Working groups bring together researchers interested in initiating a collaborative research project at the MRC that begins at the conference and continues afterwards.
What is a working group?
A working group provides an opportunity to bring together experts and practitioners across institutions to pursue a well-defined set of research questions. The aim of such working groups is to further our understanding of the relationship of Moodle to learning and teaching goals. They are a great opportunity for experienced researchers to direct research and also for new researchers to become more active in the research community.
Working groups also have a tangible outcome. In most cases this is the publication of a research paper, although it may lead to other things such as improvements in Moodle or new add-ons. The potential to bring together researchers from multiple institutions creates the opportunity for findings that can be generalised to a larger set of students and to make broader claims about educational processes and learning. From a methodological perspective, multi-institutional projects strengthen the validity of results and increase the chances of publication or Moodle development activities.
Although working groups will run autonomously, they will have the opportunity to interact with Moodle HQ to answer questions and identify potential applications of findings. This relationship makes the working groups an ideal opportunity for researchers to bring their findings to practice in the open source community supported by Moodle.
Working groups have the following characteristics.
- Generally there is a leader (or leaders) who establishes the working group; the leaders may maintain some leadership during the project, possibly becoming first-author on published papers, but work is done by all participants.
- Participants may be asked to be involved in preparation prior to the working group, in some activity such as reading prescribed research papers or gathering data.
- The initial working group meeting at the MRC is an opportunity to plan/pilot/refine an "experimental kit" or project plan that would be taken away by participants and applied in the period following the MRC. It may also involve the design of a Moodle plugin that is used to gather data.
- After the MRC, results are gathered, collated and analysed, possibly at a subsequent working group meeting, which leads to paper writing or other activities.
- Working groups are generally run at low cost to participants. There may be costs to cover the catering of food. Participants will also need to attend an extra day meaning they will have to cover additional accommodation expenses.
- Working groups should generally have no more than 10 participants to allow each member to contribute.
Proposing a working group
Potential leaders are invited to propose a working group using the Working Group Proposals database activity. Consider research or development projects that could be completed collaboratively, potentially across multiple institutions or Moodle sites and potentially with the aid of an add-on to Moodle.
A few examples of potential working group topics are: early warning notifications, student retention, analytics to evaluate course design, student feedback and metacognition, effective student assessments, student progress indicators, measures of relative success, opportunities to interact, teacher involvement and success, or anything else related to how Moodle can be used for improving learning and teaching.
If you have any questions about working groups, such as the suitability of a proposal, please contact the chairs using the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
Proposals should be submitted before 28 Feb, 2014. This will allow the working groups to be promoted to potential participants before the MRC Early-bird registration deadline. Depending on the number of working groups proposed, the number of working groups may need to be limited. MRC co-chairs will identify proposals with the greatest perceived impact.
In 2014, working groups will be held on the day prior to the conference proper.