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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Undergraduate Research Center


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Discovery, Inquiry, and Creation: Scaffolding Research Skills for Undergraduates

Friday, November 8, 2013
Morris Hall 102

Undergraduate students benefit by participating in research and creative projects, but many students don't have the skills to be independent scholars. In fact, the students for whom undergraduate research might be most beneficial are the ones least prepared to do it when they arrive at college.  To address this, George Mason University has adopted a model of scaffolded skills for undergraduate students, to be used both in and beyond the classroom.  Discovery experiences are those that introduce students to what it means to do research, and lets them find out how they can get involved.  Students involved at the Inquiry level start to understand how scholarship works in their fields, and learn how to evaluate the others' research, and get the tools and knowledge to produce their own scholarship.  Once students are at the Creation of Scholarship level, they can make significant contributions to authentic scholarly work in their fields. 

This talk is broadly applicable to faculty who work with students in the classroom and those who mentor them in independent projects, across all disciplines. 

For additional background information, visit, and see Healey and Jenkins (2009) [PDF] Developing undergraduate research and inquiry (808 KiB) published by the Higher Education Academy.


Creating Authentic Research Experiences in Courses

*Applications are now closed*
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Centennial Student Union Heritage Room
8:30-9:00am Sign-in
9:00am-3:00pm Workshop
Lunch provided

  • 9:00-9:30 Introductions & goals of the workshop
  • 9:30-10:30 Scaffolded student learning goals, student learning outcome (SLO) exercises for targeted courses
  • 10:30-11:30 Curriculum mapping of syllabus
  • 11:30-1:00 Discussion of major research/creative focus of course using Designing for Inquiry-Based Learning Planner 
  • 1:00-2:30 Revision of course schedule and description incorporating the research activity including update curriculum map
  • 2:30-3:00 Discussion of accomplishments and next steps

Courses that involve "real" research or creative experiences are more effective in teaching students disciplinary concepts and giving them skills that they will be apply after their undergraduate career. For faculty, these courses can be valuable when they help the faculty member on a larger project, and are often much more fun to teach than traditional classes! 

The goal of this workshop is to design or re-design a course so students who take the course contribute to an authentic research or creative project and disseminate the results of that project. Faculty participants will use a curriculum mapping approach to analyze a current or potential course. Using both your own research experience and inquiry-based learning models, you will then re-design the course, integrating the research or creative project. The workshop will be hands-on and interactive, and faculty who co-teach classes are encourage to attend as a team. You should bring the syllabus and assignments for the course as currently taught, as well as any current student learning objectives for the course (these can be general education, disciplinary, or specific to the class). At the end of the workshop, you will have a map and a plan for the re-designed course. 

This workshop is applicable to faculty who teach upper-division courses in any discipline. 

We will use Chapter 13 from John C Bean's (2011) Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom (2nd edition).