Syllabus for EDL-510



The Inquiry Process—a Framework introduces students to action research. Future educational leaders will study an intervention chosen specifically to respond to a research problem identified through reflection. The goal of the course and of action research is for students to gain better knowledge of their practice while improving the situation in which the practice is conducted. Students will develop competencies as an educational leader as outlined in the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC 1, 2, 3, 4) and New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE 1, 2, 3, 4) standards.


The key issues and essential questions in this course focus on developing as a reflective practitioner as well as on how to design and implement an effective inquiry-based learning project that will inform and improve practice.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify, define, and clarify a problem of educational leadership practice.
  2. Select or design preliminary data.
  3. Design data collection instruments, as appropriate.
  4. Research and investigate underlying causes of the identified problem.
  5. Complete a review of related professional literature.
  6. Compare and contrast possible interventions suggested in the related literature.
  7. Select an intervention to implement and develop a timeline for implementation.
  8. Decide types of data to collect during the intervention in order to triangulate results.
  9. Analyze and evaluate intervention data using triangulation procedures.
  10. Reflect on and report the intervention data.
  11. Draw conclusions and make suggestions for future practice.
  12. Serve as a critical colleague.
  13. Prepare a written document in APA (current edition) format.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  • Hendricks, C. (2013). Improving schools through action research: A reflective practice approach (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

    ISBN-13: 978-0205578467

  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

ISBN-13: 978-1433805615

Electronic Portfolio Registration

As a capstone experience in the Educational Leadership program, you will prepare an electronic portfolio that demonstrates your incremental achievement of the program standards. Each course in the program helps you to identify artifacts to place in your portfolio on completion of the course. To this end, you are required to purchase an electronic portfolio registration code upon your entry into the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. Basic directions for purchasing access to and using your electronic portfolio are posted within the Educational Leadership Students Organization (online community).

Journal Articles


The Inquiry Process—a Framework is a three-credit, online graduate course, consisting of eight modules. Modules include an overview, key issues and essential questions, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


The primary goal of this course is to help you develop and implement an action research project. All activities, readings, postings, and reflections are designed to prepare you for this project. For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, post reflections to your My Journal space, and complete various action research activities culminating in a final action research project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Each module in the course has two online discussion activities: an initial forum titled Getting Started and a subsequent Discussion Forum.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Forum interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning. Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions and be professional and courteous.

Evaluation Rubric for Discussion Forums

Reflection Activities

Reflection activities give you an opportunity to think about a particular concept in terms of your action research process, your attitudes, and your perceptions of your experience. Your reflections on your progress through your action research project also assist you in writing your portfolio artifact reflection.

At the end of the course, you will refer back to your reflections as you develop your portfolio narrative for your electronic portfolio. Your portfolio narrative will chronicle your journey through part of or through the entire action research project and will provide documentation and support for your artifact.

Evaluation Rubric for Reflections

Action Research Project

As stated earlier, the primary goal of the course is to help you develop and implement an action research project. As you progress through the course, you complete components of your project and submit them to the mentor for comments and feedback. For the final module, you synthesize the elements to produce the final project.

Evaluation Rubric for Action Research Project

Portfolio Artifact and Reflective Narrative

The artifact for this course is your action research project or a part of it that you select to place in your electronic portfolio. Preface this artifact with a brief Reflection that describes the process of the activity, the ISLLC standards it addresses, and how this prepares you for school leadership. As you develop your narrative to accompany your artifact, refer back to the reflections you wrote for your learning journal.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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