Please note: The following information will be communicated verbally in class during the week of February 13-17. The contents here are identical to the dialogue that will be presented in class.
Slides used to present the content in class can be viewed here: bit.ly/researchconsent
- Who is eligible to participate?
- Do I need to participate to do well in this class?
- How will participating or not participating impact my grade?
- What will I do if I agree to participate in this study?
- MUST READ: Public and private digital materials in this study
- Actions to take for participants
As I mentioned during the first class this semester, I am a graduate student as well as an instructor with the UB-SIM program. This semester, I am conducting my dissertation research – and I would like to invite you, dear students, to be a part of it.
On this page, I’ll provide an overview of the content and purpose of my research. Then, I’ll outline what you role would be in the research should you choose to participate.
Content and Purpose of the Study
This study focuses on how students learn history in a course (this course) that uses digital tools. I’m interested in what people, events, and ideas students think are important to history and I want to see how that is expressed through the use of Twitter and the blogging project in this course. I’ll also be looking for evidence of what students think is important to history in the discussion reflections.
The purpose of this research is to add to a body of scholarship that studies how history is understood in the digital age. I’ve chosen to conduct my research here in Singapore because there’s been very little research into how students from Asian countries think about history. My hope is to add diversity of understanding to current studies of historical understanding in the digital age.
Participating in the Study
Who is eligible to participate?
Any student over the age of 18 and enrolled in a UGC 111 course taught by me (Heather Bennett) during the Spring 2017 semester is eligible to participate in the study. Students under the age of 18 or not enrolled in UGC 111 for the Spring 2017 semester are not eligible to participate.
Do I need to participate to do well in the class?
PARTICIPATION IS ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY. Your participation in the study is welcome, but not required.
How will participating or not participating impact my grade?
Your grade will not be impacted in any way by your choice to participate or not participate in this study. There is no risk or benefit to your grade associated with participating or not participating in this study.
To ensure there is no impact on your grade, I will not know who is participating until after grades are submitted at the end of the semester. Dr. Kate Ott, a faculty member at my graduate institution, Drew University, will be collecting the consent forms (which I’ll talk more about in a moment). I will not have access to those forms until my grades are submitted at the end of the semester.
What will I do if I agree to take part in the study?
Whether you choose to participate or not, you will complete the activities listed in the syllabus for this course – attendance and participation, Twitter questions/comments about the primary sources (as you did for Gilgamesh), entry and exit tweets, the blogging project, and the discussion reflections.
Public vs. Private digital material in this study
It should be noted that any material produced for this class that is public can be included in not only my research, but also the research of anyone who seeks out your material. This is the nature of public digital work – anything on the web is fair game for researchers. This is a big part of why we talked about using pseudonyms during the first couple of classes.
In this course, public material will include blog posts and comments because that project is intentionally about writing for a public audience. That was true for this project last semester as well. If you are concerned about your writing being made public and/or included in research without your explicit consent, please come chat with me. We can work out an alternative method for you to submit blog posts and comments.
Public material may also include tweets if you choose to have a public account. If you would prefer your tweets were not included in the dataset, I recommend changing the settings so your Twitter account is protected. [Add link to how to protect Twitter accounts]
Other material produced for this course is private. Your discussion reflections are submitted privately and if you choose to protect your Twitter account, your tweets are also considered private.
The difference between participating in the study vs. completing the course as usual lies in what happens to your private and password-protected writing after the course has ended. If you agree to participate in this study, your private material will be included in the data set. This includes all blog posts, comments, discussion reflections, and tweets produced for the course. If you do not agree to participate, only your public material can be included in the data set.
Additional Actions for Participants
Again, all activities for the course and the study are the same and will be completed by all students. Should you agree to participate in the study, two additional actions will be asked of you:
1.) Fill out the consent form before the end of the semester. This form is linked at the top of the page.
2.) Share your Twitter archive at the end of the semester. After grades are submitted and I have received the consent forms, I will ask each participant to send me a copy of their Twitter archive. A Twitter archive is a permanent record of your tweets and will allow me to access your tweets even if you delete your account. I will provide instructions on how to share your Twitter archive via email after I have received the consent forms.
When is the study over?
The study should end by May 15, 2017. I expect to have grades submitted, consent forms in hand, and requests for Twitter archives emailed by this date.
Can I leave the study before it ends?
Absolutely. If you would like to leave the study, please fill out the Withdraw Consent Form at any time. Again, there will not be any penalty to your grade should you choose to withdraw from the study.
How will my confidentiality be protected?
While the study/class are in progress, student usernames and passwords on the class website and Twitter will remain confidential due to the SSL encryption on Squarespace, the platform used for the class website.
After the completion of the study, data will remain confidential through storage of data in an SSL and password-protected online database (Google Drive) owned and viewed only by me. Students names or personal information will not be shared in publications. Pseudonyms will be used in place of student names.
Who can I contact with questions or concerns about this study?
I (Heather Bennett) am happy to answer any additional questions you have about the study. You can speak with me in person, send an email, or DM me on Twitter at any time.
If you have concerns about the treatment of participants in this study, please contact Kevin McKelvey (the director of the UB-SIM program). His email is kevinmckelvey AT sim.edu.sg. You can also reach out to Bill Rogers, the chair of the Institutional Review Board at Drew University. His email is wrogers AT drew.edu.