reflecting on your original problem statement, your letter, and the relationship of others to the situation, restate your problem.  Remember:  No solutions!  Write your restated problem here:
The problem is that students are under achieving in mathematics at the final year level of the JBTE college examinations.
Take time to compare it to your original statement.  No doubt your refined statement will be different from your original "off the top of your head" thinking. Different.
Activity D – Evidence and Goal

4.          Answer the following questions about your revised problem statement.  Your answer should be one or two paragraphs in length for each question.

A.          How do you know there really is a problem? (What proof do you have that the problem really exists?  What evidence is available to confirm the problem?) Include a few sources that you might review to find hard data that provide evidence of the existence and extent of your problem.

Results have shown that in the Joint Board of Teacher Education Examination, mathematics results are shown to be the lowest of all the subjects. More students are doing re-sit papers in mathematics compared to other subjects. Students frequently express fear in sitting mathematics exams. The college record shows that mathematics is the only subject that has a consistently low pass rate. Coursework grade, test scores, tutors report, and college records are there to substantiate the view that there exist a problem.

B.          If the problem were solved, what would be the state of affairs? (How would you like things to look?  What is you vision?)  No solutions should be suggested here.

If the problem were solved then more student teachers would achieve success and receive their Teacher’s Diploma. More trained teachers would take up teaching duties in the primary schools and less teachers would be employed as pre-trained teachers pending the completion of the diploma course. Teachers would be better equipped to teach mathematics and hence we would have more competent students entering the system.

Activity E - Causal Analysis

         (Applied Dissertation - Chapter II)

1.          What do you think causes the problem?  Brainstorm each of the four areas listed below, and jot down any causes that come to mind.  For example, are staff members causing the problem?  If so, list them under "People."  Add any categories that you need.

POWERBASE:    ---    Lack of curriculum guides.
                                ---    Poor curriculum.
                                ---    Inappropriate topics selection.

PROCEDURES:  ---  Learning mathematics that is not related to students life experiences.

                                        ---      Lack of continuity and sequence of mathematical concepts.

PEOPLE:        --x-    Students are not putting out enough effort to achieve success.                                                                  
                        --x    Teachers are not using technology to enhance instruction and expand .
                                limits of the existing curriculum.

MATERIALS/EQUIPMENT:  ---  Lack of adequate resource materials.
                                                            ---    Failure to incorporate computer assisted instruction.
                                                            ---  Failure to integrate technology into the curriculum.

ATTITUDES:    -X-    Fear of mathematics.
                                ---      Lackadaisical approach.
                                ---    Lack of interest in mathematics.

OTHER CAUSES?  --X-      Poor foundation in mathematics.
                                        ---      Insufficient practice.


2.          Review the causes generated above, and put an "X" next to the most likely cause.  List techniques that you might use to determine if you have focused on the actual cause.  Do you need to collect additional data?  How would you go about collecting it?

              PEOPLE:  --- Observe students throughout course work activities.                                                                                                     
                                --- Test scores.
                                --- Class participation.

                                --- Observe teachers.                                                                                 
                                ---  Interview teachers.
                              ---  Questionnaires

          ATTITUDES:  ---Interview students.

          OTHER CAUSES: --- Use aptitude test and performance test.

Thank you for taking the time to complete these activities!  Remember to print a hard copy of your work to submit at the seminar.  This includes page 1 of this assignment, activities A through E and the “Student Information Form for Applied Dissertations.”

Bring to the seminar for use in group work:

Applied Dissertation Guide
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
A highlighter, your choice of color

Be prepared to submit:

1 copy of completed seminar assignments
Student Information Form for Applied Dissertations                    


As a preliminary step in your applied dissertation work, please respond to the items on this form.  Information that you share will assist us in assigning your applied dissertation adviser.  As you know, the applied dissertation involves identifying and solving a problem in your work setting.  Be as specific as possible.  Please submit this completed form at the Applied Dissertation Seminar.

NAME  CLAUDE H.A. SIMPSON                                            CLUSTER: ITDE 10.                                       

ADDRESS:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                              HOME PHONE: {876-                                                                                       

CITY:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                  STATE: Jam.              ZIP : W.I.                                         

NSU USERCODE: ( edualc )


NAME OF WORK SETTING: St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR WORK: Teacher Trainer: Mathematics and Introduction to Computers.

If you earned your master's and/or educational specialist degree at Nova Southeastern University, please include your practicum title below.

TITLE: The Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Unit on Plane Geometry.

DEGREE: M.S.  {Mathematics Education}.



If you are not a Nova Southeastern University graduate, from which university did you earn your master's degree? N/A

Did you write a thesis?                Yes                No

If yes, please include the title below.

If you hold an educational specialist degree, list the university from which you graduated. N/A

Did you write a thesis?                Yes                No
Do a practicum?                Yes                No

If yes, please include the title below.

Write a paragraph to briefly describe your long-range career goals.

As an educator, in the near future I see myself as a leading figure: a chief consultant on educational matters in mathematics, distance education, and technology in education. I intend to work on curriculum development committees at the Ministry of Education board level and incorporate the integration of technology in the curriculum from the primary level to the tertiary level of education throughout all subject areas.
© Copyright 2014 Claude H. A. Simpson (teach600 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1986398-Applied-Dissertation-Seminar-Activities