Research can be daunting for students, but in AURAK’s Master of Education program, students engage in meaningful research that really matters. The Master of Education program embeds applied research into student’s coursework and during their first semester, students choose an original and authentic Problem of Practice that they can focus on during their studies. Students are encouraged to present their proposals at a colloquium and share this experience with faculty and peers. In this article, Dr. Alexandria Proff explores how this process aids her students in deepening their knowledge and enhancing their skills.
Our students are encouraged to identify a problem of practice they have observed during their professional experience. In fact, many of our students use their workplaces or school systems as a basis for data collection. Through this approach, AURAK has found that students are able to more easily transfer complex research skills, learned in the classroom, to their actual jobs and use the data to promote positive change within the workplace. While AURAK’s Graduate Researchers focus on a variety of pertinent and timely issues in education, a sample of recent topics, demonstrated in the graphic below, has included distance learning, student-teacher relationships, academic integrity, meaningful assessment, and motivation. This applied-research approach has assisted current educators in achieving their own goals, in the pursuit of professional, personal, and intellectual excellence.
In order to provide meaningful research experiences for our graduate students, the education faculty have embedded research into their students’ coursework. Faculty encourage students to develop original proposals for research and submit these to AURAK’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for ethical clearance before data collection gets started. Under the guidance of their assigned research advisor, students undertake fieldwork to collect and analyze their data in a course later in their program. The findings derived from the students’ data analysis are drafted into an article for students to submit to an academic conference, academic journal, or both. At the conclusion of their final semester in the Master of Education program, students share their research with their colleagues, the local community, and the university community at the Master of Education Spring Colloquia.
An example of this is the Master of Education Fall Colloquium for two cohorts of students that was held over two days. These students were able to present their research proposals or share their experiences from their fieldwork, which stimulated debate across the cohorts and with other attendees. In order to engage as safely as possible during the ‘time of COVID’, the Colloquium was livestreamed and this allowed the students share the topic more widely as well as have exposure to delivery in a virtual environment.