Implementing an Online Research Methods Course for Community College Students

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Participate in a conversation about opportunities and challenges when implementing a research methods course at a community college.

Archivist Notes

Extended Abstract

A grant-funded partnership between Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) and Stony Brook University (SBU) led to the design and implementation of an online interdisciplinary research methods course. This course, which was offered as a pilot during the Summer 2014 semester, asks students to apply scientific techniques to their ideas as they investigate today's dilemmas in areas such as energy, health and the environment. Students enrolled in this course were introduced to several aspects of scientific research, including networking with practicing scientists, thinking about ethics in the context of research, interpreting and analyzing statistics, and reviewing current literature topics in multidisciplinary STEM fields. Furthermore, this course is designed to strengthen students' team communications and collaborations, scientific writing, peer reviewing and critiquing skills. For an increasing number of community college science students doing summer research at various institutions, this course serves as a companion course for student research interns or as a means to accrue academic credits and research project experience.

Key questions for Discussion:
ï Does the online modality enhance the learning experience for community college students taking an introductory research methods course? If so, how?
ï Does an online interdisciplinary research methods course focused upon authentic issues: 1.Assist students with their research? 2.Enhance acquisition of transferrable skills- teamwork, presentation, and scientific writing? 3.Promote scientific inquiry and discourse?
ï What are the challenges inherent in implementing such a course at a community college?

Session Goals:
Session leaders and participants will explore the viability of an online interdisciplinary research methods course and benefits to student learning. Session leaders will be able to improve their course offering while participants will be able to design a similar course that responds to the needs of their home institutions.