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ASTL 5709/6709/7709 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

ASTL 5709/6709/7709 - Action Research

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

The purpose of this course is to empower classroom teachers to construct their own knowledge and make it available to others for the benefit of all learners. This will help educators and other professionals understand the relationship between their own professional development and the process of improving the quality of pupils' and/or colleagues' learning.

Course Outcomes:

This course is based on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) 14 and 15 as well as state Special Licensure Standards 11.

At the completion of this course, the successful student will be able to do the following:

  1. Define action research.
  2. Determine a research topic related to PreK-8 literacy and develop research questions that need to be addressed.
  3. Review literature related to specific research questions.
  4. Design, plan, and implement an action research study.
  5. Evaluate and interpret the results of the research study.
  6. Develop a research paper based on the action research project.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Teacher certification and admission into the TN eCampus M.Ed. program.  All other ASTL courses must be successfully completed prior to enrollment. Course may be taken in conjunction with ASTL 5729/6729/7729.

Course Topics:
  1. The Purposes of Action Research
  2. Understanding Action Research: Exploring Issues of Paradigm and Method
  3. Developing a Research Proposal
  4. Ethical, Legal, and Human Relations Issues
  5. Research Questions, Samples and Settings
  6. Reviewing the Literature
  7. Developing an Action Plan 
  8. Data Collection Techniques
  9. Data Collection Considerations: Validity, Reliability, Generalizability, and Ethics
  10. Data Analysis and Interpretation
  11. Case Studies: Action Research Reports, Presentations, and Performances.
  12. Online References 
Specific Course Requirements:

This course will be completed online, therefore, it is necessary that the student have access to the internet frequently for extended periods of time. In addition, the student needs to have basic computer skills including the ability to browse internet sites, create documents in a word processing program, and upload and download files. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

A list of Online Resources will be provided on Action Research and Writing. There will also be some supplementary online readings. The APA manual, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed., 2001), is not required but is extremely helpful in the formatting of the action research paper. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

There will be no examinations in this course. 

Grading Procedures:

Evaluation will be based on student performance and active participation. There will be several assignments that students must submit as they are in the process of completing their action research project. These assignments need to be submitted within the designated time frame. In addition, students will need to respond to discussion questions on a weekly basis.


Class Discussions 200 points (10 @ 20 pts. each)
Initial Proposal 20 points
Permission Forms 20 points
Final Proposal 20 points
Research Journals 20 points (5 @ 4 pts. each)
Introduction to Research 40 points
Literature Review 100 points
Methods 100 points
Results of Research 100 points
Discussion of Research 100 points
Power Point Presentation 100 points
Abstract 50 points
First Copy of Paper 30 points
Final Copy of Paper 100 points
Total: 1000 points

Grading Scale:

600-690---D (not available at some universities)

Assignments and Projects:

Students will design and implement an action research project and write a research paper based on the project.

Additional directions on assignments will be given under Assignments and in the Modules. Under Assignments is where you will find the detailed course outline. 

1) Participation:
Class interactions are critical to professional growth and development. Evaluation will be based on your professional collegiality and if readings are completed and assignments are turned in on time. Failure to adhere to the above could result in failure to complete the class. 

2) Research journal:
The purpose of this journal is to record your experiences, thinking, progress as you work through your master's project. Your journal should also have evidence to support any claims you make in your final report. For an online class you need to write a minimum of one entry a week for 5 weeks that is significant and thoughtful. These will be evaluated on reflective inquiry qualities. These are how you gain participation points. Points: 4 points for a quality entry, 2 point for an incomplete entry, 0 points for no entry. Points: 20 points. 

3) Professionalism:
The Tennessee Framework for Evaluation and Professional Growth states that professionalism takes such forms as: the ability to collaborate with colleagues and appropriate others, demonstration of productive leadership or team membership skills that facilitate the development of mutually beneficial goals, maintains accurate and up-to-date records, completes assigned tasks on schedule, maintains punctuality and attendance, follows applicable policies and procedures, maintains confidentiality and fulfills responsibilities, provides evidence of performance levels, and articulates strengths and priorities for growth.

4) Action Research Written Report:
Spend a minimum of 6 weeks of action research in a classroom/work setting. Since the ability to engage in critical reflection and self-study for professional development must be demonstrated in classroom/ work settings, Action Research requires access to field settings, which are typically classrooms. You must have evidence that documents your 6 weeks of research. Failure to collect data for 6 weeks could result in failing this class. Points: 80% of grade. NOTE: You must pass the paper in order to pass the class. A rubric will be provided on how the project will be graded. 

Class Participation:

Students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course. Students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource. In addition, students must check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements, and students must actively participate in threaded discussion events. 

Late Policy:

Students are expected to log in a minimum of four to five times per week. All course assignments, discussions, and examinations must be completed by the due date. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017