June 16, 2017

Two of us alternate teaching the same course. I think that my section is an RS course, but hers probably isn’t. Can I get my section RS designated?

Unfortunately, no.  The RS designation is attached to the course number, not individual sections.  All sections need to be taught as RS if it is designated. In this case, you can either have the department agree that whoever teaches the course will include authentic scholarly work, or you can go through your department and college process to establish a new RS course.  You can simultaneous apply for RS designation while your course proposal is working its way through curriculum committees.   I include research or creative work in my class, but it doesn’t meet the level expected for RS designation. Are there other levels? Yes! Courses can also be identified at the Discovery and Inquiry levels, as seen in our course diagram.

In Discovery-level courses, students are introduced to scholarship, both as a general concept, and as done at Mason by students and faculty. They also learn about OSCAR and opportunities for undergraduates to participate (we have videos and presentations you can use in your class). The Discovery-level material will be covered in introductory courses in a major or general education courses. These courses should include some active or inquiry-based learning techniques.

In Scholarly Inquiry courses, students learn content and skills that make them capable of evaluating scholarly work and may prepare them to conduct their own scholarly project. A scholarly inquiry class may be a research methods course in a discipline or a course that uses inquiry-guided learning to explore a topic.

At this time, we offer guidelines for courses at the Discovery and Inquiry levels, but are not formally designating these courses. Faculty are encouraged to use our guidelines to help shape their courses and curricula to incorporate these student learning outcomes. To be included on our list of potential Discovery- or Inquiry-level courses, you may either apply for a Curriculum Scholarship Development Grant that includes courses at these levels, or contact OSCAR to submit a syllabus and a curriculum map indicating that the course includes the required student learning outcomes. In the future, OSCAR may develop a formal path for these classes, also.

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