08-072 ICO Introductory course (Spring 2008)

his Introductory course is for PhD students who just started their project. You will become familiar with ICO, the types of research performed within ICO, and ICOs position in the national and international field of educational research. The main aim of this course is to develop, extend, present and defend your project proposal. In addition, the course offers opportunities to practice research skills such as evaluating scientific articles and books, participating in review meetings, and managing your research project. The course is offered in English. If all participants are Dutch-speaking, however, it may be decided to use Dutch for communication during face-to-face meetings.

Course Objectives

After this course, you have acquired:

  • Some basic knowledge of theories, models and research designs that are used in different thematic groups of ICO
  • Knowledge of the mission and organization of ICO, its thematic groups, and its position in the national and international field of educational research
  • Skills in using scientific criteria for high-quality research both to (1) the preparation of a (PhD) project proposal and (2) the evaluation of scientific writings, i.e., journal articles and dissertations
  • Skills in writing and presenting a PhD project proposal
  • Skills in reviewing manuscripts for scientific journals and participating in an editorial board meeting
  • Skills in reviewing books/dissertations and writing a book review
  • Skills in managing your supervisor(s)


Coordinator of the Introductory Course is prof. dr. Els Boshuizen (Open University of the Netherlands). The second lecturer of the course is prof. dr. Prof.dr. Jos Beishuizen (Free University Amsterdam)

  • Els Boshuizen
    Open Universiteit
    Educational Technology Expertise Center
    P.O. Box 2960
    6401 DL Heerlen
    email: els.boshuizen@ou.nl
  • Jos Beishuizen
    Free University Amsterdam
    Centre for Educational Training, Assessment and Research
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam
    email: j.beishuizen@ond.vu.nl

Requirements, dates, and location

Participants are required to be present at each of the course meetings. The course requires a total time investment of 200 hours, of which approximately 40 hours are for attending the meetings, and another 160 hours to work on (group) assignments.

The one-day opening meeting is planned for February 15, 2008. Two subsequent two-day meetings are planned in March 13-14 and May 8-9. All meetings are planned from 10.00-17.00 hours and take place in Utrecht: meeting centre (vergadercentrum), Vredenburg 19.http://www.vergadercentrumvredenburg.nl/


All core study materials will be made available at the Blackboard website for the course. To become familiar with the topics studied by the ICO thematic group, a reader is presented with six journal articles that are representative for the six thematic groups of ICO: (1) innovative learning arrangements, (2) domain specific skills, (3) teaching and teacher education, (4) educational design and development, (5) schools and the social context of education, and (6) assessment, evaluation and examination.

It is assumed that you already have some basic knowledge of Educational Sciences. See, for instance:

  • Towne, L., & Shavelson, R. J. (2003). Scientific research in education. Washington: National Academies Press.
  • Lagemann, E. C. (2000). An elusive science: The troubling history of education research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Or for a Dutch alternative: Verloop, N., & Lowyck, J. (2003). Onderwijskunde. Groningen, The Netherlands: Wolters-Noordhoff.

For additional background information on how to get your PhD, you are advised to consult:

  • Phillips, E. M., & Pugh, D. (2000). How to get a PhD - A handbook for students and their supervisors (3rd Ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.


The course is organized around three meetings:

Meeting 1, one day, Friday, February 15, 2008
This opening meeting is used to discuss the mission and organization of ICO and, in particular, your role in ICO and what you may, and may not, expect of it. In the afternoon, the focus will be on the position of ICO in the national and international field of educational research, and on the many organizations that are active in this field.

  • Morning: Mission and organization of ICO
  • Afternoon: Presentations on educational research in a national and international context - and how ICO fits into this all. Preview on the remaining learning tasks and the forthcoming meetings.

Meeting 2, two days, Thursday-Friday, March 13-14, 2008
This meeting will be completely devoted to the presentation and critical discussion of your PhD project proposals.

Meeting 3, two days, Thursday-Friday, May 8-9, 2008
This meeting is devoted to the presentation and discussion of the reviews of dissertations, a simulated board meeting, and your expectations regarding supervision of your PhD project.

  • Day 1: Presentation of dissertation reviews
  • Morning Day 2: simulated board meeting in which the acceptance/rejection of manuscripts is discussed.
  • Afternoon Day 2: "How to manage your supervisor?"

Learning Tasks

Prior to and during the course, you will work on six tasks:

Task 1: Self-study of basic literature on educational research that is performed in ICO

  • You perform this task individually
  • If you have questions or comments on the reader, please use the rubric "Question & Answer"

Task 2: Finding out what ICO is, and how ICO is positioned in the national and international field of educational research

  • You perform this task individually
  • Prior to Meeting 1, answer the question which national and international research schools, scientific associations, journals, institutes, experts, conferences etc. are directly relevant for your specific research project
  • Document your findings on one page of A4
  • Present your findings during the first meeting

Task 3: Preparing or further specifying your own PhD project proposal

  • You perform this task individually
  • You specify your PhD project proposal using the standard NWO form
  • Special attention is devoted to the experimental design of the study (Setup & Methods)
  • You present and defend your PhD project proposal during Meeting 2
  • You prepare two reviews for PhD project proposals of other students

Task 4: Reviewing a manuscript for a scientific journal

  • You perform this task individually
  • You prepare a review for one manuscript submitted to a scientific journal
  • You participate in a simulated editorial board meeting during Meeting 3, in which the acceptance/rejection of the manuscript is discussed

Task 5: Writing a book review for a dissertation in your field

  • You perform this task in groups/pairs of 2 students
  • You select a dissertation that is, if possible at all, relevant to your own research project and find another student to perform this task with. This needs to be done before Meeting 2.
  • You write a book review
  • You present this book review during Meeting 3

Task 6: Planning a strategy for managing your supervisor(s)

  • Prepare some theses on how you would like to organize your dissertation process, especially with regard to managing your supervisor(s)
  • Defend your theses in a discussion during Meeting 3


You will pass this course if you:

  • Deliver a short document describing relevant national and international research schools, scientific organizations, journals, institutes, experts, conferences, PhD students etc. in your specific field of research
  • Deliver a PhD project description hat is approved by both lecturers
  • Deliver a manuscript review and actively contribute to a simulated editorial board meeting
  • Deliver and present a book review for a dissertation that is approved by both lecturers
  • Deliver and defend some theses on how to manage your supervisor during the PhD project
  • Actively contribute to the meetings and provide critical reviews on at least two PhD project proposals of other students, a journal manuscript, and a dissertation


ICO PhD students are required to participate in the ICO introductory course. PhD students are strongly recommended to participate in the course shortly after the start of their research project.

The deadline for registration is 15.01.2008.

Students who want to register for the course after the deadline is due, are recommended to contact the course coordinator: els.boshuizen@ou.nl.