STUDENT SUCCESS & How combining multiple ideas into a new plan shows higher levels of thinking. #BloomsTaxonomy

Commentary by Professor B: Students sometimes ask how many resources they should be using in their classroom discussion and their homework. I recently responded to a student that “the real key is to show that you’re developing ideas from a number of sources.” Here is the reason why this is important in graduate school:


I’ve given some suggestions, but there really are no requirements. The suggestions I have given are: one to two textbooks and 2 to 3 outside sources for a B. So a person with an A might use more than that.

But the real key is to show that you’re developing ideas from a number of sources.

So as you go through your discussions during the week, be checking around the Internet and finding juried sources that give you ideas how to tackle each week’s problems.

Then when you get to your final paper you will have a cadre of ideas you can synthesize together to create a plan. This synthesis fulfills what is called level five of Bloom’s taxonomy. (See Bloom’s taxonomy says that higher levels demonstrate higher degrees of critical thinking. And the next to the highest level is synthesis: combining several ideas together into something unique that works for your context.

As you know, I have put together a research site ( with links to almost 3000 articles that you can search by keyword. This should help you with a shortcut to juried research that other students have found or that I have found.

But I’m here to help … so I don’t want to be inflexible with the number of sources. Rather just connected with different sources on each week’s topic and create a synthesize plan. That shows not only that you created a unique solution, but also that you’r using higher levels of thinking to do it.

Thanks for the question.

Here to help.

Professor B.

STUDENT SUCCESS & A handy flowchart to identify where to put the apostrophe.

Commentary by Professor B: No one said English was easy. But it does sometimes become very logical. My students may want to consult this helpful “flow chart” when writing their papers to avoid grammatical errors with apostrophes.

Read more at …

STUDENT SUCCESS & A video introduction to my MDiv course: LEAD 600 Congregational Leadership

Commentary by Prof. B.:  Most weeks and in most courses, I put a link to my video introduction to the weekly assignments and give hints for getting more out of the course, its readings and its homework.  The video below is an introduction to the entire MDiv course, titled: LEAD 600: Congregational Leadership.

I have created many postings/videos to help you. And, you can easily use “keywords” to find the help you need:

  • Search for the keywords “Student Success” if you have a question about assignments, due dates, attendance, etc.
  • Search for something like “Intro. to LEAD 600 assignment _____________” to find video introductions to most weekly assignments.  Thus, each week use the key words “LEAD 600” along with a “key word” relevant to the weekly topic (e.g. “ethics,” “strategic leadership,” “budgeting,” etc.) to find specific video introductions to most weekly assignments
  • Search when you need information, not all at once.  I give you a lot of information because I want to help you as much as feasible.
    • And, because I have provided a lot of information, don’t try to read or watch all of my postings at once.
    • Rather, each week and when needed use keywords to find more information as you need.

So, use keywords like “LEAD 600,” in this wiki to find more hints about how to make the most out of this learning experience. Plus, you can also look ahead to postings and videos on upcoming assignments.

Welcome to the learning journey.  I hope you can tell from my enthusiasm that I look forward to participating with you in this educational experience.


STUDENT SUCCESS & Info on Makeup Work for Those Who Miss an Onsite Class

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11/16/17.

(Note: If you are in an online course, please see the attendance parameters here:

Makeup Work for Excused Absences in Onsite Courses

Emergencies always occur and sooner or later they will interfere with a student’s attendance in an onsite class.  For instance, recently on the same classroom night a baby was born (congrats Thomas), a car transmission broke down (prayed for Lee) and another student was teaching at a nearby mega-congregation.

When events happen that prevent attendance at a live, onsite classroom session, here are the parameters I utilize in my courses for fairness and to continue learning:

  1. Request makeup work by contacting me.
    • Do so before the class if possible.
      • My mobile phone number is in the syllabus.
      • If you cannot phone, ask a classmate to let me know.
    • If you cannot let me know until afterward the class, do so at the earliest convenience.
  2. If there discussion points for the week (and most weeks there are) then with my approval your makeup work is the following :
    • In 400-600 words create a “plan” to implement something you learned from the required reading and outside sources you read for the missed week.
    • This plan should be actionable, meaning you describe a “detailed plan” about how you will employ it in your ministry setting.
    • Thus, it should include time-lines, due dates and delegation responsibilities.
    • You plan should include an evaluation element to show how you will know when you have met your goals of implementation.
    • As always,  use APA style including  a cover page, an abstract and (if needed) appendixes.
  3. Submit the plan within three weeks after the missed classroom period (or ask me for an additional extension if the emergency is ongoing).

Remember, attendance is different.

If you have any questions about the Wesley Seminary attendance policy, you can find it at the link below.  Just be aware that while I can give you makeup work, I ethically can’t mark you absent if you didn’t meet the official attendance requirements in the latest catalogue (available here:

Online has different parameters.

Class participation is different for an online course (which occurs over a 7-day week) and an onsite class (which occurs on just 1-2 days).  Hence, for an onsite class (with its limited discussion time) the parameters must be more lenient.

As stated above, if you are in an online course, please see the attendance and posting parameters here:

STUDENT SUCCESS & What you should cite in a book or resource

Students sometimes cite scholarly sources in a manner in which it is unclear to the professor that the student can apply the tools in the book they are citing.  To help students understand how to cite a book and specifically what exactly they should cite from an resource, I have filmed this short introduction.

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

keywords: LEAD 600 545 558 557 545 711 712 701 outside sources citations

STUDENT SUCCESS & An annotated example of a correctly formatted APA paper #PurdueOWL

For students desiring a visual example of a correctly formatted APA paper, check out the Purdue (Go Boilers!) Online Writing Lab. There you will find a helpful example of a correctly formatted APA paper (with captions added to explain APA). You can download the APA example paper at this link:

STUDENT SUCCESS & How to create and receive approval for an independent study at Wesley Seminary

by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 9/5/17.

Students often request the “independent study”  or IP option as a replacement for a course that isn’t offered within a reasonable timeframe.

However the title “independent study” can be misleading if it gives the impression that the student is going to just independently write up the assignments required in the course.

Rather the term “independent” connotes that a student will “independently” take an existing course syllabus and add to it learning activities that would equal and compensate for a 4-8 hours of classroom interaction each week.

Wesley Seminary provides students a form to fill out for an independent study that includes these stipulations. In the middle of the form are four boxes to be checked regarding additional material that must be attached to the application.

The four checked boxes and attachments indicate what additional learning activities the student has added to the syllabus to make this an “independent” study.

Remember, an independent study does not only mean that it’s done independently. But it also means that the student has “independently” created a course based on the provided syllabus which adds roughly 4-8 hours a week of student work that would have been part of the online or onsite discussion/interaction.

It isn’t hard to do, but an “independent study” does require the same amount of work as a course that has interaction with other students and with a professor. Thus, the student independently creates assignments and learning activities that compensate and equal the amount of time the student would have spent conversing with other students and faculty in a course that was taught live.

Here are ideas a student can use to create the 4-8 hours a week of work that would have been part of the online or onsite discussion/interaction in a live course.

First, remember that during a live course the interaction with students and professor would result in the following benefits:

  1. The student would be learning from other students about different contexts.
  2. From the professor they would be learning about the latest books and articles on the topic.
  3. This student would be operating in the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. These levels would include:

To compensate in an IP, a student might undertake the following ideas based upon the numbered bulleted points above:

  1. The student might interview people from various contexts (this is called primary research, where students go themselves to learn about something first-hand).
  2. The student would independently find and skim tools from the latest articles and books (that otherwise a professor might bring into class discussion).
  3. The student would demonstrate each week that they are evaluating, comparing creating and synthesizing ideas into a new, original plan that is indigenous to the student’s context. Be sure to read more about these higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.