"I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait til the first dawning opens gradually, little by little, into a full and clear light." Isaac Newton

NLGL Student Creative Synthesis


You will use this space to develop your Creative Synthesis project that will be featured at the Design Studio Showcase during your last semester in the NLGL program. During your first semester, you will decide on a compelling question that you would like to explore as a focus of your academic work during graduate school. You will use your coursework to help you explore different aspects of your question. You will use the PBI process in the diagram below to support your intellectual inquiry and your final creative synthesis product. Note that the process is the same one that you used (or are using) in ECI 546, New Literacies & Media to develop your PBI, so it should be familiar to you. Use the template below to help plan out your design process. NLGL faculty periodically will ask you about your process during the course of your program so be prepared to share your ideas.

The aim of the project-based inquiry approach is to provide the opportunity for you to engage in what Newman, Bryck, and Nagaoka (2001) describe as authentic intellectual work. They describe the distinctive characteristics of authentic intellectual work as “construction of knowledge through disciplined inquiry in order to produce products that have value beyond school” (p. 14). Likewise, elements of project-based inquiry possess what John Dewey referred to as productive inquiry, which is "that aspect of any activity where we are deliberately (although not always consciously) seeking what we need in order to do what we want to do” (Cook and Brown, 2005, p. 62). Our aims are to engage you in intellectual work that has depth, duration, and complexity, and to challenge and motivate you toward knowledge creation that relates to the teaching profession. By the end of your program, our hope is that you will have had a rich intellectual and social experience in which your inquiry project has progressed from "the first dawning . . . into a full and clear light."


NLGL Creative Synthesis Process 1.JPG


One Example of a Compelling Question and How You Might Address it in the 4 Core Courses


Let's say you decided on the following compelling question: How do I creatively and effectively engage diverse learners in my middle grades classroom? You would then explore topics related to this question in some of your graduate courses. Following is an example of how this question might be addressed in the 4 core courses. You will also address the question in selected content area courses (i.e., English Education, Social Studies, Reading, etc.)

ECI 546: New Literacies & Media. (To be taken in the student’s initial Fall semester, online). Students will begin the inquiry process, including further development of their compelling question for the NLGL program and creating an individual wiki. They will pose a question that relates to new literacies & media and addresses some aspect of their compelling question for the NLGL program. Students will experiment with media tools that can be integrated into the content area classroom. They will apply these tools in their classroom environments and assess effects on student learning. Finally, they will create a 5-minute video that documents their inquiry process, including their lesson and student learning outcomes.
  • Sample Question: What are the effects on learning of using VoiceThread to address reading fluency with ELL students?
  • Products of Learning: Video documentary of inquiry project process & results; short research paper

ECI 524: Theory & Research in Global Learning. (Spring or Summer semester, online).Students will compare educational experiences; create an international connection/component and a link with a global or study abroad experience of some kind; deepen the inquiry process and consider global context.
  • Sample Question: What can we learn about addressing diverse student populations from teachers in other global contexts (e.g., substitute specific countries or contexts here)?
  • Products of Learning: Comparative study research paper; web-based presentation of global instruction materials

ECI 523: Teacher as Researcher. (Fall semester, online). Students will conduct an action research study (e.g., classroom-based, professional development-focused, professional organization connections, etc.).
  • Sample Question: How does pairing English language learners and native speakers affect online reading comprehension?
  • Products of Learning: Research paper and multimedia poster presentation of course research project.

ECI 508: Teachers as Leaders. (To be taken in the student’s final Spring semester). Students will elaborate the inquiry process in the context of teacher leadership and innovation models.
  • Sample Question: How can I provide leadership around diverse student populations (e.g., classrooms, schools, community, district, national, international venues)?
  • Products of Learning: Individual leadership project and paper; teachers as leaders video review

NLGL Individual Student Design Space

Click on your name and go to your individual design space for your Creative Synthesis project. Use this space as you go through the inquiry process to answer your compelling question.


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