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Center for Faculty Excellence : MTP_Proj_Guidelines

Center for Faculty Excellence


Master Teacher Program (MTP)
MTP Project Guidelines

The two styles of MTP paper the participants may complete are: A Classroom Research paper or a Literature Review paper. MTP papers should be generated SPECIFICALLY for the MTP – if you use the information to write another, similar paper for another publication or conference – Great! But, please do not turn in a conference paper as your MTP paper until you customize it to reflect the unique requirements of the MTP. Both types of papers are described in more detail below.

Classroom Research Project

The capstone experience of the USMA Master Teacher Program is a Classroom Research Project and paper. According to Pat Cross, Classroom Research is "the careful, systematic, and patient study of students in the process of learning, and more specifically of how students are responding to our efforts to teach them. The task for Classroom Research is not so much to study learning in general, as to study learning in particular as it takes place -- or fails to -- for your students, in your classroom, and in your subject matter, with your particular teaching skills and preferences."

The characteristics of Classroom Research define it – at its core, it is learner-centered, teacher-directed, and context-specific. You’re going to assess an issue that matters to the learning of your students, based on what you see in your classroom and your course.

Classroom Research papers should focus on some aspect of your teaching or some aspect of your interaction with cadets that you think will increase learning or motivation in your class. The focus of this paper should be on your activities as a TEACHER – since this is the master Teacher Program. The focus should not be on how your course fits into your program, for example, nor on ABET evaluation of your course or program, nor on how your course is good for cadet development, etc. Good topics all, but here the focus should be on your Teaching and their Learning or Motivation to Learn as influenced by your interaction (as a teacher) with them. I know I’m repeating myself – but I continue to get course-level or program‐level reviews as MTP papers. When I run a Master Course Director Program or Master Program Director Program – those paper topics will be acceptable. However, in the Master Teacher Program, some aspect of your Teaching – something that you as an individual influence in the classroom – must be the focus of your research. Classroom Research paper topics completed in May 2009 are listed below to provide some examples of what others have investigated (these papers are available on the CFE web).

  • Technology Infusion for Undergraduate Education
  • Using Portfolios In The Mathematics Classroom
  • Applying Physics to an Undergraduate UAS Design
  • Utilizing the Decision Matrix to Introduce the Engineering Design Process
  • The Use of Clicker Technology to Evaluate Short- and Long-Term Concept Retention
  • Application of Student Generated Test Questions to Stimulate Deeper Learning
  • Interactive Lecture Demonstrations
  • Teaching Methods to Encourage Independent Learning and Thinking
  • Discussion-based Teaching Methods in English Literature Courses
  • Popular Culture: A Teaching Medium For Philosophy Or Into The IPOD With Neo
  • Blogging in the Classroom: The State of the Field
  • Intellectual Development Models for Undergraduate Education
  • Developing Critical Thinking
  • They That Sow “Ha-Ha” Shall Reap “Aha”
  • Integrating Facebook Into The Classroom
  • Student Motivation
  • Student Feedback: Improving the Quality through Timing, Frequency, and Format
  • A Look at Student Led Teaching
  • Note Launchers: Promoting Active And Critical Reading Of Mathematics Textbooks
  • To Introduce or to Reinforce?: The Role of Assigned Readings
  • Quantitative Analysis of Video-Based Instruction to Enhance Understanding in General Chemistry
  • The Newest Communication Research on Classroom Motivation
  • Application of Student Generated Test Questions to Stimulate Deeper Learning
  • Teaching Languages at West Point - Balance between Literature & Everyday Skills
  • First Class Meeting
  • Correlating Teaching Methodology and Learning Style - Not A Bridge Too Far
  • Use of an Audience Response System to Evaluate and Streamline a General Chemistry Class
  • Virtual Learning And The Tech Generation Debate
  • Veteran Students In College Classrooms & The G.I. Bills
  • The Use of Classroom Handouts
  • Improving Homework Effort in Engineering Education
  • Getting the Wax Out: Audio Feedback in the Composition Classroom
  • Team Teaching
  • Enhancing the Performance of Students in a Time-Intensive Subject within a Time-Limiting Environment
  • The Use of Videotape Feedback in Physical Education
  • Evaluating Student Participation
  • No Numbers -- Concepts Based Instruction and Testing in Engineering
  • The Benefits of Active Learning through Discussion in an Advanced Classroom
  • Increasing Motivation and Awareness of Science in Our Everyday Lives
  • Multicultural Education
  • Classroom Assessment: The Confusion of Many Voices
  • Self-Correcting Exams: Making the Summative Formative
  • Multi-genre Writing: A Tool to Improve Critical Thinking.
  • Using Online Homework in Physical Chemistry Courses

The Process

  1. Pick a focus. Think about your classroom – how do you interact with cadets, what classroom activities predominate, why did you choose them, through what activities does learning occur, and where could you use a little improvement? Brainstorm the issues that you tend to think about. What activity(s) would you like to focus on for classroom research?
  2. Survey the literature to see what other teachers have done with that topic. What strategies have they used; what conclusions have they drawn? You will better formulate your own plan, and possibly branch into a new area you’ve just discovered as a result of your literature search.
  3. Develop a plan. How can you look at the issue? Can you try a new strategy with each new unit, and then compare at the end of the semester? Maybe develop five or six small group activities, conduct one per lesson, and then assess them at the end of two weeks? How will you assess the outcomes? There are obvious indicators – grades on projects, homework, and exams. You can look at student participation and interaction, tracking how often and how well your students speak up. You can ask your department peers to observe a few classes and provide feedback about how they think your new technique worked. You can – and should – also ask your students, using surveys or minute papers. After you’ve tried something new, ask them to assess what they liked and didn’t like about it.
  4. Data collection should be broad and deep. Approximately 10-12 sources of data should be collected. Your data collection might focus both on content (are they learning better?) as well as on motivation and enthusiasm for your classroom or teaching activity. Sources/activities that you might consider are:
    • Muddiest points papers several times a semester
    • Minute papers several times a semester
    • Quizzes to evaluate content
    • Surveys to evaluate motivation and interest
    • Wpr, Tee and project grades
    • End of course feedback
    • Time surveys
    • Counts of number of hits or participation on blogs or wiki’s
    • Instructor collected daily observations (participation, interest, homework completed, etc)
    • Instructor journals
    • Cadet journals
    • Outside observers in class
    • Interview small groups of cadets
    Angello and Cross, in their book: Classroom Assessment Techniques (1993), provide many, many additional means for gathering classroom assessment data.
  5. Analyze your information. You’ve gathered grades, surveyed your students, and made notes after every class. What does all of the information add up to? You might use statistical techniques, but you might also look at the information in a holistic and qualitative manner – what patterns do you see?
  6. Report the information. Write it up for your MTP project, and potentially to submit it to a journal or academic conference.
Literature Review Project

Participants also have the option of conducting and writing a literature review addressing a teaching and learning topic, in lieu of the research project. Literature reviews should focus on a specific topic area within teaching and learning, and may potentially be submitted for inclusion in the POD/NTLF TEACHING & LEARNING ONLINE RESOURCE CENTER. To that extent, literature reviews should follow a specific format, and topics should be approved by Dr. Evans.

The POD/NTLF Format

  • Topic, Author Information
  • Topic Overview -- 500-1,500 words short essay describing key issues, history of practice, practice variations, beneficial attributes, controversial aspects
  • An annotated bibliography of the most influential, current, and useful resources, 50-150 words per resource (no more than 10-12 items)
  • Additional Resources --- Citations of additional print, web, or video resources, without annotation.

Guidelines are listed on the CTE web and the Dr Michael Theall paper is the model for a literature review. Complete guidelines may be found on the CTE website or on the blackboard site under Program Components and POD/ NTLF Literature Review Papers. Sample literature reviews, a writing template, and a list of suggested topics, are also available.

Useful texts

  • Angelo, T.A., & Cross, P.K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Cross, K.P & Steadman, M.H. (1996). Classroom research: Implementing the scholarship of teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Useful websites

Keyword List – use to stimulate ideas on what you might investigate for your classroom research.

Active Learning Classroom Participation Cooperative Learning Case Studies
Discovery Learning Experiential Learning Problem-Based Learning Questioning Techniques
Student Presentations Advising Assessment of Learning Methods
Cheating Grading Testing Formats Assessment of Teaching
Classroom Observations Lesson Planning Teaching Portfolios Course Development
Course Goals and Objectives Student Course Evaluations Distance Education Critical Thinking
Cognitive Mapping Intellectual Development Problem Solving Skills Ethics in Teaching
Evaluation of Teaching Student Evaluations Peer Reviews Teaching Portfolios
Humor in Teaching Interdisciplinary Teaching Team Teaching Instructional Technology
First Class Meeting Electronic Media Films and Videotapes Laboratory Instruction
Mentoring Junior Faculty Members Writing Across the Curriculum Psychological Foundations of Teaching and Learning Student Motivation
Learning Styles Teaching Styles Student Epistemology Teacher Epistemology
Teaching Strategies Lecturing Debates Demonstrations
Discussions Games and Role Playing Independent Study Seminars
Simulations Student Projects Study Groups Studio Instruction
Tutoring Written Assignments Philosophies of Teaching Texts and Readings
Course Packs Handouts Individual Consultations Group Consultations
Evaluation of Teaching Student Evaluations Peer Reviews Teaching Portfolios
Classroom Observations Learning Styles Podcasting Blogs
  Computer Assisted Instruction