Course 13-ICF: Introductory Course Fall 2013

This Introductory Course is for PhD students who just started their dissertation project. You will become familiar with ICO (the Interuniversity Center for Educational Research), 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 PhD 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)

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.

Coordinator of the Introductory Course is Prof.dr. Jos Beishuizen (VU University)The second lecturer of the course is Prof.dr. Sjoerd Karsten (University of Amsterdam).

The course is organized around three meetings (4 days): 
September 20
November 15
December 9 & 10, 2013

Meeting 1/Day 1 (one room) 10.00 – 11.15 Welcome and getting to know each other better by means of speed dating (Task 1) 
11.15 – 11.30 Break 
11.30 – 12.30 Lecture on the history of ICO 
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch (bring your own lunch) 
13.30 – 14.00 Small group discussion on exploring your research community (Task 2) 
14.00 – 14.45 Preview on next meetings/explanation assignments and making appointment about which students will collaborate on which assignment 
14.45 - 15.00 Break 
15.15 – 15.30 Information about ICO educational committee 
15.30 – 15.45 Presentation by VPO-VOR 
16.00 Closure 

Meeting 2/Day 2 (two or three rooms) 
10.00 – 11.00 Presentation task 3 (Present your own PhD project and review 2 PhD projects) in two or three subgroups (2 presentations) 
11.00 – 11.15 Break 
11.15 – 12.15 Presentation task 3 (2 presentations) 
12.15 – 13.00 Lunch (bring your own lunch) 
13.00 – 14.30 Presentation task 3 (3 presentations) 
14.30 – 14.45 Break 
14.45 – 15.45 Presentation task 3 (2 presentation) 
16.00 Closure 
 (max. 8 presentations per subgroup) 

Meeting 3 /Day 3 (two or three rooms need to be available) 
10.00 – 11.00 Preparing task 4 (ICO thematic groups) 
11.00 – 11.15 Break 
11.15 – 12.00 Presentation task 4 
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch (bring your own lunch) 
13.00 – 14.30 Presentation task 5 (Review a manuscript and editorial board meeting) 
14.30 – 14.45 Break 
14.45 - 16.00 Presentation task 5 
16.00 Closure 
16.15 – 17.30 Walk to dinner 
17.30 – 19.00 Dinner in Utrecht in the City centre at a 20 min. walking distance from railway station 

Meeting 3/Day 4 (one room) 
10.00 – 11.00 Lecture on scholarly process 
11.00 – 11.15 Break 
11.15 – 12.45 Task 6 (Plan a strategy for managing your supervisor) 
12.45 – 13.30 Lunch (bring your own lunch) 
13.30 – 15.00 Evaluation and closure 
15.00 Closure 

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

Task 1
Present yourself, your research interest and where you are working in a speed date session

Task 2: Finding out what ICO is, and how your project fits in ICO and 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: ICO Theme groups
Discuss in a small group which theme your project belongs to and why?  Who are the theme coordinators within this theme? 
Are they any other areas of research that belong to this specific theme beyond the topics that are investigated by the PhDs present in your group. 
Make a concept map with your small group to specify the contents of the ICO thematic group and make clear how the projects of your group fit within this framework. 
List any questions that might raise from this small group discussion. Present the concept map.
It is not necessary to deliver a document before this meeting. You can design the concept map during the third meeting.

Task 5: 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 and an action letter is prepared

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:

  • Discuss one of the articles representative for the work of ICOs thematic groups
  • 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 that 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

 All core study materials will be made available in Dropbox, after August 6, 2012. In Dropbox, the attendants can also find the Course Manual, with more information on the tasks. To become familiar with the topics studied by the ICO thematic groups, six journal articles will be made available which 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 curriculum 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.

Dates and location
All meetings are planned from 10.00-17.00 hours 
Location: Utrecht

Studiecentrum OU Utrecht, Vondellaan 202:
- September 20
- November 15
- December 9

Zalencentrum Vredenburg, Vredenburg 19:
- December 10

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 for this course is August 19, 2013.
Students who want to register for the course after the deadline is due, are recommended to contact course coordinator Jos Beishuizen 

The maximum number of participants for this course is 24.