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Welcome to the course

Each week of the course is focused on a different element of conducting some research in your classroom or school.
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Hello there, I’m Karl Kitching and I’m a Reader in Education Policy at the University of Birmingham.
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And this is Education Research that Matters: Doing Reseacrh in Learning Communities. It’s one of a series of three massive open online courses or MOOCs that takes you through from first thinking about education questions through to doing research in your own classroom, college, community school or early childhood setting. The first MOOC was called Applying Research to Your Teaching Practice. It explored the quality of available research evidence and where we can find it in order to inform our practice. Our second MOOC was called Ways of Researching in Education. and it examined forms of qualitative and quantitative research that might inform practice.
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This third MOOC is called Doing Research in Learning Communities and over four weeks, the MOOC guides you through the practicalities of conducting a small scale research project in your classroom or in your school, in your early childhood setting, or in your college setting, rather than aiming to guide you through the conduct of a very formal or high stakes research project the focus here is on helping you to enact change that strengthens your practice in a specific area based on research evidence and then to evaluate the success of that change.

What will you learn?

Each week of the course is focused on a different element of conducting some research in your classroom, school or college. We’ll include examples of research conducted by teachers with the University of Birmingham to guide you along the way.

  • Week 1: How do I develop a useful research question that addresses a real issue in my context?
  • Week 2: Which are the best research methods to use for my project?
  • Week 3: What analysis techniques should I use to understand my data and generate findings?
  • Week 4: How do I write up and present my findings?

By the end of this course you’ll have been supported to create and conduct your own practice-focused research project. You’ll be able to:

  • Explain the importance of developing a research culture in schools and classrooms
  • Create an effective research question focused on an element of your practice
  • Design a research project using the right data collection and analysis techniques for your needs
  • Choose the best ways of communicating your research findings for the right audiences

Who will you learn with?

Karl Kitching, Reader in Education Policy at the University of Birmingham will be your lead educator for this MOOC. Each week, he’ll be joined by a number of educators to explore conducting a research project.

Deborah Youdell, Professor of Education at the University of Birmingham.

Kirsty Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education at the University of Birmingham.

Ian McGimpsey, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Birmingham.

Hannah Tyreman, Head of Online Learning and Community and other colleagues at the Chartered College of Teaching.

Making the most of this course

Connect – To make the most of the course we encourage you to support each other – sharing experiences, views and explanations. You can leave comments with reactions, feedback, questions, links to further readings, and thoughts on any part of the course including the resources and videos. You can post quick observations on the topics, or delve deeper with further reading and a more involved study of the question – the choice is yours.

Press the number next to the pink + icon at the bottom of any page to reveal the comments and join the conversation.

Time to think – Effective CPD often exposes us to new perspectives that can challenge us. We can encounter something that makes us question any previous research we have been involved in: ‘Was I wrong all along?’. Conversely, we can dismiss a research approach too quickly when bias clouds our judgment. Learning online can allow time to return to ideas and approaches we find problematic, after having taken time to think. Having time and space for reflection in between weeks can allow us to engage with research approaches and new perspectives in measured ways, in order to more effectively judge whether they are useful for investigating our particular context.

Technical support – Please use the grey ‘Feedback’ tab on the bottom right-hand side across the site if you have any comments or suggestions relating to the platform or the course mechanics (not subject material questions) to improve the platform experience with FutureLearn. FutureLearn’s extensive FAQs are available from this area.

Learn more about using FutureLearn and the code of conduct.

Before you move to the next page

When you are finished on this step, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button before clicking ‘Course Expectations’ to begin Week 1. This will update your progress page, and will help you to keep track of which steps you’ve done. Any steps you’ve completed will turn blue on your To Do list.
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Education Research that Matters: Doing Research in Your Learning Community

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