EDR610 : Syllabus





Course Name:

EDR 610, Introduction to Research


Bob Stuckenschneider, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Research

Office Location:

Eastburn Education Building,
Room 207K (2nd floor)

E-mail Address:


Course Objectives:

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the elements of the research process. It begins with an overview of the key steps involved in planning and conducting research. The remainder of the course then focuses upon the individual steps or elements and the choices faced by the researcher at each step. These steps include identifying the following:


  1. A researchable question;
  2. An appropriate research methodology to address that question;
  3. A relevant population and sample;
  4. Appropriate instrumentation/sources of information, including assessment of their validity and reliability;
  5. Data compilation and analysis procedures.

IMPORTANT: Due to the fact that there are no prerequisites for this beginning research course, the concepts are taught at an introductory basic level.


IMPORTANT COURSE REQUIREMENT: You must maintain your e-mail and Internet access connection for the duration of the course. During this time, you are expected to check for, and CAREFULLY read. ANY/ALL incoming e-mail from your instructor and/or other students, and check in regularly to the VCC. I will be sending e-mails via the dana e-mail account provided you by NAU.

How the Internet Component of the Class Will Work:

In order to maintain your course enrollment you MUST successfully complete the following four tasks by the due dates shown in the syllabus:

1. Send me an e-mail message addressed to bstucken@sdcoe.k12.ca.us

  1. Your name;
  2. Your mailing address(es);
  3. Your contact telephone number(s);
  4. Your FAX number if you have one -- not required -- the phone and FAX numbers are just in case I should ever need to reach you quickly in another way (an answer to a question, a sudden change in schedule, etc.

2. In addition, you will be required to take the self-test "Is Distance Learning for Me?" It is intended to give you an idea of what distance learning is all about and to e-mail me your individual responses by the date shown in the syllabus. The distance learning test can be sent in the same e-mail with your personal information.

You will need to write down your solutions and send them to me via e-mail (for example: 1a, 2c, 3b, and so forth). Clicking "Submit" on the Web site will not send me your solutions. DO NOT USE THE SUBMIT BUTTON FOR ANY ASSIGNMENT! All assignments, except the e-mail assignment and the distance learning assignment and the first paper, will be posted into a Virtual Conference Center folder.

You should use this opportunity to think carefully about your own learning style and whether or not Web courses are a good fit for your own individual learning style and preferences!

Please contact me as soon as possible if you find that you would be more comfortable in another classroom format for EDR 610 (i.e., traditional face-to-face live classroom; IITV).

We routinely offer EDR 610 in a variety of formats and with a variety of starting dates each semester. I am confident that your academic adviser and I can successfully place you in another section of EDR 610 to better fit your individual comfort zone, learning style and preferences if need be!

3.Next, you will be required to post a message of self-introduction in our Virtual Conference Center (VCC) in the folder entitled"Let's Break the Ice / Get Acquainted" by the due date indicated. This serves as a test of your computing skills and ability to navigate the VCC, which will be our primary meeting and communication place.

To enter the VCC, click the following link or type the following into your browser and press enter:
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~caucus/nauovcc.html       That will take you to the VCC login screen.  You will need to use your dana account login name and password.  Once into the VCC be sure to select the Fall '05 EDR 610 Stuckenschneider course.

4. Finally, you will be required to write a 3-5 page paper. The instructions will be in the VCC.

IMPORTANT: Students who do NOT contact me and complete the required 4 assignments during the first week of class (by September 6) will be externally administratively withdrawn (involuntarily dropped) from the class for "nonattendance." This is a university-wide policy explained in detail in the NAU Graduate Catalog. This policy applies regardless of particular format of class (i.e., traditional group face-to-face; IITV; Web-based).

Students will be assigned to groups. Each group will have its own workspace (folder) in the VCC.

Shortly after your assignment to a group, you and your fellow group members will be required to develop a Group Code of Conduct Contract. This will include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following group decisions:

(1) How will the group members communicate: e-mail, posting in group VCC folder, other?

(2) How often will individual group members be expected to log in and check for messages and updates from the group: every other day; every day; other?

(3) How will group roles and responsibilities be divided up: will there be a group leader? Will there be one group member designated to post the group's final agreed-upon assignment solutions in the VCC? or Will these responsibilities be rotated?If so, how? How will you handle individual members' needs for absence off-line (illness, travel, other contingencies)? This relates to Point (4), below:

(4) IMPORTANT: how will potential intra-group conflict be resolved? Problems in communication, differences of opinion, other area(s) of conflict? You MUST have an agreed-upon plan in place for identifying and attempting to resolve such intra-group issues. Think of me as "a higher court of appeals" in that regard! I will always be ready, willing and available to step in and help with any conflict resolution but ONLY as a FOLLOW-UP step to your FIRST working within your group as stated in your contract to attempt to resolve any such problems!

***Each group will be required to post its final agreed-upon Group Contract in the designated VCC folder by the date shown below in the syllabus.***

--All assignments including the final case study ( except for each student's personal information e-mail to me, the e-mailed results of the distance learning quiz, the initial VCC "Ice Breaker" posting, the paper, and Discussion topic posts, which are explained below ) will be done by groups rather than individually. Groups can communicate via e-mail, U.S. mail, phone, in-person or by posting in their assigned VCC workspace. One person from each group will be expected to post the group's final solution no earlier than one day prior to the listed due date, below.

All group assignments MUST be posted EXACTLY on the due date specified (ONE final posting per group by the designated group poster, as per your group's Contract).

The only exceptions are the 4 individual startup activities

1. introductory "Let's Break the Ice/ Get Acquainted" posting in the VCC

2. results of Distance Learning Self-Test

3. introductory VCC icebreaker posting, and

4. Initial paper on comparing 'researching a topic', and 'conducting research.' The directions are in the VCC.

***URGENT: Any student who does NOT successfully complete ALL FOUR startup activities above by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 9/6/05 will be administratively withdrawn (involuntarily dropped) from the course for 'failure to meet course prerequisites.'***

***It is important for you to CAREFULLY read the syllabus! This represents our mutual contract of expectations. Your continued voluntary enrollment in our course implies that you agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the syllabus!***

--Group assignments will be made and posted by the instructor by 8:00 p .m. Friday, 9/9/05.

For all listed due dates, 8:00 p.m. is the assumed deadline.


Early (more than one day prior to stated due date) postings will be assessed a three-point penalty.

This reinforces the fact that you must remain continually and actively engaged in our course throughout its duration.

If this is not possible, please contact me immediately so that your academic adviser and I can locate an alternative section of EDR 610 in which you may enroll.

It is VITAL, IMPORTANT and IMPERATIVE that EACH student logs in and checks the following areas at least every other day (and ideally daily) for the ENTIRE DURATION of the course:

a. VCC "Announcements and Updates" folder;

b. VCC "Questions and Answers" folder;

c. e-mail for any updates from his/her group members. Reminder: I will be using the dana e-mail account provided you by the university!

--Students are expected to use the VCC rather than e-mail to communicate with their instructor:

a. If you have a question about anything at all (the course materials, the syllabus how we do things, etc.) , please post it in the VCC "Questions and Answers" folder. You might check this folder first to see if your question has already been answered. I will check the VCC daily and endeavor to respond to all posted questions within 24 business hours;

b. You must also get in the habit of checking the VCC "Announcements" folder for last-minutes updates, changes and other important information;

c. Students may use any form to communicate with their group members regarding assignments and other group responsibilities. Alternatively, you are welcome to communicate with your group teammates by posting messages in your group's private VCC folder;

d. You may only e-mail your instructor in case of highly confidential, emergency or personal communications. In all other cases, you will be referred to the VCC and one of the above areas in reply to your e-mail message.

***The VCC is our headquarters, our classroom, and our primary communication meeting place! Please get in the habit of checking the VCC at least every other day and of posting your messages in the appropriate VCC location! Doing so will greatly expedite our communications as well as reduce stress and confusion for you!!!***


--These course materials are organized as follows:

Six modules:

Each of which contains from one to four topics.

  1. You'll navigate to our Web site/URL, print out and study the topics contained in each module, and as a group, you will complete the required number of assignments on the due dates listed in this syllabus (any two assignments per module for modules 1 through 5 and 3 assignments for module 6). In other words, you will submit a total of thirteen group-posted assignments for this portion of the course requirements. These could be a combination of individual, Web and/or group assignments, as you wish. In other words, you and your group will post ONE final assignment solution in the designated VCC folder. (Point of clarification: if you choose an activity labeled as 'individual' assignment you are now instead doing it as a group: i.e., posting ONE group solution.) Each member of the group will receive the grade that I allocate to that particular assignment.

    You are strongly encouraged to attempt ALL of the assignments and learning activities and to share them with your fellow group members! This will help you decide which ones you'd like to officially submit for your grade. Also, the learning material may come in handy for the final case study, described below.

  2. If you need extra help with any computer/Internet based activities, there are plenty of help and extra practice resources available!

    1. Our home page for the course has a "Help" button and other links to special resources and assistance; and

      **Also, please get in the habit of periodically checking our Virtual Conference Center (VCC) "Questions and Answers" folder to see if another student has already asked the same question you may have, and if I have posted a reply!***

      In addition to completing the above series of assignments as a group and transmitting them to me by the due dates indicated later in this syllabus, each individual student will be required to do the following: post at least three substantive messages in the Virtual Conference Center (VCC) discussion folders (three discussion topics in total).

      A VCC folder will be created which contains that particular discussion topic. The specific topic will be posted shortly before the due dates shown below and the VCC folder will be unlocked so that you can respond to that topic.

      You will be expected to post at least 3 substantive messages regarding this topic during the allotted time period. These will include a combination of your own thoughts on the topic, as well as your reactions to your classmates' postings. ("I agree with John/Jane" is NOT an example of an acceptable substantive posting.) The idea is for you to actively participate in the discussion topic. This involves reading others' posts during that time frame and demonstrating that you have thought about this topic.

      Starting dates for three VCC Discussion Items:

      Discussion Item #1: Week of Monday, 9/6/05 (15 points);
      Discussion Item #2: Week of Monday, 10/3/05 (15 points);
      Discussion Item #3: Week of Monday, 10/31/05 (30 points);

      IMPORTANT: This series of assignments therefore CANNOT be done in advance of the time frame indicated in the syllabus. This supports the above syllabus requirement that you MUST be ACTIVELY engaged in our EDR 610 course during its ENTIRE official duration. If this is not possible, please contact me immediately so that your academic adviser and I can find an alternative section of EDR 610 to which you can transfer and which will better meet your schedule constraints.

      Finally, each group will be required to post a research case study by the due date shown in the syllabus. This case study will be posted in our VCC at least one week prior to the due date shown in the syllabus. It will require you to apply the introductory research principles you have been learning throughout this course. It may not be posted more than one day prior to the above due date. Postings submittted after the due date and time will not be accepted or graded and will receive a grade of zero points.


You are strongly encouraged to contact me anytime
with any questions or concerns you might have!

Please don't forget to first check our VCC"Questions and Answers" folder to see if
your particular question has already been answered!


I believe that every problem is solvable
(or at least improvable) if we:
a) communicate openly and honestly about it; and
b) put our heads together to brainstorm possible solutions.


But I need you to tell me what's working,
what's not working, and
how we can make things better for you!

Due Dates for Assignments (all assignments are due on or before 8:00 p.m. on the dates shown in this section):

First official week of class (Week of Monday, 8/29/05 through Tuesday, 9/6/05):

-- Please familiarize yourself with our Web site, navigate to the URL, begin to download and print out our course materials, use the "Help" and other resource buttons provided on our Web page to gain practice in any specific task(s) with which you may be unfamiliar, etc.

--Complete your four required individual startup activities (required for you to maintain your enrollment in the course):

(1) individual contact information e-mailed to instructor;

(2) results of Distance Learning self-test e-mailed to instructor;

(3) individual self-introduction icebreaker posting;

(4) complete the required paper.

Week of Monday, 9/5/05:

(1) Participate in the first discussion topic.

(2) post group mate choices in the group preferences folder;

Week of Monday, 9/12/05:

(1) Contact your group members, get acquainted and establish your group communication procedures;

(2) Negotiate and formulate your Group Contract;

(3) Each group should designate one group member to post its final agreed-upon version of the Group Contract in the VCC folder of the same name by 8:00 p.m. Friday, 9/16/05.

(4) work on Module 1, Assignment 1

Due Dates for Group Assignment Postings:

(reminder: ONE final group solution is to be posted per group in its designated VCC folder)

***You should ALWAYS keep at least one backup copy of your work! This will save you hardship and stress in case of a power failure or if you lose your connection while trying to post your solution to the VCC!***

Class starts 8/29/05

e-mail, distance learning quiz, paper, and VCC introduction by 9/6/05

group preferences filed by 9/8

groups selected by 9/9

group contracts posted by 9/16

Discussion Topic #1 from 9/6-9/12

Module 1, assignment 1 by 9/18
Module 1, assignment 2 by 9/25
Module 2, assignment 1 by 10/2
Module 2, assignment 2 by 10/9

Discussion Topic #2 from 10/3-10/9

Module 3, assignment 1 by 10/16
Module 3, assignment 2 by 10/23
Module 4, assignment 1 by 10/30
Module 4, assignment 2 by 11/6

Discussion Topic #3 *****DOUBLE POINTS***** from 10/31-11/6

Module 5, assignment 1 by 11/13
Module 5, assignment 2 by 11/20

all 3 Module 6 assignments,

the trilogy of "Mission (NOT) Impossible" by 12/4

CASE STUDY by 12/11

Class ends 12/16/05


***Reminder -- assignments may be turned in 1 working day earlier than the due date posted. Most of the due dates are on Sunday by 8:00 p.m., so you may turn in any assignment the Friday prior to the due date!

Please note: Several Module #6 assignments require a library search (locating published examples of actual research).

You are STRONGLY URGED to plan ahead regarding this library assignment (and please see upcoming syllabus discussion regarding 'the dangers of procrastination').

If you do not know how to use the facilities of Cline Library or some other local library to search for examples of published research, please let me know as soon as possible! I will put you in touch with sources of help in this regard!

*** You are also required to keep additional backup copies of all assignments submitted to me. Some assignments build on previous assignments, and you will be expected to have copies of your prior submissions in order to be able to complete the new assignments.

Grade Policy




Total Points


4 Startup --

personal e-mail - 5
VCC ice-break - 5
Dist. Quiz - 5
Paper - 15




Group assignments



 2 per module from modules 1-5




 3 from module 6




Total of 3 substantive postings for each of 2 discussion folders in VCC




Total of 3 substantive postings for the final discussion topic




Final case study essay




Additional IMPORTANT Grading & Student Evaluation Policies

A = 270 points or more
B = 240 to 269 points
C = 210 to 239 points
F = 209 or fewer points

There are no extra credit assignments!



  1. Proficiency in both e-mail use (sending/receiving) and Internet navigation (accessing Web sites/URL's/links) are necessary so as to enable you to fully concentrate on the research material for the course. It would create an unfair 'dual burden' for you to have to learn the computing navigational skills at the same time that you are also learning the research material. Therefore, students who are discovered not to possess these stated computer prerequisites will be externally administratively withdrawn (involuntary dropped) from the course. Likewise, students who do NOT send me their contact information during the first week of the Fall '01 semester will be subject to external administrative withdrawal from the course.
  2. It is each student's responsibility -- not the instructor's or NAU's -- to secure dependable access to computing equipment and/or facilities in advance of the beginning of the course.
  3. Students in EDR 610 must agree to comply with the stated due dates as per the syllabus, even if they are in a different academic major and subject to different due dates within their own individual academic departments generally. Assignments submitted after the announced due dates (please see earlier listing) will be subject to the following "lateness penalty:" one point will be deducted for each day that the assignment is late (and please see following point);
  4. Assignments that are 3 or more days late will not be accepted or graded. The recorded grade for such assignments will be zero points. Likewise, assignments submitted more than one day earlier than the due date will be assessed a three-point 'due date violation penalty.' With regard to the case study solution, any postings past 8:00 p.m. will likewise not be accepted or graded. Please note that massive submissions of past-due assignments will NOT be accepted or graded under ANY circumstances;
  5. All Web course students are expected to make a good-faith commitment to be fully engaged in the course during the entire scheduled 14 weeks of the duration of the fall semester. Therefore, students who are 'absent off-line' for three or more days for any reason MUST agree to withdraw from the course. Provided that you have been doing acceptable work up until the point of absence, you will receive a 'withdraw pass' as your recorded grade;
  6. Students must agree to implement in good faith any recommendations I may have for them at any time in the interests of improving their course performance. Such recommendations may include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
    • referral to the NAU Learning Assistance Center for individual tutorial assistance;
    • referral to the NAU Learning Assistance Center for help with study skills;
    • referral to the NAU Learning Assistance Center for help with time management skills;
    • referral to Cline Library for help with locating research sources.


A Word on "Attitude"


In a course such as this, where we have opportunities to work more flexibly and directly one-on-one regarding your learning needs, it is even more critical to keep in mind how a "good attitude" can greatly facilitate our working in positive partnership on your learning needs! For purposes of this course, we might consider a "good attitude" to be defined as follows:

  1. A willingness to be 'open and up front' with me about any problems, concerns, even suggestions on 'how to make things better' in a prompt, timely, honest manner; and
  2. A corresponding willingness to work actively and positively with me on resolution of any such problems, concerns, etc. This means being willing to listen to my suggestions for resolution; to offer your own reactions to my ideas; to implement whatever solutions we jointly agree upon; and to provide me with 'progress reports' on what's working, what's not working, etc.

In that regard:

  1. Reporting a problem to me right away and being open to my ideas for solving it would be indicative of "a very good attitude:"
  2. On the other hand, keeping a problem to yourself, letting it fester, build up, upset you internally, but trying to conceal it from us and saying nothing to me about it, "pretending nothing is wrong" and/or "wishing and hoping it'll get better by itself," would be indicative of "a very bad attitude."

Please don't hesitate to follow up with me if you would like further clarification of this vitally important course expectation!!! ***

The biggest single cause of problems that arise is PROCRASTINATION!! It leads to unnecessary stress and difficulty&emdash;which can be avoided by pacing yourself appropriately

You should plan to set aside regular study time (daily, weekly, etc.) to make regular progress on your course reading, assignments, and related study responsibilities. The Graduate College mandates a minimum of 15-20 hours a week per course of related study and preparation!

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IMPORTANT: This course does NOT carry the option of a grade of "Incomplete." You may at any time elect to accept a grade of "Withdraw", which would enable you to re-enroll for the course at a future date and time.

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The primary keys to success in this course may be summarized in two steps:

  1. Keeping up with the work (reading, assignments, and related responsibilities) in a timely manner; and
  2. Notifying me PROMPTLY and HONESTLY of ANY problems you may be experiencing at ANY time!


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Policy on Academic Honesty, Integrity, Plagiarism, etc. The policies, rules and regulations set forth in the current NAU Student Handbook shall apply to this course. For more information, please contact NAU's Office of Student Life (520-523-5181).

  • E-mail Bob Stuckenschneider at bstucken@sdcoe.k12.ca.us


    Copyright 2004 Northern Arizona University