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Online course - Ethical approval granted!

I'm developing an online course in paleoradiography

Excellent news, I've been granted ethical approval from Canterbury Christ Church University to undertake an Action Research study. The study will involve the development of an online short course about paleoradiography which shall be delivered on! The course will be free of charge to join, although you will need to register your details.

In short, I'll be developing a four-hour online course which will be delivered on this website to teach undergraduate archaeology students about the use of x-rays in archaeology. The ethical approval was required because I will collect data from student feedback, which shall eventually disseminated within an academic journal. In truth, this project shall be part-fullfilment of my teaching qualification (PgCert, or one third of a Masters if you want to be picky).

The repeated cycle of Action Research lends towards an iterative process of research. Partipatory Action Research is a form of research where the participant is directly involved in the improvement / change / findings. The diagram here shows the process leading towards a third cycle, which would be considered the optimum number of cycles for reliable findings.

The course will be developed over the next month and I shall be contacting students to join shortly after. The purpose of Action Research is to act upon the information gained by participants to amend, improve and re-deliver the service provided. It is commonly used in educational programmes to improve the way teaching is provided. Within this study the 'participants' are the students who are undertaking the course. Students will be asked for their opinion on learning content, quality and presentation. It is intended that the first cycle will have 50 students, which I suspect is ambitious but the course will be open to international involvement.

I'll have to submit a mock journal article for my PgCert in teacher training essay (in May 2021). It's a cheeky way the university tries to increase academic output by making all the staff in teacher-training write articles for their end submission. I find it admirable and a rather good way of focusing the staff-member's efforts because they get both a teaching qualification and the opportunity to boost their CV.

The online course will cover four areas which shall be taught using a mixture of text, videos and self-directed learning:

  1. The concept of radiographs depicting a 3D object as a 2D picture.

  2. The relationship between specimen density and greyscale upon the image.

  3. The effect of geometric unsharpness upon image quality.

  4. The use of radiographs as source of quantitative analysis

At the end of each section the participant will be provided with confirmatory questions and the opportunity to provide their opinion of the teaching content.

I decided to choose undergraduate arhcaeology students because:

(a) I've taught them before and I have gain some understanding of what they do / do not know about paleoradiography and radiation physics.

(b) They should have a keen interest in the topic. The course is free, which leaves it open to the risk of low commitment, which is my greatest risk for the success of the study.

Participants who complete the course will be sent a free certificate by email to boost their own CV. It's very early days at the moment (18/12/2020), but please feel free to contact me for the participant information sheet.


Screen-grab by the author and images from Wix.

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