Feb. 13, 2020
Planning a SoTL lesson study: Step 3 - Sharing and Disseminating Your Work
There are many effective and rewarding ways to share what you learn from your lesson study. You can disseminate your new-found knowledge through presenting your work in an on-campus presentation or workshop, at a conference through a poster or oral talk, through a blog or posting online resources, or once your study has been completed, you can generate a journal manuscript.
The timelines provided are based on my experience working on my undergraduate honors thesis, and they may vary depending on previous experience and weekly hour commitments.
3.1 Poster or oral presentation at a conference (~1 month)
For my project I created two poster presentations. Whether you present your work using a poster or a talk, it’s a great way to tell a story with the data you have collected. There are many opportunities to present on campus, and you can also submit an abstract to present your work at a conference or symposium. Presenting a poster or talk can allow you to gather feedback on the content and narrative of your work and is a good first step before preparing a written report or manuscript.
During my honors thesis, I submitted abstracts and presented posters at two conferences. To present in a conference, you will want to read the conference website, identify submission deadlines, and follow the guidelines for preparing an abstract.
Once my poster was accepted I found the following considerations useful for creating my poster:
- Identify the type of poster (e.g., physical, digital, interactive)
- Follow the size and style regulations set by the conference
- Emphasize main ideas and interesting findings from your lesson study
- Organize the poster so it is easy to follow and read by using left alignment of text and using boxes, spaces, or colors to separate your ideas into themes
- Use visuals and images to help make the poster visually appealing and generate interest
- Consider the type of color schemes so the poster is easy to read
- Have others review your poster for clarity, flow and overall aesthetics
As I prepared my poster, I also practiced what to say. I developed a one minute “elevator speech” for when people first come up to look at the poster and ask generally what my study was about. I also practiced elaborating on each section and the project overall for people who express interest in learning more. Practicing helped increase my confidence and allowed me to respond to questions from interested audience members.
3.2 Blog, video, or posting resources online (1-3 months)
You can distribute your findings online in a variety of ways, for example by creating:
- a blog (or multiple blogs) explaining the process, reflecting on your experience, or describing what you learned in the literature or through your lesson study (i.e., what I am doing here in this blog)
- submitting materials as open educational resources or under creative-commons licenses
- creating a video or podcast
3.3 Manuscript for an academic journal (2-4 months)
After completion of my lesson study, I wrote my honours thesis and described my lesson study in the form of a journal article for CourseSource. I recommend starting this process by writing a very detailed, point-by-point outline.
To construct a manuscript outline you will:
- Outline the manuscript sections and all information that you will include in each section;
- Review and ensure that all content meets the requirements stated in the journal guidelines
An outline allows you to check for content without worrying about the writing itself. A general outline of the parts of the manuscript I wrote, with components, timeline, and reminders are summarized in Table 1.
Recommendations for manuscript outline methodology
- Review journal requirements. If possible, download and follow the lesson plan template provided by the journal. If a template is not provided, start by creating a template.
- Fill in the template by including as many details as possible in your outline.
- Continue to review the literature to find, better understand and present the context for your findings.
- Remember to reference and check all citations carefully throughout the process.
Once I completed my outline, I moved on to writing the manuscript. Scientific writing is a process of revising and editing your work to create an accurate and concise document. For a first-time writer, drafting a manuscript can at times be a frustrating process, but remember that writing is a process and skill that can be developed. Resources such as writing support and tips will help you to get started.
Recommendations for writing a manuscript
- If the journal format uses numbers for their intext citations, use a reference manager like Mendeley. If not then, enter all references manually with the authors last name(s) and date to avoid mixing them up, then change before submission.
- Revise and edit iteratively between the authors, and then send manuscript to others to review.
- Request for others to review your work for content first, then narrative and writing style.
- Check the accuracy of all the findings and references after each round of feedback you receive.
- Save copies of all revisions and tracked changes to avoid losing any important information during the editing process.
- Seek out advice from writing centers to further revise the writing.
- Check that you are following all style and formatting guidelines of the journal prior to submission.
- Expect to have many revisions and edits!
- Fill in the introduction, methods, and results sections first because they consist of information you already have.
- Write the discussion and abstract last.
- Plan approximately 4-8 hours to submit the final draft of your manuscript to the journal.
In this blog I have written a description of the “Sharing and Disseminating Work” stage of Three Steps to Planning a SoTL Lesson Study.
In the sections included in this blog you can find information about:
- Presenting your work orally through a poster or talk
- Sharing your work online
- Preparing a lesson study manuscript
This post includes the approximate timing for each deliverable and my personal recommendations to help save you time and effort as you are preparing to share your work.