STUDENT SUCCESS & Posting Early in the Week Can Increase Your Grade

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/15/15.

Students often begin their coursework by posting late in the week. I understand why this happens, because they are undertaking a new academic element in their life. But, I also like to alert them to a potential problem that can affect their grade.

If you as a student post late in the week, you do not always give other students as well as your professor, sufficient time to probe more deeply your analysis.  This has the following results:

1.)  Your analysis may not be as helpful to your organizational context as it could be, if other students and your facilitator do not have sufficient time to further question you and help you more precisely define your analysis.

2.)  Other students may not have time to respond, and thus they may forfeit points for online interaction because there is not enough time left in the week for interaction among students.

3.)  And finally, I am not able to question you further to understand what is going on in that fertile mind of yours 🙂  As you know, my job is to assess how well you are grasping the concepts and strategic processes outlined in the reading and as applied to your organizational context (e.g. your case study).  Thus, I am unable to fully comprehend your thinking without, at times, positing follow-through questions.

Thus, I would like to tender a potential schedule that students have found works very well in the past.

Friday:  read each week’s readings of the first day of the week (Friday) and also post your answers to the questions in the downloadable weekly assignments on Friday too.

Saturday and Sunday: take two days off 🙂

Monday: get back online and interact with fellow students, asking them about what they are learning and giving them advice.

Tuesday through Thursday: work increasingly less on your online interaction and increasingly more on your paper (which is due Thursday at midnight).

This schedule is not mandatory, only an example of what I have seen work best for most students in our program.  This will not only help your grade, but will also help fine-tune your analysis and its benefits for your organizational context … as well as benefiting our goal of creating World-changers (Matthew 28:19ff).

STUDENT SUCCESS & Should Graduate School Students Use Citations in Discussion Postings?

by Bob Whitesel D.Min, Ph.D., 8/15/15.

Sometimes students in my courses wonder if they need to use citations with their postings.  Yes you should (it will become easier as you go along) and let me explain why.

Graduate school, such as a seminary, is different from undergraduate work.  In graduate school, unlike undergraduate work, you do what is called: “research.”

The word “research” is a clue that means digging into what scholars say about the topic in addition to what you discover when you apply it.  The idea of research is to not only share your thoughts, but investigate (i.e. explore, examine) what scholars are saying about the subject too.  Thus, this exercise is not simply an assignment to share your thoughts, but also to share your growing understanding of what experts are saying about each forum’s (and paper’s) topic.

To facilitate learning in others (e.g. so they can see where your ideas come from) it is necessary for you to cite where your ideas came from.  This doesn’t have to be too formal (APA is optional in the discussion forums) but you should give other students a location (via a citation) where they can look up the info you cite.  This is standard practice in research.  And, it helps others find the scholarly sources you have uncovered!

Don’t worry, I typically grade leniently until our students get acquainted with what graduate research entails.  And, I know many of you are in graduate school for the first time and thus I will be lenient.  Though fairness dictates you forfeit some points if you are not citing research, I will also give you some ideas on what you can do to improve your score.

As you know, if you follow http://www.ChurchHealth.wiki I will 4-6 times a week I cite here new, exciting and relevant research that I come upon.  And, if you follow this blog, you will get an email everytime I post new research … including a short synopsis.

I am here to help you learn.  And, thus I will always share with you some of ideas to help you generate more research/learning (and more points 🙂

So, if your question is “Do I need to use citations on my discussion postings?” the answer is yes, since this is a graduate school where we are studying “research.”