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American Sociological Association launches first-of-its-kind teaching tool
Date:5/25/2010

ith TRC materials, professors had to purchase a whole printed volume to get a single teaching resource and even then they might not find what they were looking for because it was in a volume they didn't purchase," Vitullo said. "TRAILS enables professors to do a targeted search across the entire collection for what they want. They may even end up finding new and relevant material that expands their scope of expertise. Once they find what they need, they can download and modify the resource to fit their needs."

In an effort to gauge the effectiveness of TRAILS as a tool for diffusing innovative teaching in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines, the National Science Foundation has provided ASA with a grant to conduct a multi-year evaluation. Led by ASA Director of Research and Development, Roberta Spalter-Roth, the evaluation will address issues such as: What are the institutional and demographic characteristics of TRAILS users? Does the web-based, interactive nature of TRAILS increase the size and scope of teaching and learning networks compared to the early ASA print materials? And, are there interventions ASA can introduce over time that will increase the contributions to and use of TRAILS materials by faculty in different types of educational institutions?

"For a scholarly society, it is not enough to simply develop a new teaching tool," Spalter-Roth said. "ASA and the academic community need to know whether and how usage increases among a broader cross-section of sociologists compared to the earlier print materials. Our research will help us determine whether TRAILS has the potential to be beneficial to the sociological community and perhaps beyond."


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Contact: Daniel Fowler
fowler@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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