FAILURE & Researchers find that failing 15% of the time is the “sweet spot” for learning. #UnivOfArizona #Princeton #BrownUniv #UCLA

by Eric Mack, Inc. Magazine, 11/6/19.

…it turns out, there may be a sweet spot for failing, according to new research out from a team led by the University of Arizona with help from researchers at Brown University, Princeton, and the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Their new study, out in the journal Nature Communications and titled “The Eighty Five Percent Rule for Optimal Learning,” makes the case that getting it wrong 15 percent of the time is actually the “sweet spot” for learning.

“These ideas that were out there in the education field–that there is this ‘zone of proximal difficulty,’ in which you ought to be maximizing your learning–we’ve put that on a mathematical footing,” said lead author and Arizona professor of psychology and cognitive science Robert Wilson, in a release.

“If you have an error rate of 15 percent or accuracy of 85 percent, you are always maximizing your rate of learning in these two-choice tasks,” Wilson said, adding that the 85 percent rule was also seen to hold in previous studies of animal learning.

…If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. 

“If you are taking classes that are too easy and acing them all the time, then you probably aren’t getting as much out of a class as someone who’s struggling but managing to keep up,” Wilson said.

Learning comes from challenges and challenges come with a risk of failure. What’s new is that we now know that risk should be at about 15 percent. 

FAILURE & Researchers find that failing 15% of the time is the “sweet spot” for learning. #UnivOfArizona #Princeton #BrownUniv #UCLA

by Eric Mack, Inc. Magazine, 11/6/19.

…it turns out, there may be a sweet spot for failing, according to new research out from a team led by the University of Arizona with help from researchers at Brown University, Princeton, and the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Their new study, out in the journal Nature Communications and titled “The Eighty Five Percent Rule for Optimal Learning,” makes the case that getting it wrong 15 percent of the time is actually the “sweet spot” for learning.

“These ideas that were out there in the education field–that there is this ‘zone of proximal difficulty,’ in which you ought to be maximizing your learning–we’ve put that on a mathematical footing,” said lead author and Arizona professor of psychology and cognitive science Robert Wilson, in a release.

“If you have an error rate of 15 percent or accuracy of 85 percent, you are always maximizing your rate of learning in these two-choice tasks,” Wilson said, adding that the 85 percent rule was also seen to hold in previous studies of animal learning.

…If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. 

“If you are taking classes that are too easy and acing them all the time, then you probably aren’t getting as much out of a class as someone who’s struggling but managing to keep up,” Wilson said.

Learning comes from challenges and challenges come with a risk of failure. What’s new is that we now know that risk should be at about 15 percent. 

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:

Hello,

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 https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/student-success-blooms-taxonomy-explained-what-it-means-for-student-learning/) 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 (www.churchhealth.wiki) 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 … https://lifehacker.com/figure-out-where-to-put-the-apostrophe-with-this-handy-1822306431

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: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/student-success-my-expectations-for-late-postings-in-my-courses/)

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: http://indwes.smartcatalogiq.com/en/2017-2018/Catalog_

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: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/student-success-my-expectations-for-late-postings-in-my-courses/

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:

Click to access viewer

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.

 

 

STUDENT SUCCESS & Outside sources: How to use them to show you have a holistic understanding of the weekly topic

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/25/17.

Watch this video for my short explanation of why and how you can use outside scholarship to foster a more holistic, creative and effective leadership plan. Plus, you will demonstrate to your professor that you have a working knowledge of what scholars have said about each week’s topic.

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

STUDENT SUCCESS & Bloom’s Taxonomy Explained … What It Means for Student Learning

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 10/23/17.

Untitled copyWhen a student is in graduate school, they are expected to “think at a higher level” than they would while pursuing an undergraduate degree.

But how do you define this higher level of thinking?

Thankfully, an educator named Benjamin S. Bloom and his colleagues devised a hierarchal way of looking at learning. They gave the “higher levels of thinking, higher numbers” in a chart called “Bloom’s Taxonomy”  It can be found in the book: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals (1969).

Here is what I said in an article I wrote for adjunct instructors about this: “Graduate education differs to a degree with undergraduate education in that graduate education tries to foster thinking and application that is “higher” on Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains.”

So, we as professors are trying to encourage students to think at higher levels as charted on Bloom’s chart of learning.

To see the difference, look at the words associated with the higher domains, such as “analyzing (level 4), evaluating (level 5) and creating (level 6).”  I think you can see that you can’t be analyzing without comparing 2+ views on the topic. And you certainly can’t be evaluating or creating without looking at 2+ views on each topic.

Therefore as a professor, I give my students a rule-of-thumb in my syllabi that “analyzing, evaluating and creating” in my courses requires a rule-of-thumb use of 1-2 textbooks and 2-3 outside sources for average, i.e. “B-level” work. Therefore a student who scores better than a B would be expected to use 3+ textbooks and 4+ outside sources. Students had told me this rule of thumb greatly helps.

So dig into other views on each topic you’re studying by skimming articles, books and videos on each topic.

To help you do this, I created ChurchHealth.wiki as a great place to find those articles. You can just “search” for a topic and you will find hand-picked articles I have curated for you because they are relevant to the topics I teach.

For a quick overview see this chart: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/07/a-quick-guide-to-21st-century-critical.html

Also, skim over this comparative diagram developed by Andrew Churches (GlobalDigitalCitizen.org) which depicts and compares the varying levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: FIGURE Blooms Taxonomy poster GlobalDigitalCitizenFIGURE Blooms Taxonomy poster GlobalDigitalCitizen

And, here are more ideas that I have posted elsewhere (for students applying for “independent studies”) about how to create research at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

(The following is by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 9/5/17 and is from STUDENT SUCCESS & How to create and receive approval for an independent study at Wesley Seminary. See #3 under the first set of bulleted points.)

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.

You can also download a helpful explanation of Bloom’s Taxonomy from BloomsTaxonomy.org here: http://www.bloomstaxonomy.org/Blooms%20Taxonomy%20questions.pdf

STUDENT SUCCESS & An Explanation of DMin Post-seminar Assignment Parameters for 2017

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 7/24/17.

Post-seminar assignment

  1.         Personal Bible, History and Theology Paper.  (250 points)

Write a 14-22 page paper (covering insights from both courses) demonstrating that you are conversant in the key biblical/historical/theological source material regarding leadership and application.

  1.   Explain your developing understanding of:
  • A biblical, historical and theological understanding of one of more of the following leadership topics as relevant to your leadership:
  • Wesley’s leadership,
  • renewal leadership
  • and/or multiplication leadership.

PROF B > Basically pick one or more of the “leadership topics” (Wesley’s leadership, renewal leadership and/or multiplication leadership) and for each one have three sections.

EXAMPLE > Let’s use “renewal leadership” as an example (though you might choose a different one or two of the others). The first section will describe your developing biblical understanding of “renewal leadership.” The second section will describe your developing historical understanding of “renewal leadership.” And the third section will describe your developing theological understanding of “renewal leadership.”

  • Tell how this understanding will inform your plan for transformational leadership (i.e. in the following Student Analysis Paper).

PROF B > Explain in each section how that section will impact your plan (in the next paper).

  1.  Synthesize key biblical, historical and theological issues with organizational understandings into a practical, historically consistent and theologically valid process model for bringing about effective Wesleyan, renewal and/or multiplication leadership in your ministry.

PROF B > A process model (which I am sure all understand by now) is a “model” or “plan” that will take place over time (hence a “process model”). This plan here describes how your developing understanding of the bible, theology and history will impact your application plan. So this assignment basically describes how you will keep relevant aspects of bible, theology and history impacting your application paper (the next assignment). So, show me a plan that you will use throughout your ministry that will keep relevant bible, theology and history aspects impacting your application plan (which is the next paper).

EXAMPLE: Perhaps you will begin a monthly reading as some of Wesley’s journals, i.e. passages that relate to one of the three topics mentioned above. Or perhaps you will delve into what the Bible says about multiplication in a personal Bible study you have with friends. Or you may decide that every six weeks you will interview a pastor turnaround church church and glean ideas. Basically you need to show a plan to keep the bible, church history and theology central in your growth as a transformational leader and in your foundation for transforming an organization

  1.  Use a title page, abstract, appendixes and citation pages (which do not count toward page totals).
  2.  Student Analysis Paper (250 points)

Write a 22-36 page paper (covering insights from both courses) proposing a strategy for applying Wesley’s leadership methodologies, renewal leadership and/or multiplication leadership for a specific ministry challenge in your ministry. Utilize the following sections (which may each be of varying length):

PROF B > This is basically your organizational plan. You want to take the ideas from your first paper and now show the practical plans that grow out of them regarding either Wesley’s leadership methodologies, renewal leadership and/or multiplication leadership.

Section 1: Describe your level of skill as a transformational leader in the areas of Wesley’s methodologies, renewal and/or multiplication along with a personal plan for growth.  Though your level of skill as in these areas has been broached in your pre-seminar paper, do not cut-and-paste ideas from the pre-seminar work.  Instead reedit, improve and expand ideas from your pre-seminar work.  Also, section 1 in this post-seminar paper must add a robust and detailed personal plan for growth.

PROF B > Be very careful of plagiarism here. You don’t want to just cite what you did from your pre-seminar paper (or even what you did for one of the doctoral courses last year). In this section you should analyze your skill as a transformational leader and how it has changed since you’ve been in England and in these online discussions.

ASSESSMENT > This section will be in each of your papers and give you a chance to evaluate how you improved from before the live seminar (this year in England) and even allow comparison between years, i.e. how your skill has changed since last year.

Section 2:  Upon the biblical, historical and theological foundations from your previous paper build a detailed strategy selection, implementation and outcomes that cites the impact of bible, history and theology upon your plan.

PROF B > Don’t restate sections from your previous paper, but rather use short phrases and citations to describe how the Bible, church history and theology will impact each of your strategic plans in this paper. Thus, you don’t want to restate entire sections of the previous paper. That can be perceived as padding by professors, meaning that you are filling up the paper with previous work to reach your page total. I know you would not do that. But, I want to make you aware that that can be a perception and we don’t want that when you go before your projects committee.

Ensure that this process model synthesizes both key theological issues and important organizational concepts.

PROF B > Again site relevant theological issues and don’t overlook them. Sometimes theological issues get overlooked because it’s easier to talk about historical issues and biblical issues.

Also, demonstrate how this outcome has emerged from an understanding codified in your Personal Bible/history/theological Paper.

PROF B > Again, it should be clear how the Bible, history and theology have impacted your plan and made it better. Use short phrases and appropriate citations to show your plan is tied back to a solid biblical, historical and theological undersanding.

WIDE BREADTH OF SCHOLARSHIP > I think you all are aware by the time you get to a doctoral level that you are supposed to be siting dozens of relevant primary sources in your papers. Sometimes students will cite as source and use it only once in your paper. If the source is really that good and it should be reoccurring in your paper many times. Your paper should be a clear example that you have taken various series and the ologies and created from them a new and exciting way strategic plan for your ministry. That is why you’re required to read 4000 pages because it is assumed that most of those books will make their way into your paper. Remember, the paper is an example of you taking what great scholars have said about your topics and apply them to your local situation. So it’s important that you demonstrate that you have a broad knowledge of Scholarship buy respective academics regarding the plans you are proposing.

CHURCHHEALTH.WIKI & The DISCUSSION FORUM PURPOSE > As I know you all are aware, you can find on my wiki dozens and dozens of articles: not just on topics from our courses, but also on APA formatting, how many citations to use, etc. Go there for the answers and if you can’t find them there then crowd-source them in your discussion forum. Chances are a previous student has asked a similar question at one time and I’ve answered it there. In fact, I will put this entire elaborated description of your assignment on ChurchHealth.wiki so you are have access to it anytime you need it.

FORUMS > And so, the forums are a place to go deeper in your application more than asking questions about the assignments. You certainly can and should do the latter in the forums, but that’s not its primary purpose. Its primary purpose is to take everything that you’re putting into your paper and allow your cohort-mates to help you focus it, find more citations and make it more likely to succeed.

Use due dates, delegation responsibilities, timelines, PERT charts, etc.

PROF B > Finally, don’t forget to use appendices to include charts, timelines and plans such as PERT charts. You want to create a visual representation that you might use to show what you’re proposing to your leaders. This will also prepare you for your final DMIN project when a visual plan will be a an important part of your Dr. of Ministry project. See more about appendices in the finaly paragraph below.

Appendixes:  Include in this paper an 11 x 17 diagram mapping the student’s transformational leadership process with suggested due dates, delegation procedures, accountability networks, and triggers that will move the process forward toward an effective conclusion.  Footnote this process model with brief descriptions of relevant theological thought that have informed each stage of one’s process model.  Note:  Use a title page, abstract, appendixes and citation pages (which do not count toward page totals).

#DMin

 

STUDENT SUCCESS & Don’t Use the First Resource That Pops Up in a Google Search

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Sometimes several students will cite the same outside resource, because it appears near the top of a Google search.  Many times this can be a relevant article. But other times, it may not be.

Let me give an example with a hint for student success.

I ask students to find scholarly research that explains the “difference between primary and secondary research.”  Usually, a handful of students will cite https://www.thebalance.com (an advertising agency). The advertising agency is not juried (i.e. does not have an editorial board of scholars verifying their explanation is reliable and valid).  But, they do correctly identify the difference between primary and secondary research.

Therefore, should students use such a source?

YES:  If students are using this source to verify that practitioners agree with scholars on the differences between primary and secondary research. This would be acceptable.

NO: If students are using these practitioners as a source of reliable and valid information in an academic course, a scholarly source should probably be utilized instead.

If you are unsure about a source, find out about their background and if they have scholarly degrees (masters or doctoral) and/or have a scholarly editorial board, they would be considered scholars. (Though there are different levels of scholarship.)

In the example above, students could find out about the ad agency’s background by clicking on the “about us” link: https://www.thebalance.com/about-us. There students could find that while they are practitioners, they’re not scholars (and it’s not juried by an editorial board).

The problem arises because in a Google search for the “difference between primary and secondary research” this link often pops up near the top. However remember, in graduate school (a research-based school) you should not choose an outside source based upon popularity, but based upon scholarship.

While I always try to be gracious and give students some leeway early on in our course, I cannot do so later in the course. Student resources should increasingly be scholarly and therefore for fairness I will usually grade down a little bit more each week for non-scholarly sources.

My students understand that fairness and academic veracity require this. It makes their degree worth more and their learning more valuable.

STUDENT SUCCESS & My Grading Policies w/ More Examples of Outstanding Work

(from one of my recent syllabi)

Grading Policies

Your grading policy for your course is dependent on your school and program.  Your grading policies can be found in the IWU Catalog.

Discussions

In most workshops, there are discussion forums.  These discussions focus on either a special topic or general material from the workshop.  You will be given instructions on which discussion forums apply to the current workshop.  Complete discussions individually or in study groups as instructed. Well-thought-out postings that add something intellectually to the discussion are required for a good grade. Your initial postings should fully answer the questions posed in the course interface.  Additionally, you must reply to at least two of your classmate’s postings. Postings of the “I agree” or “Me too” variety will not suffice.

In these weekly discussions conduct some outside reading in a minimum of two to three books to support your observations. This might include a Bible commentary, other books on this topic, etc.  Customarily the graduate school student is expected to be skimming a minimum of several outside books each week and bring them into, when helpful, the online conversation.  Also bring into the conversation relevant ideas from your other course textbooks.  Thus, each week the student should be bringing into the online conversation one to two textbooks and two to three outside references as a minimum.

Also be sure to reply to any followup questions posted by your instructor. These are designed to help you dig deeper into application and theory.

End-of-week Papers

Most weeks an end-of-week paper will be due by Thursday 11:59pm. Like your discussions these end-of-week papers should cite relevant outside readings which support your observations. Similar to the discussion parameters, the graduate school student is expected at a minimum to be skimming several outside books each week and bringing them to bear upon their weekly papers (with citations).  Also, don’t forget to bring into your papers relevant ideas from other course textbooks.

And, unless specified differently by your professor, your end-of-week papers should comply with APA formatting rules and include an abstract.

An Expectation of Outside Scholarship

Therefore for B level work, the student should each week be utilizing and citing in their weekly papers and discussion forums, one to two textbooks and two to three outside references.  Remember however, this is for B level work.  A person seeking a higher grade would be expected to do better.

Letter Grade Equivalencies

Grade
Description of Work

A
Clearly stands out as excellent performance. Has unusually sharp insights into material and initiates thoughtful questions. Sees many sides of an issue. Articulates well and writes logically and clearly. Integrates ideas previously learned from this and other disciplines. Anticipates next steps in progression of ideas. Example “A” work should be of such nature that it could be put on reserve for all cohort members to review and emulate. The “A” cohort member is, in fact, an example for others to follow. Typical interaction will be 3+ times in each forum.

B
Demonstrates a solid comprehension of the subject matter and always accomplishes all course requirements. Serves as an active participant and listener. Communicates orally and in writing at an acceptable level for the degree program. Work shows intuition and creativity. Example “B” work indicates good quality of performance and is given in recognition for solid work; a “B” should be considered a good grade and awarded to those who submit assignments of quality less than the exemplary work described above. Typical interaction will be 3+ times in each forum.

C
Quality and quantity of work in and out of class is average. Has marginal comprehension, communication skills, or initiative. Requirements of the assignments are addressed at least minimally. Typical interaction will be 3 or fewer times in each forum.

D
Quality and quantity of work is below average. Has minimal comprehension, communication skills, or initiative. Requirements of the assignments are addressed at below acceptable levels. Typical interaction will be two or fewer times in each forum.

F
Quality and quantity of work is unacceptable and does not qualify the student to progress to a more advanced level of work.

STUDENT SUCCESS & Helping Other Students Not Only Aids Them, But Increases Your Score Too

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 4/19/17

Students often ask how to score well in an online discussion posting. And though the parameters for each letter grade are spelled out in great detail in the syllabus (and I’ve posted them again below) students often want examples.

Here are examples: one is a student’s posting about a “worship disaster” followed by two examples of responses. The first is a poor example of a response and the second is a good example.

Situation of Student X:

…My pastor decided to add a service on Wednesdays at 6:30pm.  I would not call it a disaster, but definitely a failure. We had already added a third service on Sunday mornings and we just did not have enough room to accommodate all the worshippers. The solution that leadership tried to implement was to add a Wednesday evening service which would allow for more newcomers. The service was from 7pm to 8:30 pm.

The mistake was adding the Wednesday evening service. The reason it was a failure is because adding the Wednesday service did not do what was it was supposed to do. Most of the people who attended to Wednesday service were people who already normally attended church on Sunday. I believe it is important that we deal with our mistakes as individuals and as the church…

Response of Student 1 (a poor example)

_____StudentName____, that certainly is a difficult situation. I know that Charles Arn has some good insights in his book about how to start a new service. You might want to take a look there and see what which of his ideas might be helpful.

Response of Student 2 (a better example)

_____StudentName____, I am sorry to hear about the failure of this mid-week service. It seems to me, though, by the way you described how normal Sunday service attenders would come on Wednesday nights that maybe there was not a specific group that the church was trying to reach with this service and it was seen by the congregants as an additional time for them, not for non-attenders.

It may have been more effective if the leadership would have placed an emphasis on the service being either for a select generational, or even spiritual group as discussed in Charles Arn’s book How to Start a New Service (1997). By focusing the service on a select group there could have been mitigation and buy-in from the regular attenders that the new service was to reach new people…

Arn, C. (1997). How to start a new service your church can reach new people. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.


My (Dr. Whitesel’s) response:

What Student 2 did right:

I agree with Student 2. I think the problem was that a specific outreach group wasn’t identified. And then as Student B simply stated, congregants felt it was just another requirement on their already busy volunteer schedule.

Student 2 helped Student X with the following suggestion, “Seems to me, though, by the way you described how normal Sunday service attenders would come on Wednesday nights that maybe there was not a specific group that the church was trying to reach with this service and it was seen by the congregants as an additional time for them, not for non-attenders. It may have been more effective if the leadership would have placed an emphasis on the service being either for a select generational, or even spiritual group as discussed in Charles Arn’s book How to Start a New Service (1997).”

This is the type of posting graduate students will want to utilize in their online conversations. Student 2 found reliable and valid scholarly insights on Student X’s situation and shared those with her.

The result was it not only helped the Student X, but it also helped me the professor see that Student A understood the principles of Dr. Arn’s book.

What Student 1 did wrong:

Student 1 didn’t share any ideas from Dr. Arn’s book, but rather just referred the student to it. Student 1 had probably read Dr. Arn’s book and knew it would be helpful. But as the professor, I have no evidence that Student 1 knew what was in the book.

So if a student simply points to a book for the solutions, it doesn’t earn many points. That is because it’s not clear to the professor if they have read more than the cover of the book. Now, I know that the vast majority of my students have read these books, but for fairness to all students I must see written proof that they know and can apply the principles in the books they cite. And the best way to do that is to help others.

So it’s a win-win. First, Student 2’s type of posting helps the person to whom the student is responding (Student X). And second, it demonstrates to the professor that the responder (Student 2) understands the scholarship on the subject at hand.


From one of my syllabi:

Grading Policies

Your grading policy for your course is dependent on your school and program.  Your grading policies can be found in the IWU Catalog.

Discussions

In most workshops, there are discussion forums.  These discussions focus on either a special topic or general material from the workshop.  You will be given instructions on which discussion forums apply to the current workshop.  Complete discussions individually or in study groups as instructed. Well-thought-out postings that add something intellectually to the discussion are required for a good grade. Your initial postings should fully answer the questions posed in the course interface.  Additionally, you must reply to at least two of your classmate’s postings. Postings of the “I agree” or “Me too” variety will not suffice.

In these weekly discussions conduct some outside reading in a minimum of two to three books to support your observations. This might include a Bible commentary, other books on this topic, etc.  Customarily the graduate school student is expected to be skimming a minimum of several outside books each week and bring them into, when helpful, the online conversation.  Also bring into the conversation relevant ideas from your other course textbooks.  Thus, each week the student should be bringing into the online conversation one to two textbooks and two to three outside references as a minimum.

Also be sure to reply to any followup questions posted by your instructor. These are designed to help you dig deeper into application and theory.

Initial posts are due by Tuesday 11:59pm.  Follow up posts are due by Thursday 11:59pm.

End-of-week Papers

Most weeks an end-of-week paper will be due by Thursday 11:59pm. Like your discussions these end-of-week papers should cite relevant outside readings which support your observations. Similar to the discussion parameters, the graduate school student is expected at a minimum to be skimming several outside books each week and bringing them to bear upon their weekly papers (with citations).  Also, don’t forget to bring into your papers relevant ideas from other course textbooks.

And, unless specified differently by your professor, your end-of-week papers should comply with APA formatting rules and include an abstract.

An Expectation of Outside Scholarship

Therefore for B level work, the student should each week be utilizing and citing in their weekly papers and discussion forums, one to two textbooks and two to three outside references.  Remember however, this is for B level work.  A person seeking a higher grade would be expected to do better.

Letter Grade Equivalencies

Grade
Description of Work

A
Clearly stands out as excellent performance. Has unusually sharp insights into material and initiates thoughtful questions. Sees many sides of an issue. Articulates well and writes logically and clearly. Integrates ideas previously learned from this and other disciplines. Anticipates next steps in progression of ideas. Example “A” work should be of such nature that it could be put on reserve for all cohort members to review and emulate. The “A” cohort member is, in fact, an example for others to follow. Typical interaction will be 3+ times in each forum.

B
Demonstrates a solid comprehension of the subject matter and always accomplishes all course requirements. Serves as an active participant and listener. Communicates orally and in writing at an acceptable level for the degree program. Work shows intuition and creativity. Example “B” work indicates good quality of performance and is given in recognition for solid work; a “B” should be considered a good grade and awarded to those who submit assignments of quality less than the exemplary work described above. Typical interaction will be 3+ times in each forum.

C
Quality and quantity of work in and out of class is average. Has marginal comprehension, communication skills, or initiative. Requirements of the assignments are addressed at least minimally. Typical interaction will be 3 or fewer times in each forum.

D
Quality and quantity of work is below average. Has minimal comprehension, communication skills, or initiative. Requirements of the assignments are addressed at below acceptable levels. Typical interaction will be two or fewer times in each forum.

F
Quality and quantity of work is unacceptable and does not qualify the student to progress to a more advanced level of work.

STUDENT SUCCESS & Why Asking Questions of Other Students is Not the Application Goal of a Seminary

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 3/30/17.

Seminaries are so-called “professional schools.” That puts them in the category with Business Schools which offer MBA degrees.  In seminaries we typically offer ecclesial-orientated, but similiar degrees: MDiv, MA and DMin. These are professional degrees, which means that the students are usually already engaged in their profession and are honing their skills.

Therefore, students are expected to weekly be “applying” what they are learning to their profession in professional schools, such as business schools and seminaries. For example, in a MBA Business School program a student might investigate how to apply an innovate financial model to their business and report back to their professor the applicability.

Papers should describe application plans.

Seminary is the same way.  Students are expected to:

  • Take what they are learning each week
  • “apply” it to their ministry,
  • Then report back to fellow students and their professor.

This is why our end-of-week papers are customarily called “Application Papers,” because they describe how the student would “apply” to their profession what they learned that week.

Discussions also should describe application ideas, not just ask questions.

For students to earn points in professional school discussions, they should do more than just ask questions of the other students. Often times students do this because they see the professor asking questions. However the professor’s role is different: she or he is there to probe the thinking and depth of understanding of the students. Other students can do this as well, but it doesn’t demonstrate to the professor that the student is understand the content. It only demonstrates that the other students can ask questions.

To earn points for discussions in a professional school,

  • Students look up research that can help the other students
  • Then “apply” that research to the other student’s context.

Here is an example:

A student stated that he thought small groups create intimacy in larger churches.  And, he asked a fellow student, who pastored a large church, if this was the case.  The large church pastor did not utilize small groups and thus did not reply.

However in a professional school, students do not earn points by asking questions, but by giving application solutions.

Let’s go back to our example.  The student’s thesis, that small groups create intimacy in larger churches, is easily supportable from research by various scholars. He could start with the “Reveal Study” that was conducted at Bill Hybel’s church.

So, to earn points for application:

  1. The student finds research on how large churches can maintain intimacy as they grow.  The student might discover that small groups help with this.
  2. Then the student shares his/her  research-supportable findings with fellow students.
  3. Finally, the student explains (and cites) some “tools” or mechanisms for fostering small groups in a large church environment. Results are …
    • The large church pastor would benefit from the application insights in the “tools” suggested.
    • And, the student would demonstrate to the professor that she/he was conversant in scholarly research and application on the topic at hand.

STUDENT SUCCESS & How to Find Scholarly Articles if You Are a @WesleySeminary Student #OCLS

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Sometimes my students have difficulty locating scholarly journal articles. This is because not all scholarly articles have yet to be catalogued by search engines such as Google. However, if you are a Wesley Seminary student we have provided you a quick and easy way to access almost every scholarly journal that has been published. This service is called Off-campus Library Services (OCLS). Here is how they explain the process for downloading (free to Wesley Seminary students) the following article:

Hagley, S.J. (2008, September 1). [Review of the book Organizational change: Theory and practice, by W.W. Burke]. Journal of Religious Leadership 7, no. 2 125-128. 3 pp.

Begin forwarded message:
Date: February 15, 2017 at 7:52:01 PM EST
To: “Whitesel, Bob” <Bob.Whitesel@indwes.edu>

Bob,
Thank you for contacting OCLS. Due to Federal Copyright Law restrictions, we are not able to provide a copy of any article to you for you to distribute to your students. They will need to individually contact us for any articles they need.

However, this particular article is available through our site.

You/they will need to start on the OCLS homepage, www2.indwes.edu/ocls, and click on “Journal Titles” from the “Key Links” section.

In the search box, type in the name of the journal, which is Journal of Religious Leadership, and click on “Search.”

You/they will see that there is only one database through which we have access to this journal: ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Click on the link for that database.

Once you’ve clicked on the database link, you/they will be taken to a new screen. Select “+2008” from the list of years under the “All Issues” section on the far right.

Then select “Volume 7 Issue 2 – Fall 2008.” Scroll down the list of articles from that issue and the one you/they need is number 8. Click on “PDF Full Text” to read the article.

If you or your students have any questions, please let us know. Thank you and have a wonderful evening!

OFF CAMPUS LIBRARY SERVICES

INDIANA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
NATIONAL AND GLOBAL CAMPUS
4201 S. WASHINGTON ST
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1-800-521-1848 | 765-677-2682 (LOCAL) | 765-677-2767 (FAX)
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WWW.INDWES.EDU/OCLS  |  HOURS:8-8, M-TH; 8-5, F; 9:30-2, SAT (GMT-5)

STUDENT SUCCESS & Are You a Degree-seeking Student or a Knowledge-seeking One?

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/27/16.

Over the years I’ve noticed many students gravitating towards one of two academic cliques. Not all students will gravitate to one or the other, but many will. My observations have led me to believe connecting with one group in lieu of the other is more beneficial for long-term professional impact. I’m talking about the difference between those who seek a degree and those who seek knowledge. Let me explain a few differences.

The purpose for going to school:

The degree-seeking student is often encouraged to go to school because of a family or professional expectation. Their goal is to get the degree, which they hope will open professional doors. Often times those doors don’t open because, while they possess the degree, their knowledge is weakly formed.

Knowledge-seeking students usually go to school because they have a propensity towards being a creative learner. They want to learn new concepts and apply them in new ways. They are innovative and in brace past knowledge as a foundation upon which to build new insights. They believe they can change the way their profession behaves.

Hanging out:

The degree-seeking student usually hangs out with other similarly oriented students with conversations about the benefits or lack of benefits of the degree. Similarly, they tend to be more critical of the process, because they want to hurry through the academic journey to get the goal towards which they strive: the degree. It is not uncommon to hear them complaining about due dates, level of depth expected by the professor and all sorts of seemingly unfair academic expectations that slow them in their progress to a degree.

Knowledge-seeking students see academia as a challenge and understand that extra work can result in extra knowledge. They don’t add citations to assignments simply because they want to pad the assignment. Instead they absorb knowledge from from a broad reading base, upon which to craft new ways to think about their homework topics. They look forward to input from the professor and often engage in dialogue about the topic with their professor at off hours.

Unlike the degree-seeking student that may engage their professor with complaints about why the process is not easier or quicker: the knowledge-seeking student usually engages the professor with questions and ideas about how the topic can be investigated and applied better.

The lure of the cliques:

Similar to the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story, there’s a tendency for the nonaffiliated students to be pulled into one of these groups. It is evident from what I have written here, that I believe one of these groups better serves the student and the Academy. But many students do not affiliate with either, preferring to just get through the program with a modicum of knowledge.

Yet, I believe today we need more students who are dedicated to investigating, synthesizing and forming new understandings about our world. Our great Creator has given us many mysteries and applications to solve. And I believe He has provided the relationship of the mentor and mentee as one way to discover it.

STUDENT SUCCESS & The Importance of Perseverance

by Anya Kanenetz, National Public Radio, 3/8/16.

… The science shows … Students who believe they can do better with more effort, who try harder, who can delay instant gratification and control their impulses, who take feedback well and know how to work on teams, are likely to become happier, healthier, more successful adults.

What’s missing right now, though, is a consensus on how best to cultivate those qualities…

Read more at … http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/03/03/468870056/is-grit-doomed-to-be-the-new-self-esteem

STUDENT SUCCESS & The Best Way to Cite eBooks in APA Format

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 3/7/16.

Sometimes students wonder how to cite eBooks (such as Kindle) correctly in APA format. You can find the answer to most APA questions quickly by checking Purdue’s “OWL” (Online Writing Lab), just CLICK on …

  • COURSE DASHBOARD (in the left menu on Learning Studio)
    • IWU RESOURCES (in the left menu again)
      • Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) – Considered to be one of the best writing centers available and used at many universities. (under APA RESOURCES)

Here is link to the OWL site with the answer: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/  And here is what is says:

Electronic Books

Electronic books may include books found on personal websites, databases, or even in audio form. Use the following format if the book you are using is only provided in a digital format or is difficult to find in print. If the work is not directly available online or must be purchased, use “Available from,” rather than “Retrieved from,” and point readers to where they can find it. For books available in print form and electronic form, include the publish date in parentheses after the author’s name. For references to e-book editions, be sure to include the type and version of e-book you are referencing (e.g., “[Kindle DX version]”). If DOIs are available, provide them at the end of the reference.

De Huff, E. W. (n.d.). Taytay’s tales: Traditional Pueblo  Indian tales. Retrieved from  http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/dehuff/taytay/taytay.html

Davis, J. (n.d.). Familiar birdsongs of the Northwest.  Available from http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio? inkey=1-9780931686108-0

Kindle Books

To cite Kindle (or other e-book formats) you must include the following information: The author, date of publication, title, e-book version, and either the Digital Object Identifer (DOI) number, or the place where you downloaded the book. Please note that the DOI/place of download is used in-place of publisher information. Here’s an example:

Stoker, B. (1897). Dracula [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from amazon.com

But, make this one change

From the above citation process you don’t know if the book is a “juried” resource (e.g. has an editorial board, or jury, of scholars that is testifying the material is reliable and valid).  And, in scholarly work (e.g. graduate school, seminaries) you should be using mostly juried sources.  Thus, there is a problem for a couple reasons:

  1. Kindle is not a “juried” publisher.  It takes what all publishers print and converts books to electronic forms, so you do not know if the citation is “juried” by scholars in the field.  And, you won’t know unless you check the printed books publisher.
  2. The Chicago Style Manual (an alternative to APA) solves this by requiring the “City: Publisher, Date” to be included.  See these examples:

Lemon, Rebecca, Emma Mason, Johnathan Roberts, and Christopher Rowland, ed. The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. PDF e-book.

Thrall, Grant Ian. Land Use and Urban Form. New York: Methuen, 1987. http://www.rri.wvu.edu/WebBook/Thrallbook/Land%20Use%20and%20Urban%20Form.pdf.

Therefore in (research-based) courses, such as seminary courses I teach in the MA, MDiv and DMin degree programs:

ADD the “City: Publisher, Date.” information before “Retrieved from …” or “Available From…”

Here are the above APA citations with this addition (in red for emphasis only):

De Huff, E. W. (n.d.). Taytay’s tales: Traditional Pueblo  Indian tales. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922. Retrieved from  http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/dehuff/taytay/taytay.html

Davis, J. (n.d.). Familiar birdsongs of the Northwest.  Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2006. Available from http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio? inkey=1-9780931686108-0

Stoker, B. (1897). Dracula [Kindle DX version]. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2000. Retrieved from amazon.com

(Remember additions in red are for illustration only – do not use red.)

This short little addition will help you confirm that your eBook citation is “juried” and thus an reliable source for your seminary/graduate school education.