Assignment 3 (Spring 2020)

Assignment 3 has two parts. The first, the Journal, is an open-ended opportunity for you to report to your mentor and classmates the progress you’ve made since last week in exploring the literature and refining your idea. Each assignment until the Qualifier Question, you’ll submit a new journal documenting your research progress since the last week. The second, the Activity, is a more structured opportunity to practice one of the skills you’ll need as you move forward in the class. Each part is worth 50% of this assignment’s grade.


Your journal for assignment 3 follows the same procedure as that in assignments 1 and 2. The journal is a self-reflective account of your exploration of the literature in pursuit of a problem to solve or a question to answer. In this week’s journal, you should continue to document the sources that you encounter, the questions they bring up, and the investigations you perform, in line with the guidance of the Research Guide and with an eye toward the requirements of Assignment 4, the Qualifier Question, and the Proposal. Your journal should be all-new material (as you aren’t repeating the same research you did last week!), but you can include your previous journals as appendices if you think they provide useful context to your peer reviewers.

How far along you are in the process will differ based on the ideas with which you entered the class. We would still generally expect 15-20 new papers this week, and ideally you’ll be honing in on an area to explore for your project, but some of you may still be exploring a good bit — that’s ok! However, in order to be ready for Assignment 4, the Qualifier Question, and the Proposal, we would expect everyone to end this journal with a decision on the general area of research that they want to pursue. This does not yet need to be highly specific, but it should indicate that your interests have narrowed enough that you will be able to fulfill the expectations of Assignment 4. Toward this end, you should close your journal with a one-sentence description of what research interest you plan to pursue, such as “I plan to pursue using virtual reality for teaching high school physics”, “I plan to investigate the usefulness of automated translators in taking online courses originally produced in other languages”, or “I plan to develop a course to teach academic writing.”

The most important things are to (a) document formal progress towards landing on a problem or question, and (b) supply enough information to get feedback from your mentor and classmates.

We would expect a good journal to be around 3-4 pages in JDF. This is neither a minimum nor a maximum, but rather is just a heuristic to understand the level of depth we would expect. We will expect your Journal to show that you’re following the advice prescribed by the Research Guide.


The next two assignments are going to heavily rely on your grasp of the literature related to your problem. Your mentor will ask you a qualifier question meant to test your command of the literature, and then you’ll propose investigating a new problem based on your understanding of the literature. So, to prepare, your activity is to complete an annotated bibliography related to the problem or question area you’ve decided to explore.

Assemble an annotated bibliography of the most pertinent literature surrounding your project area. An annotated bibliography in general is a list of sources with small summaries attached to each for you to more easily refer back to when you start your project. Sources should be cited in APA style.

Your annotated bibliography should have at least 25 sources (30 or more is recommended), but it could certainly be higher; many papers have 40 citations or more. At least 15 of these sources should be scholarly sources: peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers, published books from reputable sources, or editorial articles by established experts. You are welcome to also include non-scholarly sources such as secondary sources (newspaper articles), blogs, corporate press releases or web sites, etc., but you should have at least 15 scholarly sources. It’s also fine to have only scholarly articles. You should also try to organize these sources into sections or categories based on what areas they reflect.

The sources you select should cover the range of topic areas that you’ve identified in your previous assignments. For example, if you were working on a tutoring system for math education, you might look at literature around math education, intelligent tutoring systems, and informal educational settings. If you were looking at the interaction of gender and online education programs, you might look at online education, gender in social media, and gender in education. If you were looking at developing content to teach data science, you might look at literature on the parts of data science you want to teach, online instructional design, and instructional design for data science. You may find some sources that cover multiple areas; these would be your most core related work.

To each source in your annotated bibliography, you should attach a brief 100-word summary. This summary should briefly summarize the article and its major takeaway, and then specifically note what its applicability is to your work. The goal of the annotated bibliography is to give you a source of reference for the higher-level theories, goals, and ideas you want to keep in mind when you get into the details of your project.

The main goal of this assignment is to give you a solid, organized foundation in the literature from which to build for the next two assignments. The secondary goals are for you to be able to get feedback from your classmates and mentor about angles you might not be considering, and share what you have found with others who may be working in the same area.

Your writing is expected to be semi-formal: it is acceptable to use personal pronouns, share your own anecdotes or perspectives, and provide your personal history to explain your interests. However, your writing should be well-organized, grammatically sound, and cleanly formatted. The length of the assignment should be commensurate with the number of sources required.

Submission Instructions

Complete your assignment using JDF, then save your submission as a PDF. Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding assignment submission page in Canvas. You should submit a single PDF for this assignment. This PDF will be ported over to Peer Feedback for peer review by your classmates. If your assignment involves things (like videos, working software prototypes, etc.) that cannot be provided in PDF, you should provide them separately (through OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) and submit a PDF that links to or otherwise describes how to access that material.

This is an individual assignment. Even if you already plan to work on a team for the project, this assignment should still be completed individually.

Late work is not accepted without advanced agreement except in cases of medical or family emergencies. In the case of such an emergency, please contact the Dean of Students.

Grading Information

As with all assignments in this class, this assignment will be graded on an 11-point scale (0 to 10), in accordance with the grading policy outlined in the syllabus. If your deliverable receives below a 9, you may revise and resubmit it once within one week of receiving a grade. Resubmissions may receive up to a 9. Note that this should not be treated as a de facto free pass to submit sorely lacking work initially; we reserve the right to deny resubmission or grade a resubmission more harshly if we perceive the original submission was lacking in earnest effort.

Peer Review

After submission, your assignment will be ported to Peer Feedback for review by your mentor and classmates. Grading is not the primary function of this peer review process; the primary function is simply to give you the opportunity to read and comment on your classmates’ ideas. All grades will come from the mentors alone.

You will typically be assigned four classmates to review. You receive 1.5 participation points for completing a peer review by the end of the day Thursday; 1.0 for completing a peer review by the end of the day Sunday; and 0.5 for completing it after Sunday but before the end of the semester. For more details, see the participation policy.