This post is from the CAPER Team, including Chasity O’Malley, Murray Jensen, Kerry Hull, Ron Gerrits, Kyla Ross, Suzanne Hood, and Betsy Ott.
A Few Questions and Answers
Community College educators are busy people, especially in the new normal that we are currently living in and making the best of with COVID-19. One aspect that rings true just as much now as in the recent past is that there rarely is time or opportunity for meaningful professional development. That’s where the Community College Anatomy Physiology Education Research (CAPER 2.0) project comes into play. The goal of the CAPER 2.0 project is to help educators become involved in a small community of dedicated educators who wish to explore different ways to run a classroom in more engaging ways. If funded, and that’s a big “if,” participants will have the opportunity to explore evidence based instructional practices including clickers, small group learning, guided inquiry, and more. We had a good response to our first blog announcing and describing this project, and below we are answering a few frequently asked questions that have arisen from those interested folks. If you are interested in signing-up, fill out this form or contact Chasity O’Malley or Murray Jensen.
- When does CAPER begin?
- Tentative start is for Fall of 2021 if the grant is funded. The project proposal is due in December, 2020, and we hope to receive word (funded or not funded) from NSF by June or July of 2021.
- We aim to have 12 participants in the first cohort (one cohort per year), depending on availability, schedules, and workloads of the interested faculty. Opportunities for those who are unavailable for this first round will have opportunities to join in the 2nd -4th rounds (years) of the projects. There are a lot of opportunities to work with us, so hopefully one of the cohorts will fit into your schedule.
- What would the time commitment be for the CAPER program?
- When educators are involved in this program, they can still be teaching full time and do the work for this project. They will be busy, but everyone in the first CAPER project has found the workload to be manageable.
- We are proposing that instructors are involved for two years in this project.
- The first year will involve the HAPS-I courses and research design for the project.
- Year two will be implementation of the research project to collect data and to publish the results.
- What’s involved with the HAPS-I courses?
- Typically, we meet online and then we hope to meet in person for a day or two at a HAPS Regional conference in the Fall. The grant would cover tuition and expenses for the conference.
- Class is anticipated to meet 1 time per week, in the evening, for about 2 hours for 2-3 months. Participants will be expected to attend the lectures, do the pre-readings and assignments, and participate in discussions during class.
- Participants from CAPER 1.0 found the workload manageable for the course, but does indeed require time and effort to complete.
- There will be two 1-credit classes that will both be completed in one semester. The first class is titled Teaching Practices for Anatomy and Physiology and will cover basic learning theories, such as constructivism, and examine how those theories fit into different teaching strategies, such as cooperative group work, guided inquiry learning, and other Evidenced Based Instructional Methods (EBIPs). The second class is titled Introduction to Educational Research Methods and will examine how education researchers collect and interpret data, and also learn how to design a classroom research project. The final project of the second class will be a research proposal, to examine the effectiveness of an EBIP of your choosing, that you will then implement the following semesters.
- How are research topics chosen? Are the projects individual or group projects?
- Participants get to pick their own topic for their classroom research project. Some instructors might do “clickers” and others might do “guided inquiry.” A wide range of options exist. We will provide help in the decision-making process, and with the research design, but we want instructors to pick their own topics. What instructional practice do you wish to explore?
- There will be two products completed by each participant. First, a poster that will be presented at an annual HAPS Conference. Posters will be completed on an individual basis, but you will have help from mentors and education research experts. Second will be a research paper documenting your results that will be submitted to The HAPS Educator, or other peer reviewed journal. The papers might be individual, or might involve a small group of participants who have similar research projects. Keep in mind that mentors will help with writing, research design, statistics, and other parts of the publication process.
- What does the grant provide for participants?
In addition to extensive support from the CAPER grant personnel, the grant will provide the following:
- Tuition and supplies for the two, 1-credit, HAPS-I courses.
- Stipends to cover food, registration, accommodation, and travel to attend three conferences over the 2 year period: a Fall HAPS regional conference in year 1, the SABER West conference in January of Year 1, and the HAPS National Conference in Year 2. Participants will have to pay these expenses up front and will receive the stipend after the conference.
- An additional small stipend for completing the program.
- What is needed from me at this time?
- Your interest is all we need at this time. As we get closer to submission, we will ask for a letter of support from you and a school administrator. (Administrative support is vital for success in this project).
- Finding out the name of the IRB contact at your institution would be very helpful at this time as well. We will have quite a bit of work to do with your school’s IRB administrative committee, but we will be providing considerable help with that process.
- Is this opportunity open to K-12 instructors?
At this time, we are focusing only on two-year community, or technical, college Anatomy and Physiology instructors.
- Is this opportunity open to adjuncts?
Yes, adjunct instructors are welcome to become involved. This could be a wonderful opportunity for adjuncts looking to attain full time employment to be able to demonstrate their commitment to improving their teaching craft and the experience for the students. This would look GREAT on a CV for employment. However, adjuncts must have administrative support from a college.
- I still have questions that weren’t covered here. Who do I contact?
- Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Chasity or Murray. Contact information: Chasity O’Malley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Murray Jensen (email@example.com )
- If you haven’t filled out the form to share your interest with us, please fill it out and put your questions in the box that asks for questions.
As questions emerge about the project and new information become available, a live Q&A document can be found here.
CAPER 2.0 Interest form (Sign up here)