Classroom Research Seminar

As part of an ongoing initiative to support the scholarship of teaching and learning, the UW-La Crosse Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Work Group invites applications from faculty and instructional academic staff to participate in a year-long Classroom Research Program. [1] The purpose of the program is to help instructors develop classroom research skills and engage in scholarly inquiry of teaching and learning. Those selected to participate will take part in a classroom research seminar and undertake a project to investigate student learning in their own classes.

Classroom Research Seminar. We define classroom research broadly as systematic, disciplined inquiry that focuses on understanding student learning in one’s own classes. In classroom research, instructors investigate specific questions about how and why students learn or do not learn what they are taught. This form of inquiry can lead to significant improvement in one’s own teaching and to knowledge that can improve the practice of teaching in one’s field.

The Classroom Research Seminar is intended to help instructors develop classroom skills regardless of their prior level of experience. Participants will meet once or twice each month to examine ways to investigate student learning in their own classrooms. The seminar will also be a forum in which participants develop and revise their individual classroom inquiry projects. Several UW-L instructors will serve as peer consultants to seminar participants throughout the year.

Classroom Inquiry Project. Each participant will do a project to investigate how and why students learn or do not learn what they are taught, and then develop a strategy to improve student learning. Instructors will:

  • identify a specific student learning problem (e.g., Why do so many students fail to understand “X” in my class?) or learning goal (e.g., to develop students’ ability to integrate information from multiple sources)
  • gather evidence from the classroom to document the problem
  • consult relevant literature on the topic
  • design or revise a lesson, exercise, assignment, or activity to address the problem or goal
  • field test the new classroom practice
  • analyze student performance
  • revise the practice.

The project culminates in a campus presentation, and eventually in work that can be submitted for publication in a scholarly periodical.

The seminar will begin in February, 2004, and participants will be expected to start their projects during spring semester (e.g., develop their research focus, collect initial evidence of student learning, develop or redesign a class assignment, etc.).

How to apply. The SoTL Work Group will select 5-6 instructors to participate as Classroom Researchers during 2004-2005. Those selected will receive a $750 grant to support their activities. Applicants must be fulltime faculty or instructional academic staff members and agree to participate in the project for the entire year. We are particularly interested in applicants with little or no previous classroom inquiry experience, but anyone is welcome to apply.

Application deadline. The deadline for applications is Monday, February 9, 2004. Send one copy of the application via email to Bill Cerbin,

[1] The Classroom Research Program is supported by a UW System Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant awarded to the SoTL Work Group and the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor.

2004-2005 Classroom Research Application

Deadline February 9, 2004

Email one copy of the application to Bill Cerbin,




  1. What student learning problem(s) or learning goal(s) are you most interested in investigating?
  2. Based on one of the learning problems or goal you identified in question 1, describe a classroom research project you might do in one of your classes. What types of evidence of student learning would you collect? Explain relevant features of the investigation (e.g., the specific class, what teaching practices, assignment or activity you might design or redesign, etc).
  3. Prior classroom research experience is not a prerequisite for participation in the program. However, please describe any previous classroom research experience, including any formal or informal classroom research activities or projects, and classroom research presentations or publications. 
  4. What would you like to learn that would help you improve as a classroom researcher?
  5. Why do you want to participate in this program?








University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
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La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601