May 26, 2008

Promoting Knowledge Transfer by Publicizing Performa’s Pedagogical Research

Isabelle Laplante, professional librarian for the CDC (Centre de documentation collégiale) is thanked by the author for her contribution to the writing of this article.

Isabelle Laplante

In 2006, PERFORMA of Université de Sherbrooke revised its program and since then has offered a Master’s degree in college teaching. The last fifteen credits of this program are devoted to the production of a Master’s research project which can be one of three types: action research, innovation or critical analysis, all related to the professional practice of college instruction.

In the English sector, the Master Teacher Program is beginning to offer services on-line. Denise Bourgeois wrote about this in her column in Profweb this autumn. In PERFORMA’s francophone sector, courses are now exclusively online although classroom settings could be arranged where demand warranted.

Denise Bourgeois

Notwithstanding how courses are offered, the geographical reality of Quebec makes the distribution of information about specialized research difficult. PERFORMA Master’s research projects and the knowledge that is contained within them have proved particularly difficult to access for most teachers within the system.

What can be done to remedy this situation? This year PERFORMA, with the cooperation of the AQPC (Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale), has organized an event called the Rendez-vous des maîtres de PERFORMA as part the AQPC annual symposium to allow recent graduates of the Master’s program to present their research results.

This ephemeral event, however, is not adequate to provide long term reference access to such a body of knowledge. This is where the CDC (Centre de documentation collégiale) has a role to play. A partnership between it and PERFORMA’s graduate program allows this work to be put online.

As most of these documents are prepared using word processing software, they can be easily transformed into tamperproof .pdf files without manual scanning which would be required for hardcopy. Although PERFORMA had a secure intranet site, posting there would have limited access only to participants with accounts and prevent access to those teachers who might benefit from the information most.

Because the CDC promotes putting documents like research projects online and has the behind-the-scenes support facilities to do the work that is required, this partnership has also permitted students currently enrolled in PERFORMA’s Master Teacher Program to discover the wealth of material available on the CDC site and to incorporate the knowledge contained within the existing research projects produced as part of this program into their own research.

Making this work available has provided an important resource for college research dealing with the colleges themselves. Research projects, dissertations and theses as well as PAREA research reports and articles from the AQPC’s magazine Pédagogie collégiale are all now available online through the CDC site. Participants in both the anglophone and francophone Masters’ program at PERFORMA are encouraged to submit their Master’s research project to the CDC at the end of their studies. The decision to be published is theirs to make. The resulting improved accessibility is a boon to work-in-progress and permits the people who use these resources to enrich the CDC online academic heritage in their turn.

Are there documents or reports in your college that could add to our province’s online academic heritage? Are certain of these documents already available on your college’s website? Let the CDC become a part of your broadcasting and publishing strategy!

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